What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting—also called lane filtering (although this practice usually refers to driving between stopped cars)—refers to a motorcycle rider driving between slow-moving or stopped traffic lanes. This is a dangerous practice, illegal practice. Motorcyclists may save time by doing it, but they put themselves and others at risk when they do so.
How Lane Splitting Affects Motorcycle and Car Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating and life-altering. Lane splitting is a controversial practice that can increase the risk of accidents. What is the impact of lane splitting and personal injury claims? whether it contributed to or caused the accident outright. However, it is fair to say that many potential jurors and other drivers will look unfavorably at the person who does it. Ultimately, though, the effect of splitting lanes will depend on the other facts and circumstances surrounding the wreck. Read on to learn more about lane splitting and car accidents in Georgia.
We will discuss proving liability in a lane-splitting accident and what steps to take after an accident. We’ll also look at liability and legal options from the perspective of the motorcycle rider and the driver.
How Do I Know the Accident Was Due to Lane Splitting?
Determining whether a motorcycle caused an accident due to lane splitting can be challenging. Here are some indicators that may suggest the accident was due to lane splitting:
- Accident Location – If the accident occurred between two lanes of traffic or near a lane divider, it might indicate lane splitting played a part.
- Damage – The location and damage pattern might provide some clues about the cause of the collision.
- Witness statements – Witnesses who observed the accident may provide valuable information about whether the motorcycle was splitting lanes before the collision.
- Video evidence – Surveillance or dashcam footage capturing the accident can offer definitive proof of whether lane splitting was a factor in the collision.
- Police report – The responding officer’s accident report may include their observations and determination of fault from an investigation.
- Accident reconstruction expert report – Hiring an expert to analyze the evidence and reconstruct the accident can help determine if lane splitting contributed to the collision.
Hiring an attorney can help you build a strong case and determine the evidence necessary to prove liability against the other party.
Georgia’s Comparative Negligence Law
Negligence of one or more parties is typically the leading cause of auto and motorcycle accidents in Georgia. Negligence occurs when a party breaches their duty of care to another party, resulting in injury or damage. Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence rule.. In plain English, that means if one driver is 50% or more at fault for causing the accident, they cannot recover damages for injuries they sustained in that accident.
In contrast, if a party is less than 50% at fault, their damages are reduced proportionally to their degree of responsibility. For example, if a jury finds the motorcycle rider 50% at fault, they could not collect any compensation. If the vehicle driver is 30% at fault, they will collect 70% of their damages.
Driver or Motorcycle Rider: Who Is at Fault for Lane Splitting?
A motorcycle rider could be partially or fully responsible for a lane-splitting accident. The rider may argue that they exercised due care while lane splitting and that the other driver’s negligence contributed to the accident. For example, they may claim that the driver suddenly changed lanes without signaling or failed to maintain a safe distance.
To establish the driver’s liability, the rider would need to prove the following four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care – The driver had a legal responsibility to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others on the road.
- Breach of duty – The driver failed to exercise reasonable care, for example, by not signaling or maintaining a safe distance.
- Causation – The driver’s breach of duty directly led to the accident involving the motorcycle rider rather than the rider splitting lanes.
- Damages – The motorcycle rider suffered injuries due to the accident.
The driver might argue that the motorcycle rider was careless and crossed their lane while splitting the lane. The driver has the same duty to prove liability as the motorcycle rider before they can recover damages.
If your lawyer cannot negotiate a settlement on your behalf, the case might end up in litigation. If no settlement is reached, it might be up to a jury to decide liability during a civil trial. The jury will evaluate the actions of both parties to determine their respective degrees of fault. Whoever is found to be less than 50% at fault will be able to recover damages, reduced by their percentage of fault.
How to Prove Liability in Lane-Splitting Accidents
Proving liability in a lane-splitting accident can be challenging. Gathering evidence is crucial in establishing negligence and fault:
- Obtain photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damages, and any visible injuries. Gather contact information of witnesses who can provide statements about the accident.
- Request a copy of the police report, which will provide an official account of the accident and may include the officer’s opinion on who is at fault.
- If available, secure any surveillance or dashcam footage capturing the accident.
- Obtain medical records documenting the injuries sustained and treatments received due to the accident.
- Get the accident reconstructionist’s report detailing their explanation of how the accident likely occurred.
Proving liability starts immediately after an accident. Taking the proper steps can help build a stronger case:
- First, check for any injuries and move to a safe location. If you or anyone involved in the accident is injured, call 911 immediately to request medical assistance.
- Even if the accident seems minor, it’s essential to call the police and file an accident report. This documentation can be invaluable for proving liability.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party. Be sure to note the other vehicle or motorcycle’s make, model, and license plate number.
- Take photographs of the accident scene, damages, skid marks, and any visible injuries.
- If there are any witnesses, obtain their contact information.
- Even if you don’t feel injured, visiting a doctor for a thorough examination is essential. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent and could worsen if left untreated.
- Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options and obtain guidance on the next steps to take in your case.
Remembering these steps in any accident can help preserve evidence and build a stronger case against the other party. It’s also best to hire an attorney right away. The sooner you retain a lawyer, the sooner we can protect your rights.
Contact MG Law Today
Motorcycle accidents involving lane splitting can present unique challenges when determining liability in Georgia claims. If you have questions about lane splitting and personal injury claims in Georgia, please contact MG Law. Our skilled lawyers have years of experience assisting clients with complex legal claims, including motorcycle accidents involving lane splitting. Schedule an initial consultation, and let us review your case to determine the best course of action.