New Trial Sought By Plaintiff In Car Accident Case, Part 4 of 5

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident case and its proceedings.)

Plaintiff’s claims against defendant are based upon defendant’s negligence relating to defendant’s clear violation of California Vehicle Code §21801 (a) (unsafe left turn). In Bewley, the court expressly stated that a driver is under a duty, both by statute and common law, to operate his vehicle without negligence so as to abstain from injuring any other person or property. Id. (Citing Civil Code §1708).

CACI jury instruction 700 expressly instructs a jury that:

A person must use reasonable care in driving a vehicle. Drivers must keep a lookout for pedestrians, obstacles, and other vehicles. They must control the speed and movement of their vehicles. The failure to use reasonable care in driving a vehicle is negligence. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Defendant clearly violated Vehicle Code §21801 (a) by making an unsafe left turn in front of Plaintiff. See Vehicle Code §21801(a); Hickson v. Beitel, 103 Cal.App.2d 391, 393-394 (1951). Section 21801 (a) expressly states that:

“[t]he 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.”

In Hickson, the court stated that the determination that violation of a statute proximately contributed to an automobile accident is a question of law, not a question of fact. Defendant clearly did not exercise due care as required by the statute, and has no excuse for her misconduct. Distractions caused by other vehicles or obstructions to the driver’s view have been outright rejected as excuses for such misconduct. Gray v. Brinkerhoff, 41 Cal.2d 180, 184-185 (1953).

The case of Gilmer v. Ellington, 159 Cal.App.4th 190, 196-197 (2008), holds that California Vehicle §21801 governs the respective duties of drivers of left-turning vehicles and those of approaching vehicles. That statute imposes upon the left-turning driver the duty to ascertain, before proceeding across each successive lane of oncoming traffic, if any approaching vehicle constitutes a hazard. Id. at 197. (See Part 5 of 5.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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