Jury Awards Motorcyclist $3.7 Million for Accident that Occurred While Lane Splitting
A motorcyclist ended up beneath his motorcycle after colliding with a Lexus that merged in front of him. As a result of the crash, he sustained several injuries. The plaintiff argued that the defendant merged into his lane without signaling. The defendant argued that because the plaintiff had been lane splitting, speeding and following too closely prior to the accident, she bears no responsibility for the injuries that cyclist sustained.
The jury concluded that the defendant bore the majority of the responsibility for the accident and awarded damages to the plaintiff as follows:
- Past earnings in the amount of $99,386
- Future earning in the amount of $1.1 million
- Past medical expenses in the amount of $396,243
- Future medical expenses in the amount of $269,000
- Noneconomic damages in the amount of $1.9 million
What is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist shares a lane with another motorcycle or automobile. It is commonly seen during traffic jams when a cyclist drives in the spaces between the stopped automobiles, but can also be observed when cyclists ride in pairs. Lane splitting is controversial. On one hand, it allows unused space on the roadways to be occupied by the smaller cyclists. On the other hand, it can be dangerous for both the operator of the motorcycle and the automobile.
Lane Splitting & California Law
This past August, California became the first state to legalize lane splitting in the United States. The state will issue a safety code for the practice of lane splitting that will become effective January 1, 2017. This new law means that California courts will not be able to consider lane splitting in determining a cyclist’s fault in a negligence suit. Instead, the Court will consider whether or not the cyclist was following the safety code and other relevant traffic laws.
Regardless of the fault of each party, motorcycle accidents frequently cause more harm to the cyclist than to the driver of the automobile. Cyclists need to be aware of opportunities for legal recourse if they find themselves in the midst of an accident.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as the result of a motorcycle accident you should immediately contact the personal injury attorneys at Bedford Law Group, PLC at (310) 507-7900. Motorcycle accidents can be difficult cases, but our lawyers are ready to help recover the damages that you are legally entitled.