Motorcycle lane-splitting accidents can cause devastating injuries. Lane splitting, also called “lane filtering,” happens when a motorcycle rides over the painted dashed lines in the road to pass between slowly moving motor vehicles. While illegal, lane splitting remains a common practice.
If you or your loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Texas, you’ll benefit from speaking to an experienced attorney. The Houston personal injury attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC have a proven track record of recovering the full and fair amount of compensation motorcycle accidents deserve.
Lane-Splitting Isn’t Legal in Texas
Texas legal code states that all drivers must stay in a single lane of traffic. As a result, lane splitting isn’t permitted by motorcyclists or bicyclists in Texas. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives in between two lanes of traffic. Texas drivers may frequently see motorcyclists’ lane splitting to avoid rush hour traffic’s gridlock in Houston. While there have been a few attempts to legalize lane splitting in Texas, they have failed due to concerns about safety.
Why Is Motorcycle Lane Splitting Dangerous?
Splitting lanes appeals to motorcyclists because it helps them reach their destination more quickly. However, the faster the motorcyclist rides in between lanes, the more dangerous the practice. A study from UC Berkeley found that motorcyclists traveling at the same speed as the rest of the traffic didn’t experience increased accident risks while lane splitting. However, when motorcyclists drove 10 miles per hour or faster than other motorists, the risk factor for an accident began to climb.
When motorcycle lane-splitting accidents occur, motorcyclists are more likely to rear-end other vehicles than to be rear-ended. Lane-splitting motorcyclists are more likely to be thrown off their motorcycle and in front or behind the wheels of a passenger vehicle in either adjacent lane. Several states, including Texas, have banned lane splitting because it’s an extremely risky practice that can seriously compromise a driver’s safety.
Pursuing Compensation After Being Injured in a Lane Splitting Accident
Motorcyclists are at a higher risk of being involved in accidents and suffering severe injuries than other drivers on the road. You may be entitled to compensation if you’ve been injured because another driver was driving negligently or recklessly, such as by engaging in lane splitting.
The two main avenues for recovering compensation include pursuing an insurance claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company and pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. In order to recover compensation, victims must prove several elements, including the following:
- The other party owed you a duty of care, such as to drive reasonably safely
- The other party breached his or her duty of care by engaging in negligent or reckless driving
- The breach of duty caused your injuries
Proving Negligence or Reckless
Proving negligence can be challenging in motorcycle accident cases. Negligence means the failure to use reasonable care to prevent injuries. As lane splitting isn’t allowed in Texas, motorcyclists who engage in the practice drive negligently and potentially recklessly. If a lane-splitting motorcyclist has injured you, and the motorcyclist is convicted of a traffic violation for lane-splitting, you may be able to prove negligence per se.
When plaintiffs can prove negligence per se, they do not need to prove negligence. They only need to prove that the lane splitting caused the accident that resulted in their injuries. Suppose the motorcyclist was engaging in reckless driving, such as speeding while lane splitting or aggressively weaving in and out of lanes and causing the accidents. In that case, victims may have a valid claim for compensation.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Texas Lane-Splitting Accident
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle lane-splitting accident, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself and preserve your claim for compensation. Immediately after the accident, you should ensure you and any other parties involved are safe. Call 911 and request an ambulance and a police officer. If you are able to do so, exchange information with the other driver and any other witnesses, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
Take photos of the accident scene and any injuries or damages that occurred. If you are injured, go to the hospital to receive treatment. If you don’t go to the hospital, you should visit your own doctor as soon as possible. Follow your doctor’s orders and attend all appointments. Doing so can help you prove the severity of your injuries and that they were caused by the motorcycle accident. After you receive medical attention, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.
Available Compensation in a Motorcycle Accident
Do not accept a settlement offer from the insurance company or defendant without consulting with an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC can help you determine the full value of your case and negotiate with the defendant or insurance company for a full and fair amount of compensation. Plaintiffs can pursue economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include compensation for current and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages.
The More Traffic, the More Likely Lane-Splitting Accidents Will Occur
Lane-splitting motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur during rush hour. During the morning and afternoon rush hours, lane-splitting motorcyclists were more likely to collide with another vehicle or be struck by another vehicle.
Passenger vehicle drivers usually aren’t expecting to see a motorcyclist driving between two lanes of traffic, even if all vehicles are at a complete standstill. Even when motorcyclists think they are taking precautions when lane-splitting, they may end up in a driver’s blind spot. Should the driver decide to change lanes, he or she may end up sideswiping the motorcyclist.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle lane-splitting accident, the attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC are here to help you understand your legal options. We have extensive experience recovering compensation for victims of a wide range of traffic accidents, including motorcycle accidents. Don’t hesitate to contact Ceja Law Firm PLLC to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.