I was recently in an accident and need some advice on whether I was 100% at fault or if the driver should share some blame. I am in California, which is a comparative negligence state and I fractured two vertebrae, along with totalling my bike, so if the driver was even only a small percentage at fault I could have a claim. I have been commuting to work by bike for a year with no problems until this accident.
This is what happened: I was leaving my residential neighborhood, travelling northbound, when I stopped at a stop sign. There is no traffic control for the Eastbound/Westbound lanes. Normally the traffic is light at this intersection and I proceed to turn left, heading westbound. On this morning, however, traffic was very heavy and eastbound Lane #2 traffic was backed up past the intersection. I waited at the stop sign while the cars in the eastbound lane cleared the intersection. There were still cars backed up to the west of the intersection, but they were not moving because the traffic to the east of the intersection was stopped. At this point the first driver to the west of the intersection waived me through. I waited awhile to consider my options (turn around, ride down the sidewalk), but decided that I should just proceed through the intersection as cautiously as I could.
I looked for oncoming vehicles in both the westbound and eastbound lanes and could see none, so I proceeded slowly to enter the intersection, continuing to look in both directions. Again not seeing anyone approaching in the other eastbound lane, I turned to look at the westbound lane, and seeing none I turned back to look at the eastbound lane. It was at this moment that a car travelling eastbound hit me. The impact occurred 20 feet north of the south edge of the intersection and 3 feet from the west edge of the intersection. So not only was I fully in the intersection when she hit me, but she also had travelled a good part of the intersection.
Her and My insurance company say I am 100% liable because I was cited for failure to yield and she was not speeding (Witnesses have her going between 10 - 25mph in a 25mph zone). But I think she had some obligation to go even slower given that the lane next to her was stopped and to keep a more careful lookout when entering an intersection. Also, the lane she was riding in merges into the other lane a few yards after the intersection, another reason for her to have exercised more caution.
I am not trying to escape responsibility here, but I feel as if I did everything I could to be cautious and feel like I'm getting dumped on by the insurance agencies. If this were a simple auto accident I guess I wouldn't take it so personally, but I was trying to do right by biking to work and was trying to be cautious. To add insult to injury she is filing a claim against my insurance for a stupid hole in the bumper of her 15 year old mini-van from my bike pedal and paint transfer on her hood, while I spent 3 days in the hospital and have to wear a back brace for three months.
Should I just let it go and accept full responsibility?