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I pulled out in front of a motorcyclist and caused him to crash. I didn’t see him because he wasn’t visible. Am I still responsible for the accident?

 

A:

 

Yes. If you failed to yield the right-of-way to the motorcyclist, then you will be held liable for his motorcycle accident and injuries. While motorcyclists should make themselves more visible by wearing colors like orange and yellow, having their headlamps always on, and driving in a safe, predictable manner, it is also the responsibility of drivers to watch out for motorcyclists.

Unfortunately, a vehicle that attempts a left-hand turn in front of a motorcycle causes the most dangerous situation for the rider. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 42 percent of motorcycle and car accidents involve cars making left-hand turns in front of motorcycles. This can include:

  • Vehicles pulling out from the parking lot to beat traffic
  • Cars attempting to make a left turn at the intersection in front of oncoming traffic
  • Vehicles makes a U-turn in front of approaching traffic

Most drivers don’t intentionally mean to pull out in front of motorcyclists and violate their right-of-way, but they do because they aren’t looking for motorcycles. Many drivers are looking into the sun, have poor eyesight, or something else on the road is blocking the view of the motorcycle. Even if you didn’t attempt to make your turn before the motorcycle approached, you will still be liable for the crash due to negligence and failure to yield.

The motorcycle rider could file a lawsuit against you and your insurance company for his property damages, injuries, medical bills, lost income, and other damages. This is why we always urge drivers to be cautious, drive safe, and watch out for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. We encourage you to read the other articles on our website for more helpful information, and to contact us directly if you have any other unanswered questions.


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney