When a motorcycle travels between two lanes of traffic heading in the same direction, that is called lane splitting. Motorcyclists will do this to pass the slower-moving vehicles and continue to travel when the other vehicles are at a dead stop. In Michigan, it is illegal for motorcyclists to lane split.
Motorcycle injuries can be severe, especially during a lane-splitting crash. The law may not be on your side due to the legality of lane-splitting. Hiring an experienced Michigan motorcycle accident attorney with White Law PLLC may be your best chance at winning your case.
What Lane Splitting Is and the Risks
Lane splitting, though very dangerous, can be useful for riders traveling in congested cities. When traffic is stop and go, it can be difficult for riders to continue in a slow movement. By riding between two lanes, they can continue at a quicker speed.
Sometimes, a motorcycle will approach a red light between lanes. When the light changes, they take off speeding ahead of traffic. This can be beneficial in some cases, but not without severe risks.
Motorcycles have a sleek design, making them difficult to see. This sleek design puts motorcyclists in the blind spots of surrounding cars when lane splitting. A driver making a turn or changing lanes may not notice a motorcyclist before a collision occurs.
Reduced Reaction Time and Space
One of the main risks of lane splitting is the reduced reaction time. There is also a significantly reduced space in which vehicles can stop. When a rider is traveling between two lanes, they have less time to react to traffic changes and less space in which to maneuver.
Unexpectedly Opened Vehicle Doors
While moving vehicles are not known to open their car doors, slow-moving or stopped traffic is a different story. If a vehicle driver opens their door even slightly, there is little to no reaction time for a motorcyclist. An opened door and a high-speed motorcyclist equal disaster.
When there is a significant difference in the traveling speed of a motorcycle and the surrounding cars, accidents can quickly occur. When vehicles are traveling at the same speed, they change lanes at a similar speed. When a motorcycle is lane splitting at a faster speed than the surrounding traffic flow, the chance of a crash greatly increases.
Your Fight Is Our Fight
What Happens if a Motorcyclist Is Lane Splitting and Is Injured
The Michigan Vehicle Code states in Section 257.660a that motorcyclists are prohibited from passing in between traffic lanes. This also applies to electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric skateboards, mopeds, and other low-speed vehicles. Since lane splitting is illegal, if an accident occurs, this law could affect what happens next.
When a motorcyclist is injured in an accident, they have the option to file a lawsuit. It is important to keep in mind that if the other driver was injured and the motorcyclist was at fault, they can sue the motorcyclist. An important factor in the outcome of the case is which driver receives a citation from the responding police officer.
An insurance company is likely to place fault on the driver or rider who was cited with a traffic violation. When a motorcycle crash goes to trial, juries or judges are less likely to look favorably upon a rider or driver who has broken the law and placed other motorists at unnecessary risk. In addition to these concerns, Michigan uses modified comparative negligence for any lawsuit involving personal injury.
How Modified Comparative Negligence Works in Michigan
Any time a person is injured in an accident, they must file a lawsuit to recover their damages. Michigan follows the modified comparative negligence rule, which states that an injured party may recover damages if they hold 50% or less fault for the accident. If you believe you could be accused of negligence, it is critical that you contact an experienced Michigan motorcycle accident attorney with White Law PLLC as soon as possible.
If a jury or insurance adjuster determines you held over 51% of the blame, you could lose the right to receive compensation. If found to be under 50% to blame, your total compensation would then be reduced by the percentage you are found to be to blame. For example, if your claim was worth $100,000 and you were found to be 20% at fault, you would only receive $80,000.
It is likely that your injuries will be excessive, so the burden of proof is crucial. All evidence in the accident case will be reviewed by the insurance company or jury. Your attorney will help you prove that you were not more than 51% to blame for the crash.
How to Recover Compensation for Your Damages After a Lane Splitting Accident
After suffering injuries in a lane-splitting accident, hiring a dedicated motorcycle accident attorney is the first thing you need to do. Your car accident lawyer at White Law PLLC is well-versed in Michigan law and knows what facts need to be proven for your case. They are here to work hard on your case while you focus on your recovery.
Seeking Covered Losses through an Insurance Claim
Your attorney will first seek compensation for losses and injuries by filing an insurance claim. Photographs, incident reports, and other relevant information will be sent to them. They will thoroughly review the information before making a final decision in your case.
Pursuing a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
When the insurance company denies your claim, your attorney will file a formal lawsuit on your behalf. They will then build a strong case against the other driver, proving you were not at fault. They will seek to recover the damages you suffered through economic (measurable losses) and non-economic (intangible losses).
We understand that you may be going through a difficult situation and we are ready to help however we can.
Contact Michigan’s Leading Motorcycle Accident Law Firm Today
White Law PLLC has over 20 years of combined legal experience fighting for the rights of personal injury victims. We aim to make our clients whole after suffering from a motorcycle accident. If you have been injured in a lane-splitting crash, contact our firm today to discuss the details of your case.
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