Fatal Visalia County Skateboard Accident August 2020

With a favorable year-round climate, Visalia, Tulare County and the surrounding area have a large number of people who ride skateboards for purposes of both recreation and transportation.  In the event of an accident, riders are exposed and vulnerable to serious permanent injuries or even being killed, especially if they’re hit by a motor vehicle.

California’s Delegation of Authority

On the issue of what might or might not be legal when riding a skateboard, the California legislature has deferred to the state’s various counties and cities pursuant to CVC 21967. In pertinent part, the statute states that “a local authority may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution prohibiting or restricting persons from riding or propelling skateboards, or electrically motorized boards, on highways, sidewalks or roadways.” On that authority, cities throughout the Central Valley have enacted a variety of ordinances that prohibit certain skateboarding activities. The fact that such laws have been put in place doesn’t operate to reduce the duty of care that motorists have to skateboarders. Motorists must still exercise reasonable care and caution. If a motorist fails to do so, and an accident with injuries or death results, he or she can be held liable for damages.

A Recent Visalia Skateboarding Fatality

A driver’s breach of his duty of care may have been the cause of a fatal accident in Visalia about two weeks ago. Local police allege that a 51-year-old male driver hit and killed a skateboarder at the intersection of Dinuba and Riggin Avenue shortly after 9:00 p.m. The driver allegedly abandoned his car nearby and fled the scene. He was later found at home.

Uninsured Drivers in California

There is no indication as to whether the driver in the Visalia accident had insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, more than 15% of all California motorists drive without any insurance at all. As that’s probably a conservative estimate, responsible California drivers serve themselves and their families well by carrying uninsured motorist insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance in California

When a California driver has uninsured motorist insurance, it ordinarily covers that named insured person and any member of his or her family who is a blood relative and a resident of the named insured’s household for bodily injury or wrongful death in an accident that was caused by an uninsured driver. Most policies designate hit-and-run drivers as uninsured drivers.  Not only are those people covered when they’re a driver or passenger in an insured vehicle. They’re also ordinarily covered as bicyclists, pedestrians or even skateboarders.

Coverage isn’t Mandatory

As opposed to some other states, uninsured motorist insurance coverage isn’t mandatory in California. It need only be offered to those shopping for insurance, but it may be declined. Uninsured motorist insurance also contemplates underinsured motorist insurance. It’s recommended that vehicle owners purchase as much uninsured motorist insurance coverage as possible.

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