Karla Munoz, 27, was killed in a motorcycle accident after her cycle hit a van on the freeway. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal motorcycle accident occurred the night of April 28, 2013 on the 55 Freeway near Dyer Road in Santa Ana. California Highway Patrol officials say Munoz was driving a 1978 Honda in the right southbound lane of the 55 Freeway when she and a van changed lanes at the same time. The van struck the motorcycle and she was thrown off the cycle. Several cars hit her. Munoz died from her injuries. The investigation is ongoing.
There were no fatalities, but 46 injuries reported as a result of motorcycle accidents in Santa Ana, according to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In Orange County as a whole, 17 people died and 735 were injured as a result of motorcycle accidents during the same year. Also, countywide, 141 deaths and 13,373 injuries were reported as a result of traffic accidents in 2010.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Based on this news report, it is unclear as to what caused the collision. Officials say Munoz may have been traveling at a high rate of speed at the time. However, it is not clear if the driver of the van in this case made an unsafe lane change. California Vehicle Code section 21658 (a) states that whenever a roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction the vehicle “shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.”
Fault and Liability
In this case, if the van driver is determined to have been at fault, then, he or she can be held liable for the motorcyclist’s wrongful death. If a defective product caused a motorcycle accident, then, the motorcycle maker or the manufacturer of the defective product can be held liable as well. If a dangerous or defective roadway caused the accident, then, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held accountable.
In such cases, families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney who will analyze all aspects of the incident and ensure that the negligent parties are held accountable. The best personal injury law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.