Lane change accidents are a common type of motorcycle accident. If you've been injured in this type of collision, you may be entitled to compensation for accident-related expenses.
About Lane Change Accidents
Lane change accidents can be due to:
- Inexperienced drivers who aren't aware of how to share the road with motorcyclists
- Road rage or aggressive driving
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
A lane change accident can happen through a direct collision with another vehicle or an accident caused by losing control of your motorcycle after being forced to take evasive action to avoid a more serious collision. You may be eligible for personal injury compensation in both cases.
Accidents Related to Lane Splitting
Another cause of lane change accidents is lane splitting. This happens when a motorcyclist rides between lanes of slow moving or stopped traffic traveling in the same direction. This practice may also be referred to as white lining, stripe riding, filtering, or lane sharing.
Lane splitting is often done to save time when traveling, but this practice is dangerous and illegal under Louisiana law. RS 32:191.1 §191.1 states: "A. All motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. This Subsection shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane. B. The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken. C. No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles."
If you were lane splitting, you may be found partially at fault for the accident. You may still be able to collect compensation, but your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.
Injuries From Lane Change Accidents
Even at relatively low speeds, lane change accidents can result in serious injuries. This is because a motorcyclist does not have built-in protection from a collision the way a car does. He can only rely on a helmet and other safety gear.
Some of the many potential injuries that can result from a lane change accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Spinal injury
- Back and neck injury
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations leaving disfiguring scars
Types of Damages Included in a Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim for a motorcycle lane change accident includes several different types of recoverable damages, including:
- Medical care already received
- Anticipated future medical needs related to disability from the accident
- Lost wages while you were hospitalized or recovering from your injuries
- Applicable loss of future earning potential due to an accident-related disability
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
If you've been injured in a lane change accident, it's recommended that you avoid settling your claim until you've reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point at which your injuries are fully healed or you've stabilized enough for a doctor to determine what your future medical needs will be.
Settling before you reach MMI is incredibly risky. Once you accept a settlement, you're not allowed to go back and ask for additional compensation if your needs turn out to be greater than anticipated. Since lane change accidents can result in disabilities that need ongoing care and limit your future earning potential, waiting until you can accurately estimate future costs is vital.
Building a Viable Personal Injury Case
Louisiana's statute of limitations requires that you file your personal injury claim within one year of the accident. However, it's in your best interests to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to locate applicable evidence.
Personal injury attorneys can use a variety of evidence types to build a case. Law enforcement reports and eyewitness testimony can support claims of liability for the accident. Copies of your medical bills, diagnostic tests, photos of your injuries, and testimony from experts familiar with the type of injuries you've suffered can document the extent of your medical damages. Claims for lost wages can be supported by providing pay stubs, tax returns, and testimony from experts who can evaluate how your injuries will affect your future earning potential.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team has a history of successfully advocating for the rights of Louisiana residents who've suffered serious motorcycle accident injures. Contact us online or call our office directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.