Motorist Severely Injures Cyclist
On Sunday, May 30, 2021, at around noon, a 34-year-old man, Richard Zapata, was behind the wheel of a Suburu Forester. He was traveling at an unknown speed in an easterly direction on Scott Forbes Road. At the same time, a 56-year-old woman from Browns Valley was riding a bicycle in the same direction on Scotts Forbes Road. The Forester struck the Browns Valley bicyclist, Rebecca Schmit, causing severe injuries to her lower leg, according to the Yuba-Sutter office of the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
Events Following the Bicycle Collision
Mr. Zapata drove the bicyclist to her home and an ambulance was called. Ms. Schmit was transported by helicopter to Sutter Roseville Hospital. She was admitted for treatment for her severe injuries.
Mr. Zapata was arrested by a Highway Patrol officer and charged with driving under the influence. He sustained a small laceration to his face as a result of the collision.
Holiday DUI Arrests Increase from 2020
Despite efforts made by the CHP to curb impaired driving over the Memorial Day Weekend, the agency reported that the number of DUI arrests increased significantly throughout the state compared to the holiday weekend in 2020.
The Highway Patrol arrested 979 motorists for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol during Memorial Day Weekend 2021. This represents a nearly 15% increase from last year’s DUI arrests.
Holiday Traffic Fatalities Also Increased
Not only were more DUI arrests made this year, but more people lost their lives on California streets and highways during the recent three-day weekend. During the 2021 Memorial Day Weekend, 35 people were killed in traffic collisions, which represents an almost 13% increase from 2020. Of those fatalities, 22 people, or 62%, were not wearing seat belts.
Legal Actions Against an Impaired Driver
The motorist that injured the cyclist in Yuba County over Memorial Day weekend was arrested. He will face criminal charges should he be found to have been driving under the influence. That is one type of legal action he will have to face. However, he may also be sued in civil court by the injured bicyclist.
If an impaired driver causes a crash that injures a bicyclist, any damages suffered by the bike rider will not be recovered through the criminal DUI case, since that court does not have the jurisdiction to award monetary damages. The injured cyclist may retain a bicycle accident lawyer and seek financial compensation for her injuries through the civil court system.
If the motorist is convicted of the DUI, he may be required to pay additional civil damages that are punitive rather than compensatory. Conviction in the DUI matter will certainly help the cyclist in her civil claim, however, even if he is not convicted, his actions may still very likely be found to have been negligent. If his negligence caused the accident, the cyclist is entitled to seek monetary damages.
Under California law, the civil personal injury matter can be pursued at the same time that the criminal action is pending; there is no need to wait for it to conclude. There are different burdens of proof in civil and criminal matters.
Watch the YouTube video below that describes the timeline of a personal injury case.
Marysville Personal Injury Lawyer
Thank you for visiting our blog and reading about this unfortunate incident wherein a Browns Valley bicyclist was injured. My name is Ed Smith, and I am a personal injury lawyer servicing Marysville, California. Impaired driving and other types of negligent or reckless behavior lead to many Northern California automobile accidents. Some of them are minor, but too many cause significant injuries, and some car crashes are tragically fatal. If you or your family has been affected by an accident caused by a negligent driver, our team of skilled injury lawyers is available to provide free and friendly advice. Reach out to us at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400.
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