At Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A., years of experience practicing personal injury law in Florida have taught us to pay close attention to details and even closer attention to the needs of our clients. This is especially true when we are offering skilled legal representation to those who have been seriously injured in motorcycle accidents involving lane-splitting.
Bikers tend to be extremely independent, ready to face increased risks on the road for the pleasure of riding free and unencumbered. That sense of freedom, however, comes at a price. Bikers, without the metal enclosure other motor vehicles provide, are much more vulnerable to catastrophic injury and fatality. Our motorcycle accident attorneys pride ourselves on protecting the rights of bikers when their health and income are threatened by lane-splitting accidents.
Although lane splitting is illegal in Florida, the specific circumstances of motorcycle accidents are often unclear and difficult to prove. This is why if you are a biker who has suffered a serious injury, you need the knowledgeable advocacy our attorneys can provide. Not only are we productive negotiators and litigators; we are also compassionate human beings. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial trauma you are going through and will charge you no attorneys’ fees until we win you damages.
What Lane Splitting Is and Why It Is Somewhat Controversial
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist creates his or her own lane by riding between cars. The practice is now legal in California and being considered for legalization in a few other states.
Those who lobby for legalization argue that lane splitting can reduce traffic and make travel safer for bikers in certain situations. Even in Florida, legislators are aware that motorists can endanger bikers by driving “in such a manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane.” In other words, a biker may be put in jeopardy by being forced to split the lane because of the sudden proximity of a much larger, heavier vehicle.
It is important to note that sharing, as opposed to splitting, a lane, is legal in Florida and in most other states. Lane sharing occurs when two motorcycles (not three or more) ride alongside one another in the same lane. Also noteworthy is the fact that there is no evidence that lane splitting increases the risk of a motorcycle accident unless the rider is driving 10 mph faster than other traffic.
How Drivers Make Lane Splitting Accidents More Likely
Everyone traveling on public roads owes a duty of care to other travelers. All too frequently, motorists endanger the lives of bikers by:
- Not being alert to the presence of motorcycles on the road
- Not checking their mirrors often enough to be aware of nearby motorcycles
- Switching lanes or making turns without signaling
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Speeding or otherwise driving recklessly
If a driver is responsible for the harm that has come to you, our sharp lane-splitting motorcycle attorneys will work strategically to win you the compensation you deserve, either through a negotiated settlement or a favorable verdict after trial.
Because of the general public’s prejudice against motorcycles, even when a driver is clearly at fault for the motorcycle accident in which you suffered a serious injury, you need the well-developed skills and clout of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to see you through. Contacting Staples, Ellis + Associates can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Other Causes of Lane-Splitting Motorcycle Accidents
Unfortunately, driver errors or misconduct are not the only dangers confronting bikers. Road hazards can also cause lane-splitting accidents with serious injuries, especially since bikers, even while wearing all necessary protective gear, are more exposed to physical harm.
The fact that a motorcyclist is riding on a lightweight, two-wheeled vehicle decreases stability. Motorcyclists are much more likely to tip and fall when faced with uneven or slippery pavement, debris, oil spills, gravel, or potholes. A mechanical defect in the motorcycle itself is also more likely to throw bikers to the road surface.
If you are injured in a lane-splitting accident caused by poor road maintenance or a manufacturing defect, our capable attorneys are ready to file a lawsuit against the government agency responsible for road repair or the motorcycle manufacturer who put profit ahead of safety.
If lane-splitting is illegal in Florida, isn’t the accident my fault?
Florida, like most states, settles accident claims according to the principle of comparative fault. Comparative fault means that if both parties bear some responsibility for the lane-splitting
accident, the court will assign percentages of blame to each. The injured party is entitled to sue for damages even if she or he was lane splitting when the accident occurred, as long as the other person was speeding, driving while distracted, or engaging in some other type of misconduct
Florida functions under “pure” comparative fault. In this context, “pure” means that even if the motorcycle rider bears more responsibility for the accident than the other party, the biker is entitled to receive damages. The court-awarded settlement, however, will be decreased by the percentage of fault assigned to the biker. So, if the biker is found to be 25 percent at fault for the accident and is awarded $100,000 in damages, he or she will receive $75,000.
Lane-Splitting Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accident injuries are usually severe and may include:
- Fractured bones
- Severe road rash
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage or loss
- Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
- Wrongful death
If you have suffered a life-altering injury in a lane-splitting motorcycle accident, it is crucial that you have our highly skilled attorneys fighting for your future.
Staples, Ellis + Associates Will Fight Aggressively to Win You Damages
Our attorneys know the ropes and will work tirelessly to obtain compensation for your:
- Medical and rehabilitation costs
- Lost income & earning power
- Lost property
- Pain & suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you have tragically lost a loved one in a lane-splitting motorcycle accident, we will make every effort to provide you and your family with the funds for final medical costs, funeral expenses, and lost emotional and financial support.
Contact Our Experienced Lane-Splitting Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
As soon as you get in touch with our office in Pensacola, Florida, we will begin working on your case. Contact us now to give yourself the very best chance of receiving the substantial compensation you deserve and the time you need to rest and recover.
The Lane-Splitting Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Staples, Ellis & Associates serves clients in Pensacola County, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Okaloosa County, Walton County, and throughout Northwest Florida.