A collision involving a car and a motorcycle in Newport News, Virginia (VA), left the motorcyclist dead. The driver of the car also suffered minor injuries in the crash at the intersection of Denbigh Boulevard and Deloice Crescent.
Newport News Police received calls about the crash at around 4 pm on March 5, 2022. Shortly after arriving at the scene, police determined that the motorcycle rider was traveling east on Denbigh when the car’s driver exited Deloice, attempting to turn left across the boulevard.
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Emergency responders declared the motorcycle rider dead at the scene. At least one news report mentions that the motorcyclist was “moving fast.” No charges were immediately issued against the driver, and the investigation into the fatal crash continued into the following week.
Failing to Yield Right of Way While Turning Left Always Endangers Others
At its intersection with Deloice Crescent, Denbigh Boulevard is five lanes wide. Two eastbound travel lanes are separated from two westbound lanes by a center turn lane. Any driver attempting to turn left from a side street must wait until considerable space opens up between oncoming vehicles from both directions. A stop sign facing drivers on Deloice Crescent reinforces this necessity to not turn until the way is clear and little to no risk of a collision exits.
The state laws of Virginia further encode the basic safety principles of stopping, looking both ways and waiting before turning left. For instance, section 46.2-825 of the Virginia Code explains, “The driver of a vehicle, intending to turn left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction if it is so close as to constitute a hazard.”
Other sections of the state code specify driver’s duties at stop signs and classify failing to yield of way before turning left as reckless driving. This deadly collision in Newport News shines the most tragic of spotlights on the consequences of not driving cautiously and neglecting to obey the law.
However, the family of the deceased motorcycle rider may not have a clearcut case for securing wrongful death compensation. The insurance company for the driver of the car will almost surely point to any evidence or mention that the motorcyclist was “moving fast” and argue that no liability exists for their policy holder.
Unfortunately, Virginia courts apply a strict interpretation of the outdated rule of contributory negligence. When some evidence shows that the victim of another’s negligence also did something to cause the accident in question, the victim’s right to receive compensation is denied.
An experienced and empathetic wrongful death attorney who practices in Virginia and knows how to handle cases involving motorcycle crashes may be able to take on unfounded accusations of contributory negligence.