Unsafe Lane Change Accidents
Drivers often see motorcyclists zigzagging through heavy traffic, trying to get through it more quickly. Often, they assume, and insurers may also assume, that an accident was the fault of a motorcyclist. However, drivers of larger vehicles are often to blame because they fail to understand that the motorcyclist has the right of way, or they do not check a blind spot. Due to the size of a motorcycle and the lack of a buffer in case of a collision, a motorcycle accident can result in grave harm or even death to a motorcyclist. If you were injured in an unsafe lane change accident in Los Angeles, you may be able to recover damages from an at-fault driver. At Sharifi Firm, our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers understand the bias that you may face with insurers or in a courtroom, and we know how to counter it.Unsafe Lane Change Accidents
When there are many drivers on the road, any action taken by a motorcyclist is fraught with risk. Lane changes can be particularly dangerous. If you are injured because another driver does not take adequate precautions, you may be able to recover damages. In most cases, you will need to show another driver's negligence.
To establish negligence, your lawyer will need to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care, the defendant breached that duty, the defendant caused your injuries, and you sustained actual damages. Drivers can breach their duty to use reasonable care with regard to lane changes in many ways, including failing to check blind spots, failing to turn on a turn signal, speeding, weaving, drunk driving, or failing to yield when a motorcyclist has the right of way. A driver who changes lanes without checking a blind spot may sideswipe a motorcyclist or cause a motorcyclist to need to swerve into another lane to avoid being hit, which can result in another car being hit.
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist passes other cars by riding between them along the line of the lane. In California, it has been considered acceptable, and in 2017, it became legal under California Vehicle Code section 21658.1, which defines lane splitting as driving a motorcycle between rows of vehicles in the same lane, including on divided and undivided roads or highways. While drivers sometimes believe that lane splitting is a dangerous practice, motorcyclists believe that permitting lane splitting increases their safety by lowering the risk of being hit from behind in slowed or stopped traffic.
There are CHP guidelines that motorcyclists should follow when lane splitting. For example, the CHP recommends not lane splitting if a motorcyclist cannot fit, at a toll booth, when traffic is moving too fast or unpredictably, around curves, when you cannot see a way out of the space in which you are, or when there are dangerous road conditions, such as construction or an uneven road.
If you are injured while lane splitting, the other driver will likely claim that you were also negligent. This means that the jury will evaluate the evidence and arguments, determine the total damages, and assign both the other driver and you a percentage of fault. The damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your degree of fault. For example, if you were lane splitting and did not see a completely safe way out of the split, but the driver of another car swerved right into you because they were drunk, the jury might find that each of you was 50% responsible for your injuries. If the damages were $1 million, you would be able to recover $500,000 from the other driver.Discuss Your Options with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
If you were injured in an unsafe lane change accident, it is important to determine what contributed to the accident. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our experienced lawyers can provide knowledgeable legal representation to people throughout the Los Angeles area. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form. We also represent people in cities such as Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, Riverside, and San Bernardino.