Written by attorney Edward Joel Lake

Motorcycle Lane Splitting and Its Impact on Fault in an Accident

Motorcycle lane splitting is the act of driving between two lanes of traffic, which generally occurs when traffic is crawling at a low speed or has stopped. This allows the motorcyclist to maneuver quickly around or through it.

Motorcycle laws in the state will influence the impact this action will have when determining fault. For a clearer understanding of how it may apply to your case in particular, contact a personal injury attorney on Long Island.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting and Motorcycle Laws

In New York, lane splitting is against the law. Statue 1252 stipulates that a motorcyclist cannot operate his or her bike between adjacent lines, rows of vehicles or lanes of traffic.

In fact, all states except California generally prohibit motorcycle lane splitting. The action is usually considered to be dangerous and increases the chance of an accident.

Determining Fault in an Accident While Motorcycle Lane Splitting

If a motorcyclist was found to have driven his or her bike between lanes of traffic or adjacent lines, it can increase responsibility for an accident. It may be found that it was the sole cause of the accident or that it at least significantly contributed to it.

However, this doesn’t mean that another motorist can’t be found at fault for an accident. For instance, let’s say there was heavy traffic on Veterans Memorial Highway and to avoid it, you rode in between vehicles.

If you were struck by a car and it was discovered the driver had been texting on his or her phone, it could be a contributing factor to the accident. Or if the car attempted to weave in and out of traffic recklessly, this may be considered negligent, too.

If a motorist is found to have contributed to an accident, partial fault will be assigned. This could impact compensation available for your injuries.

Impact of Negligence Laws When Partially at Fault in a Motorcycle Accident

If you live in a state that follows pure comparative negligence (such as New York), you can recover damages, even if you were found to be 99 percent at fault for the accident. However, the percentage of fault assigned to you will reduce the amount of compensation available. So if you were eligible to receive $10,000 in damages, but you were found to be 50 percent at fault, then you would receive only $5,000.

Most other states follow a modified comparative fault system. Some go by the 50 percent rule, which means the injured party must have been 49 percent or less at fault in order to recover damages. Examples of states that follow this include Kansas, Nebraska and Utah.

Other states go by the 51 percent rule, so damages may be recoverable as long as the injured party was 50 percent or less at fault. Some of the states that follow this include Connecticut, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.

Just five states follow the strictest negligence system, in that any fault in the accident would prevent the injured party from receiving compensation. Contact a personal injury attorney on Long Island at Gacovino, Lake & Associates to learn the impact of negligence laws and motorcycle laws like lane splitting on your case. Call (800) 246-4878.

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