A California Appeals court recently entered a somewhat routine decision in a car accident case, but the ultimate holding may take some Californians by surprise. In the case, a bicyclist was involved in an accident with a car, which apparently caused injuries (the appellate decision did not discuss the actual claims in the case).
On the day of the accident, the plaintiff was involved in a car accident when his bicycle collided with the vehicle being driven by the defendant. The plaintiff stated that he could not remember what happened on the day of the collision. He could not recall what he saw or what color the light was just before the accident happened. However, the driver of the vehicle and two witnesses at the scene stated that the plaintiff’s bicycle entered the intersection on a red light, and the car had a green light when the driver entered the intersection. Thus, when the plaintiff filed a personal injury action against the car’s driver and its two owners, the trial court granted a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the defendants.
Regarding the evidence in the case, one of the witnesses stated that he had entered the crosswalk before noticing a bicyclist approaching very quickly and then entering the intersection, resulting in the accident. On the basis of this witness’ account, as well as the driver’s statement and the other witness’ statement, the police officer who responded to the accident stated his opinion that the bicyclist was responsible for the accident, and the trial court adopted that conclusion.