Motorcyclists can suffer serious injuries if a car or truck driver makes an unsafe lane change. At Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, our team of North Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers is prepared to help motorcycle crash victims assert their rights against careless motorists. Our firm has represented numerous clients injured in motorcycle accident cases. We can provide you with the advocacy and guidance you need to pursue a legal claim for your injuries. Contact us today to discuss your motorcycle accident case.
Unsafe Lane Changes and Motorcycle Crashes
Unsafe lane changes by a car or truck driver can severely injure a motorcyclist. Cars and trucks have blind spots, or areas that cannot be seen through the rearview or side mirrors. To safely change lanes, a driver must physically turn around and check the area in his or her blind spot. Blind spots can be large, particularly on a truck. A motorcyclist can go unseen if he or she happens to be in a driver’s blind spot and the driver fails to check the area before switching lanes. Motorcyclists may be able to avoid a driver crashing into them if they stay out of a car or truck’s blind spots.
In addition to avoiding blind spots, a motorcyclist can take other steps to remain visible to a driver. These steps include:
- Staying at a distance that allows enough time and space to react to other vehicles;
- Positioning him / herself slightly ahead of a vehicle;
- Signaling and checking for oncoming traffic when passing a vehicle; and/or
- Wearing reflective gear.
A careless driver may nevertheless make an unsafe lane change and hit a motorcyclist. Other factors that can cause a driver to make an improper lane change include driver distraction, speeding or truck driver fatigue.
Liability in Accidents Caused by an Unsafe Lane Change
Drivers who make unsafe lane changes can be held accountable for injuries caused by their negligence. A motorcycle accident victim can file a personal injury lawsuit to show the driver’s liability and obtain damages for their injuries.
Florida requires drivers to operate their vehicles in a careful and prudent manner, use their turn signal and to make safe and proper lane changes. This includes staying in a lane and only switching when and if it is safe to do so. Failure to do so would be considered a traffic violation and may result in a traffic ticket.
To hold a driver liable for an accident caused by an unsafe lane change, a plaintiff must establish the driver’s liability by showing the elements of negligence:
- Duty of care – the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances;
- Breach of the duty of care – the defendant violated this duty of care (by making an unsafe lane change due to driver distraction, for example);
- Causation – the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- Damages – the plaintiff suffered damages for his or her injuries.
Florida has a statute of limitations, or time limit, on personal injury claims. You must file your claim within four years of the accident; otherwise, your claim will be time barred.
If you can establish liability, you may be able to obtain damages for your injuries. You can potentially recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and more. You can obtain damages even if you are partially responsible for your injuries. Unlike many other states, Florida does not prevent a partially at-fault plaintiff from recovering damages. The state follows a comparative negligence standard, which means that you can recover damages in proportion to your degree of fault, even if you are mostly at fault for your injuries.
Legal Guidance and Seasoned Representation
The Spring Hill motorcycle accident attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC can provide the experienced representation you need if you were injured in a motorcycle crash. We have more than 50 years of combined legal practice in the area of personal injury law. We can review your case and advise you of your rights. We will work to get you a fair settlement in your case, and can advocate for you in the courtroom if your case goes to trial. We serve clients in New Tampa, Brooksville, Lutz, and the surrounding communities. To schedule an initial consultation at no cost, call our office or fill out our online form today.