Santa Clarita attorney Rick Patterson of Owen, Patterson & Owen in Valencia specializes in helping motorcycle riders who were victims in crashes caused by other drivers obtain justice.Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox.
“One of the most frequent types of accidents on the freeway, involving motorcycles, are caused by automobile drivers who are illegally changing lanes from the carpool lane into the regular traffic lane, or from the regular traffic lane back into the carpool lane,” Patterson said.
This common practice of motorists failing to obey the law regarding lane changes into and out of the carpool lane “invites” accidents for motorcyclists who are legally lane splitting and don’t expect a vehicle to suddenly pull in front of them, according to Patterson.
Further, when a motorcyclist is involved in a crash, they are typically injured and taken to the hospital by an ambulance, leaving responding law enforcement officials no choice but to rely on the motorist’s version of the facts.
“(The motorcyclist) gets transported to the hospital, and then the CHP or Sheriff’s arrive a few minutes later and they then are depending on the witnesses — particularly the other driver — as to what happened,” Patterson said, noting this can lead to incorrect information about who is at fault and therefore liable for damages.
For instance, Patterson and his firm are currently representing the family of local community advocate Anthony “Tony” Princiotta, a 33-year-old motorcycle rider who died at the hospital after a crash in Canyon Country in December.
Princiotta was listed as the party at fault in the police report, but surveillance video shows a vehicle in front of Princiotta rapidly changing lanes before suddenly coming to a stop, presumably leading to the crash, according to Anthony Garcia, vice president of the Elks Riders, where Princiotta served as president.
“We did distribute pamphlets up and down that street on both sides (seeking witnesses), and our investigators have been successful in gathering photographs and videos of the actual accident, which is a great help for us,” said Patterson. “We’re making great progress in being able to establish that he was not at fault.”
Motorcycle riders who are involved in accidents often face a negative bias when the issue of negligence is investigated, according to Patterson.
He concluded, “At Owen Patterson & Owen, we consistently encourage all victims of motorcycle accidents to seek legal advice from an attorney with experience in this area of the law and one who has the resources to engage experts and accident reconstruction engineers. This enables us to determine the real facts. We provide this service at no out-of-pocket costs for clients whose cases we accept.”
Owen, Patterson & Owen has been selected as the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America. They can be reached at 661-799-3899 or opolaw.com.Ed. Note: This article is a KHTS Community Spotlight based on a recent interview with Owen, Patterson & Owen.
23822 West Valencia Boulevard, Suite 303
Valencia, CA 91355
Owen, Patterson & Owen, Valencia
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