A determination of fault may be impacted by broken traffic laws either for the truck driver or the cyclist in a wrongful death accident.  Witness interviews may be important in this case.  Contact an attorney to assist with this determination.

A bicyclist died in Santa Rosa California after being hit by a tractor trailer that’stopped at an intersection and then started moving again making deadly contact with the rider.  Another bicyclist died a few weeks later when they were hit by a dump truck near the same location in Santa Rosa. Negligence is the base for a cause of action in a wrongful death claim.  While it is true that someone is injured or dies from a truck accident approximately every 16 minutes in the United States, not all of those accidents are the fault of the truck driver.

Truck size increases risk.

The very size of a truck, even traveling at a low and safe speed, can cause injury or death to a cyclist and the fact that a string of accidents involving bike riders and big rigs being hurt and killed at this location may yield another party to fault, the State of California Department of Roadways, if there is a blind spot or some roadway defect.
Accidents involving bike riders can be the fault of a motor vehicle driver, a cyclist, or shared between the parties involved.  If someone is cycling in an area that is designated unsafe for them to be there, the cyclist may be 100% to blame for the accident. Those areas may include highways, bridges train tracks and other areas where it is prohibited. In this situation if death occurs, the family may not be able to recover for wrongful death compensation and damages.


Families of people killed in bike collisions incur damages related to funeral and medical expenses, loss of income, loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering and costs may be reimbursed from insurance companies or legal actions.  Compensation may come from insurance settlements, or legal action.
Commercial Motor Vehicles must carry additional liability insurance required by the Federal Government regulations.
Insurance. California is considered a fault or tort state with regard to auto accidents. In California, a person must be found to be responsible for causing the accident before that person’s insurance will pay for damages.
Statute of Limitations. In California, the statute of limitations for car accidents is two years. It is the same as that for other personal injury cases. The two-year time period starts on the date of the accident, unless the accident resulted in the death of the victim.  In California, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death. However, there is a crucial exception to this statute of limitations. Known as the “discovery rule,” the exception applies in cases where the cause of death was not apparent when the decedent passed, but is later discovered.

Under California Government Code Section 911.2, the survivors of the deceased person have only 180 days or six months to file a claim against the governmental agency. This statute of limitations may have some bearing on the recent deaths at the same area in Santa Rosa, perhaps there is an unsafe intersection that the Department of Highways has missed.
Pure comparative Negligence.  California follows the pure comparative negligence law. This allocates fault between parties and will reduce any recovery accordingly. Each party’s negligence is compared to the others and damages are awarded according to percentage of fault.

Hire a lawyer.

Call the Law Office of Erin Aaland to review your case for a legal claim after a death caused by a big rig.  Determining fault and negligence is a matter for those who have reviewed police reports, witness reports, car damages, roadway marks and other factors present at the time of the accident.
Law Office of Erin Aaland
Santa Rosa, CA
1400 N. Dutton Ave., Suite #21
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Call Today:(707) 588-9373
Fax: 707-545-1522
Email: [email protected]