Thomas Westerlund, 25, suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident after a vehicle making a U-turn struck him. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the fatal motorcycle crash occurred on Las Virgenes Road south of Thousand Oaks Boulevard the afternoon of June 12, 2013. Officials say his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck whose driver was making a U-turn.
Westerlund was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. The driver of the pickup truck was identified as Roy Post, 62. Post told police that he was on the road facing south when he checked his mirrors and made the U-turn. He said he did not see the motorcyclist. No citations or arrests were reported. The investigation is ongoing.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but four injuries reported due to motorcycle accidents. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 74 people died and 2,637 were injured as a result of motorcycle accidents during the same year.
Law Relating to U-turns
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the pickup truck was making a U-turn when the collision with the motorcycle occurred. It is not clear if the motorcycle was in his blind spot when he made the turn. I trust officials are also looking into how fast the motorcyclist was traveling at the time of the incident.
California Vehicle Code Section 21801 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”
Fault and Liability
If the driver of the pickup truck is determined to have been at fault, he can be held liable for the motorcyclist’s wrongful death in addition to facing charges or citations. In cases where negligence is involved, families of deceased accident victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will be able to analyze all aspects of the incident and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable.