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San Francisco firefighter strikes motorcyclist with fire truck

Many who choose to ride motorcycles in and around Los Angeles do so with the knowledge that at any moment, they could be the victim of a collision with a distracted or impaired motorist. Unfortunately for motorcyclists, their bikes don’t offer adequate protection in the event of such an accident. Thus, many are killed in motorcycle accidents involving other vehicles, while those who survive may be severely injured. In either outcome, the victims and/or their families may be in need of compensation to deal with the expenses associated with these accidents. Typically, it’s the driver of the vehicle that caused the motorcycle accident becomes the focus of any pending civil action.

Yet what about those cases where the driver is also the subject of a criminal investigation? Such is the case with a San Francisco firefighter who’s recently been under investigation after he struck a motorcyclist while driving his station’s fire truck. The firefighter was allegedly drunk at the time of the accident. Yet ultimately, disputes regarding the validity of the test used to determine his impairment led to his not being charged with anything. The motorcyclist did actually survive the accident, yet he ended being badly injured.

Typically in cases such as this, would-be plaintiffs are required to wait until criminal proceedings play out before they can initiate a lawsuit. An acquittal or a dismissal of a criminal case by a judge doesn’t mean that the accident victim can’t still seek compensation from the driver. Yet proving negligence may be that much more difficult given that the accident evidence may not have supported criminal charges. That’s why victims of accidents such as these may be better off working with an attorney to help them prove their case.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle “Firefighter’s alcohol test blurs motorcycle hit-run case” Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, Feb. 16, 2014

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