Motorcyclists are particularly at risk for serious accidents arising out of unsafe lane changes. There are numerous injuries that may arise out of these situations. These include brain damage, burns, hemorrhages, spinal cord damage, fractures, lacerations, bruises, or even death. It is important to seek medical care as soon as possible after a serious injury arising out of a motorcycle accident. At The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, our California personal injury lawyers can help you pursue compensation if you were injured in a crash.
Unsafe Lane Changes May Cause Serious Injuries
If you suffer injuries due to an unsafe lane change, you should obtain medical care right away. You may also have a claim for damages if someone else was making the unsafe lane change and hit your motorcycle. Under California Vehicle Code (CVC) section 21658(a), motor vehicles are supposed to be driven as much as possible entirely within a single lane and should not be moved from a given lane until it is possible to do so with reasonable safety. If, for example, a driver of a passenger car failed to check their blind spot and hit your motorcycle while changing lanes, this may be a violation of CVC section 21658(a). Other unsafe lane changes might involve failing to use turn signals, making a lane change while in an intersection, or making a lane change while driving at an excessive speed.
An unsafe lane change accident may give rise to a claim based on negligence or negligence per se. Negligence per se applies when a violation of a safety law causes injuries in an accident that are of the type that the law was designed to forestall. If the other driver is cited for an unsafe lane change by the police, this may support a negligence per se claim.
In contrast, in a lawsuit based on negligence, you must establish the duty of the other driver to use reasonable care and show that the other driver’s breach of the duty caused your injuries. In some cases, evidence of an unsafe lane change, such as testimony from witnesses who saw the accident, may prove that a driver breached their duty to use reasonable care and thereby caused the victim’s injuries.
Sometimes California motorcyclists engage in lane splitting. This is a maneuver that is illegal in every other state but that is legal in California. It allows motorcyclists to weave between lanes at fast speeds. California does not track how often lane splitting is involved in causing accidents. Guidelines are being created to determine what safe lane splitting would entail.
While it is not unlawful, unsafe lane splitting might be relevant to a defendant’s affirmative defense of comparative negligence. If comparative negligence is raised, the jury will evaluate the plaintiff’s total damages and assign percentages of fault to both parties. The plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault for the accident.