Who Is Liable For Lane Splitting Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles?
California is one of the few states that permits motorcycle lane splitting, provided that it is done in a safe and prudent manner. While this is a controversial practice, studies have shown that lane splitting is safer than riding behind another vehicle and may even reduce the risk of rear-end collisions. Even though lane splitting is legal, pursuing a claim against the driver of a car, truck, or another larger vehicle can be difficult if you have been injured in an accident.
J&Y Law has decades of experience helping motorcycle accident victims recover damages for the harm they have sustained in collisions. Knowing that being injured in any type of motorcycle accident can be overwhelming, we will offer you knowledge, compassion, and aggressive legal representation. Above all, we are committed to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve and holding negligent drivers accountable for lane splitting accidents.
What is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting has been legal in the state since 2016, and the California Vehicle Code now specifically defines lane splitting as “driving a motorcycle. . . that has two wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, including on both divided and undivided streets, roads or highways.”
In layman’s terms, lane splitting is a practice during which motorcyclists drive between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane. Although the practice is legal, having a successful claim requires showing that the other driver was negligent. Moreover, the bias against motorcycle riders as being dangerous or reckless can make pursuing such a claim complicated. At J&Y Law, we have the skills and resources to overcome these challenges and know how to show that the other driver was at fault in a lane splitting motorcycle accident.
Call J&Y Law for Your Lane Splitting Accident Claim
Our legal team knows that determining fault in a lane splitting motorcycle accident can be difficult. By conducting a thorough investigation of the accident, we work tirelessly to prove the driver’s liability. We will engage in intricate and detailed negotiations with the insurance company to make sure that any award proffered considers all your future financial and medical needs. If the insurer fails to make a reasonable settlement offer, we are fully prepared to litigate the matter in court.
Despite the fact that lane splitting is legal, having a successful claim hinges on proving the injured motorcycle rider was lane splitting in a safe and prudent way at the time of the accident. In other words, it is necessary to show that you were riding carefully, not speeding or weaving in and out of lanes or changing lanes without signaling. We can also help our case by showing that you are an experienced rider and have completed a motorcycle riding course. Finally, in order for our claim to be successful, we must also show that the other driver was negligent — changing lanes without signaling, speeding or moving unpredictably.
Causes of Lane Splitting Accidents
In a lane splitting accident, the motorcycle rider is often struck by a driver who suddenly changes lanes without signaling or moves closer to the line between adjacent lanes without noticing the rider coming up from behind. Serious injuries can occur even at slow speeds because motorcycles are less stable than other vehicles and riders are more exposed to injuries than the occupants of a motor vehicle. The faster the traffic and the motorcyclist are moving, the more serious the lane splitting motorcycle accident is likely to be.
Safe Lane Splitting Tips
Although there are no clear guidelines for what constitutes “safe and prudent” lane splitting, motorcycle riders are well advised to:
- Be alert to your surroundings and other motorists at all times
- Check the speed of the various lanes since if one lane is moving faster than the other, motorists are more likely to change lanes and hit a lane splitting rider
- Pay attention to sudden lane changes ahead
- Carefully assess the risks of lane splitting at any given moment
- Exercise caution when traveling in a vehicle’s blind spot, particularly larger vehicles such as buses, trucks, and tractor-trailers with longer blind spots
- Get back into your lane if traffic speeds up or is moving at 30 mph or faster
- Use your horn if vehicles drift too close to your motorcycle
- Always wear a helmet and other safety gear
What is comparative negligence?
If you have been injured in a lane splitting motorcycle accident, the other driver may be deemed negligent if he or she was distracted, speeding, or suddenly changed lanes without signaling. Even if it is determined that you are partially at fault, you may still be able to recover damages, though the amount of any award will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. If you are deemed to be 20 percent at fault, for example, the value of your claim will be reduced by 20 percent.
Lane Splitting Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Being in a lane splitting motorcycle accident is a terrible experience, and many victims are left with serious injuries that require extensive medical care, resulting in expensive medical bills. We have a well-earned reputation for protecting the rights of injured motorcycle riders and helping them obtain the compensation they deserve. Call J&Y Law today or complete the online contact form to set up a free consultation.