Jose Garcia, 51, of Fontana, was killed in a Lake Elsinore motorcycle accident the morning of December 3, 2013. According to the Lake Elsinore Patch, the fatal motorcycle accident occurred at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Torn Ranch Road. The crash involved Garcia’s motorcycle and a sedan. Garcia was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the sedan, a man in his 20s, was uninjured. Drugs or alcohol were not factors in the crash. Garcia was wearing a helmet. The investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Jose Garcia for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 10 injuries reported as a result of motorcycle crashes in Lake Elsinore. In Riverside County as a whole, 36 people died and 481 were injured due to motorcycle accidents during the same year.
Who Had the Right-of-Way?
Based on this news report, it is not clear as to how the collision occurred. However, this is an intersection that is regulated by a two-way stop sign. Traffic on Torn Ranch is required to stop for through traffic on Lakeshore. It is not clear if the sedan or the motorcycle had the right-of-way in this case.
California law requires drivers to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and proceed with caution. According to California Vehicle Code section 21802 (a): “The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop as required by Section 22450. The driver shall then yield the right-of-way to any vehicles which have approached from another highway, or which are approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.”
Fault and Liability
In such cases, the at-fault party, in addition to facing potential criminal charges or citations, can also be held civilly liable. In cases where negligence is involved, families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship.
A knowledgeable Riverside personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous or defective roadway or intersection caused or contributed to the accident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident.