Motorcycle accidents can often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Today’s story is the latest in that count.

The motorcyclist, a California man, was traveling south on State Road 65 when an oncoming pickup, driven by an off-duty Durham police officer, apparently crossed the line. The motorcyclist was hit head-on and died at the scene. The officer, who was on military leave, was transported to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries before being taken to a local county jail. He has been charged with vehicular manslaughter. The cause of the motor vehicle accident is still under investigation, although authorities do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.

Although not all accidents can be prevented, certain factors or safety measures play a significant role in reducing collisions and resulting injuries. Being attentive of displayed signs and following posted speed limits could help ensure safer roads. Slowing down for road conditions could also help keep drivers and passengers out of an accident. Inattentive driving and speeding are also cited by many California Highway Patrol officers as contributing to motor vehicle accidents in the state.

In fatal car accidents like this one, courts consider a driver’s conduct and whether it was the cause of the crash. Even though fault is not always immediately evident, careful analysis of facts can often be used to prove liability on the part of a negligent driver. For example, negligence might be be proven through evidence of speeding, improper passing, or unsafe lane changing. Likewise, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or disregarding traffic or weather conditions can also demonstrate negligence.

Often expert testimony, police reports and eyewitness accounts bolster evidence of fault. An attorney can help survivors of loved ones killed in motor vehicle accidents to prevail at trial in a wrongful death suit.

Source: The Herald-Sun, “Durham police officer charged in fatal crash in California,” Keith Upchurch, Sept. 21, 2012