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Karnas Law Firm

Karnas Law has years of experience representing clients who are injured in crashes involving many types of vehicles. For example, Karnas Law has represented clients who have been injured in crashes involving cars, pickup trucks, tractor trailers, camper vans, RVs, light rail trains, bicycles and motorcycles, just to name a few. This blog post explores the background and findings in Hunsacker v. Smith (“Hunsucker”), a case involving a motorcycle crash occurring at an intersection. 

In Hunsucker, a car (“Defendant Driver”) crashed into a motorcycle in an intersection in Pinal County, Arizona. (Hunsaker v. Smith (1965) 1 Ariz.App. 51.) Prior to the crash, the Defendant Driver and motorcycle (“Subject Motorcycle”) were traveling on the same road in opposite directions. The Defendant Driver maneuvered his car into the turn lane in order to make a left turn. The Defendant Driver saw a different car and a different motorcycle approaching in the opposite direction and allowed them to pass. Then, the Defendant Driver made his left turn. Unfortunately, the Defendant Driver failed to see the Subject Motorcycle, which was traveling behind the car and motorcycle that the Defendant Driver permitted to pass. The Defendant Driver Struck the Subject Motorcycle, injuring the passenger on the Subject Motorcycle (“Injured Passenger”). 

The Injured Passenger sued the Defendant Driver for personal injuries. The Court entered judgment in favor of the Injured Passenger. The Defendant Driver appealed on the issue of whether the negligence of the driver of the Subject Motorcycle was at issue in the Injured Passenger’s case against the Defendant Driver. In upholding the trial court’s entry of judgment against the Defendant Driver, the Court of Appeals wrote that “Even if the motorcycle had been approaching at an unreasonable rate of speed and even if the defendants’ car had the right-of-way, the court might have found the [Defendant Driver] should have seen the motorcycle and should not have turned in front of it.” (Id. at 54.) The Court of Appeals rejected the Defendant Driver’s argument and upheld the judgment against the Defendant Driver.

The attorneys at Karnas Law regularly represents motorcycle drivers, motorcycle passengers, and drivers of other vehicles involved with motorcycle collissions. While the legal analysis of Hunsacker only applies to specific situations, the facts of Hunsacker provide a detailed example of a motorcycle crash at an intersection, which commonly occur. Further, Hunsacker stands for the proposition that a driver may be liable for negligence even if he or she doesn’t violate a driving statute. Accordingly, if you are injured in a vehicle collision and you think the other driver may not be at fault, you should still consult with an attorney to determine your rights and remedies under the law. Contact Karnas Law for your free consultation today.   

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