Jacksonville, Florida, USA downtown city skyline on St. Johns River.

Improper Lane Change by Drivers - Risks to Motorcyclists

Motorcyclists have the right, freedom, and liberty to ride on the public streets, highways, interstates, and expressways. It is important the other drivers be on the lookout for motorcyclists and respect these rights. Unfortunately, far too many drivers of motor vehicles are distracted, in a hurry, or just careless when operating motor vehicles. As a result, automobile / motorcycle accidents take place that could have otherwise been avoided with better attention, slower speeds, and a solid awareness of traffic and the positioning of motorcycles rightfully on the roads.

Section 316.085, Florida Statutes, Limitations on Overtaking, Passing, Changing Lanes and Changing Course sets forth the law in Florida on changing lanes.

Essentially, a driver should check to make sure that the lane is clear and it is safe to change lanes before attempting to do so. Because of the size and height of motorcycles, drivers often do not see the motorcyclist until it is too late. Changing lanes into the path of a motorcyclist can have devastating consequences in the form of a crash OR forcing the motorcyclist off course in which the motorcyclist. Under either circumstance, a motorcyclist can suffer serious personal injuries or even die as a result of the negligent acts of another driver.

Whenever there is a case involving a lane change violation, there can still be a challenge to the liability by the insurance company for the at-fault driver. It should be pointed out that the issuance or lack of issuance of a traffic citation does not absolutely control the course and direction of an insurance claim or a civil case; however, it is usually helpful if the other driver is issued the traffic citation.

While the issuance of the traffic citation is not dispositive or conclusion, this fact can help convince the insurance adjuster / insurance carrier of the fault or liability of the driver. Keep in mind that, in most cases, the police report and traffic citation are not admissible as evidence in a civil case. As such, the facts through testimony and other evidence must be presented to show that the other driver improperly and carelessly changed lanes into the motorcyclist's right of way to prevail on cases involving allegations of improper lane changes.

In the aftermath of a Florida Motorcycle Accident, there are a number of challenges, issues, and questions that face the injured biker and the family. The laws can be somewhat confusing. For instance, there is a set of "no-fault" laws in place in Florida. Many people believe that these "no-fault" laws prevent a victim from seeking or obtaining justice. It should be noted that the "no-fault" laws merely refer to how some of the initial medical bills are handled and how certain injuries are defined when there is a motor vehicle accident; however, Florida, like most other states, allows an injury victim to see compensation when there is a serious injury for medical bills - past and future, pain, suffering, mental anguish, and the loss of enjoyment of life. Each case must be evaluated on its own facts and merits. Due to the complexities of personal injury cases including motorcycle injury cases, it is important to get an experienced attorney in place for guidance, direction, and, yes, legal representation

David A. Wolf is a Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney with over 30 years of experience working for and representing individuals who have been injured due to the fault or negligence of others. David A. Wolf is the author of 12 books and over 3,500 articles on personal injury, child injury, and safety matters. Contact David A. Wolf today for a free consultation. Get D. Wolf On Your Side - At Your Side.

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