There’s no law in California that explicitly prohibits or allows lane splitting on a motorcycle, yet insurance companies may still argue that riders who lane split are negligent. When a rider is found partially liable for an accident, the final settlement or verdict is reduced by his or her own percentage of fault.
Fortunately, there are several arguments an attorney can make to overcome such a dispute, and it may be possible for a rider who was lane splitting to recover compensation for 100 percent of his or her damages.
Is Lane Splitting Negligent?
In personal injury law, a party is negligent when it breaches a duty of care owed to another party. A duty of care is a legal obligation to exercise a level of care that a person of ordinary prudence would exercise under the same circumstances. A duty of care may be express or implied.
All motorists owe an implied duty of care to one another. They breach this duty when they violate traffic laws or engage in behavior that puts others at an unreasonable risk of injury or death.
Because there’s no law that prohibits lane splitting in California, the insurance company cannot say that lane splitting is negligent per se; there must be aggravating circumstances. For example, a motorcyclist who is lane splitting may be considered negligent if he or she is traveling significantly faster than surrounding vehicles.
What Kinds of Evidence Can Help Prove Liability in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. If the insurance company says that you were partially liable for the accident, the most effective way to overcome this dispute may be to prove how the other party was at fault. The following evidence might be used by your attorney to prove liability:
- Photographs of the scene;
- Statements from accident reconstruction experts;
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Dash cam footage;
- Recordings from surveillance cameras near the scene;
- The official police report;
- The results of any chemical tests conducted at the scene; and
- Cell phone records.
There are many other kinds of evidence that can contribute to a motorcycle accident case. For instance, if a commercial truck was involved, your lawyer can try to find out if the vehicle had a black box onboard. Its data might show that the trucker was speeding, violating the Hours of Service regulations, or breaking another law. A seasoned attorney can evaluate your case, conduct an investigation, and compile the evidence needed to prove negligence.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Pursue?
Because motorcyclists have little protection from impact, riders tend to suffer traumatic injuries when they’re involved in collisions. As a result, the medical bills and other damages can add up fast. Fortunately, accident victims in California have the right to pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are objectively verifiable losses such as:
- Past and future healthcare costs;
- Property repairs or replacement;
- Lost wages;
- Lost benefits;
- Loss of future earning capacity;
- Alternative transportation; and
- Home and vehicle modifications.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment in life; and
- Loss of consortium damages may be recovered by the victim’s spouse or registered domestic partner if the injury causes a loss of love, companionship, care, comfort, protection, assistance, affection, moral support, society, or intimacy.
Evidence of economic damages may include medical and financial records, receipts for injury- and accident-related expenses, quotes for property repairs, and medical and financial expert testimony. Because non-economic damages are intangible, they can be difficult to prove without the help of a skilled personal injury attorney. Your lawyer might use photographs, your journal entries, expert witness testimony, and testimony from loved ones to prove the existence and value of non-economic damages.
As previously mentioned, the spouse of the injured party might be entitled to loss of consortium damages. Unfortunately, spouses are not able to recover economic damages, even if they’ve had to take time off work to care for their injured husband or wife; however, such damages may be recovered by the accident victim since his or her claim can account for the cost of home care, domestic help, and child care.
In rare scenarios, a personal injury victim may also be awarded punitive damages. These damages are only available if the defendant’s conduct involved fraud, malice, or oppression. Unlike compensatory damages, which encompass economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages do not actually reimburse the plaintiff for any losses incurred; instead, they aim to punish the defendant for egregious behavior and to deter similar misconduct in the future. It’s important to note that punitive damages are not recoverable against a government entity.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Discuss Your Case with a Long Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you sustained serious injuries or lost a member of your family in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the resulting damages. To discuss your case and determine the most strategic way to proceed, contact the Law Office of Michael D. Waks.
From the moment you call our office to the conclusion of your case, Michael will provide you with one-on-one attention, tailored legal solutions, and straightforward answers to your questions. In his more than 30 years of experience, Michael has won numerous six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients.
Call (562) 206-1939 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free case evaluation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Long Beach. A member of our team can come to you if you’re unable to come to us.
Download a Copy of Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF
In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, it can be challenging to remain calm and think clearly. The scene can be so stressful that you forget to document it properly. We created our Car Accident Emergency .PDF to help motorcyclists and drivers gather the information they need to file insurance claims. Click Here to download it for free.
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