The city of Los Angeles has been ordered to pay $23.7 million to the survivors of a man who was killed while riding his motorcycle on a busy street in San Pedro, Ca. three years ago.
Thomas Guilmette was killed when his motorcycle struck an automobile as he tried to enter traffic at the corner Summerland and Cabrillo avenues in San Pedro.
The intersection where Guilmette was killed had been reported by residents of San Pedro as being particularly dangerous. Drivers trying to enter onto Summerland from Cabrillo were forced to peer around cars parked on the street, which made it difficult those trying to enter the intersection and oncoming traffic to see each other.
Guilmette's attorneys successfully argued that if the intersection had been better designed, he would not have been killed. They did this by providing evidence that L.A. officials had known about the unreasonable danger that motorists faced at this intersection and that the city had made plans both in 2001 and 2009 to improve its visibility, but had not done so.
A stop sign has now been added to the corner of Summerland and Cabrillo and parking has been restricted in an effort to increase visibility at the intersection.
Motorcycle Accidents In California
Like the one above, more than half of all motorcyclist fatalities occur in urban areas and on busy roads other than interstates and freeways. California is one of the leading states for motorcycle fatalities, largely because it is so populated and because the state does not require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet.
Serious head trauma is commonly associated with motorcycle accidents in California and across the nation and is a common occurrence in fatal motorcycle accidents. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle accidents, are the second leading cause of fatal head trauma.
The Difference Between Motorcycle Accidents and Car Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are different from car accidents in a number of different ways:
- It is much more difficult for motorists to see motorcyclists on the road, even when they are supposed to keep a lookout. The most common cause of motorcycle accidents is a failure of other motorists to notice the motorcycle on the road.
- Accidents involving motorcycles more often result in severe injuries, even at low speeds.
- Motorcycle accidents are much more likely to be fatal than car accidents. According to the federal government, the number of motorcycle fatalities is 26 times the number of car fatalities per mile traveled.
- Motorcyclist are fully exposed to the road and the vehicles that hit them. If you are rear-ended while driving a car, you will probably only suffer minor injuries. However, if you are rear-ended while operating a motorcycle, you could very easily be killed.
- Because motorcycle accidents typically result in more severe injuries, the medical costs associated with them are often much higher than for car accidents.
Fore these reasons, it is imperative that if you are motorcyclist and have been involved in an accident, you hire a lawyer who is experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases––one who has the knowledge and experience to answer all of the question you may have and help you understand what your options are.