Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to unsafe lane changes because they are lightweight and less visible to other drivers. Unfortunately, bikers are also victims of bias and may be seen as reckless, dangerous gang members who disrupt others. Whether intentional or subconscious, these biases can compel drivers to make aggressive maneuvers when sharing the road with a motorcyclist.
If you were involved in an unsafe lane change motorcycle accident in Baton Rouge, it is crucial to get in touch with an attorney as soon as you are able. A seasoned motorcycle accident attorney could help you pursue the damages you are entitled to.
Common Causes of Unsafe Lane Changes
Unsafe lane change collisions can result from a number of unsafe driver actions. An experienced Baton Rouge attorney could examine a specific case and provide more detail on how the cause of a wreck might affect the damages claim.
Any time a driver is focused on a task other than driving, they’re dangerous. Distracted driving can cause a motorist to drift into other lanes without realizing it. Cell phone use, talking with passengers, eating, personal grooming, and reaching for objects inside a vehicle are common activities associated with distracted driving accidents.
Drunk or Drugged Driving
Impaired driving is illegal for a reason. Driving while intoxicated impairs a driver’s ability to focus, slows reaction times, dulls awareness, and impacts judgment. These negative effects can easily lead to unsafe lane changes.
When drivers disobey traffic laws, motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur. Cutting off motorcyclists, tailgating, or zipping across multiple lanes without warning are examples of reckless driving.
There’s little time to react when a speeding driver makes an unsafe lane change. Motorcycle accidents caused by a speeding driver tend to be more severe than lower-speed crashes because the force of impact is so violent.
Motorcycles are harder to see under ideal conditions, so driving at night or during bad weather may cause drivers to make an unsafe lane change.
Drivers who have been on the road for many hours may be fatigued. Dozing off can lead to drifting into other lanes, which puts other people, especially motorcyclists, in danger.
Failing to Check Blind Spots
Drivers don’t always notice motorcycles because they focus on looking for other vehicles. Motorcycles can easily creep up into a driver’s blind spots, so if a driver isn’t careful enough, they may make a lane change without realizing that a motorcycle is in their path.
Not Using Turn Signals
Drivers must alert other motorists of their intentions before moving on the road. That’s what turn signals are for. When drivers don’t use their blinkers or turn signals, other drivers and motorcyclists can’t prepare for the lane change.
Crossing Multiple Lanes Without Pausing
Drivers are supposed to move over one lane at a time, using their blinkers, mirrors, and checking their blind spots before making a lane change. But reckless drivers will sometimes fly across multiple lanes at once, leading to crashes with unexpecting motorists.
Injuries From Lane Change Accidents
When motorcycle accidents happen, bikers typically suffer the worst injuries. These may include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Concussions, skull fractures, brain bleeds, and other injuries to the head can be life-threatening and can require multiple surgeries. The symptoms of a TBI aren’t limited to physical injuries. The brain is also the body’s computer. Reasoning, logic, memory, emotion, and even personality can also be affected by a traumatic brain injury. Many times, the damage is permanent, leading to lifelong disabilities and the need for long-term care.
- Spinal cord injury (SCI): Spinal damage can completely alter a person’s life, preventing them from doing normal day-to-day activities. If the spinal cord is completely cut in a motorcycle accident, the victim may live with lifelong paralysis, severely limiting a person’s mobility for the rest of their lives. Complications from SCIs can also shorten a survivor’s lifespan because they become more vulnerable to illnesses like pneumonia.
- Broken bones: Broken bones commonly occur in motorcycle accidents. Because motorcyclists directly come into contact with the vehicle or the road, fractures may be complex, requiring surgery and long-term rehabilitation.
- Internal bleeding: Internal bleeding may not be immediately apparent right after a crash, which is why seeking medical attention right away is imperative. Internal bleeding is life-threatening and can be fatal within hours if it goes undetected.
- Burns, scrapes, and road rash: If a motorcyclist is exposed to toxic chemicals, fuel, or fire after a collision, they may sustain burns, which can cause irreversible disfigurement. Debris from the crash, such as shattered glass and other vehicle parts, may cause scrapes and lacerations. When a motorcyclist is thrown from their bike and slides across the pavement after a collision, they can sustain road rash, which can cause deep scrapes and infections.
Liability in Unsafe Lane Change Accidents
Louisiana is an at-fault state, which means that negligent drivers in Baton Rouge will generally be held liable for damages related to an unsafe lane change accident. Motorcyclists injured in these types of crashes can seek compensation for their losses through a personal injury claim.
Compensation is designed to cover financial and personal losses, also referred to as economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages may include monetary losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income due to inability to work
- Lost earning capacity, if your injuries prevent you from working or holding a position similar to the one you had before the wreck
- Rehabilitation costs
- Long-term care needs, such as round-the-clock nursing assistance or assistive medical equipment like walkers and wheelchairs
- Property damage
Non-economic damages include intangible losses that cannot be easily calculated, including:
- Physical Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Most motorcycle accidents will not provide an opportunity for the recovery of punitive damages, but if alcohol is involved in the accident, the drunk driver may be held liable for such damages.
Contact a Baton Rouge Attorney to Discuss Unsafe Lane Change Motorcycle Accidents
It is important to understand that you are not without legal options after a motorcycle wreck caused by an improper lane change. If someone else’s negligence resulted in serious injuries to you or a loved one, reach out to a dedicated attorney at our office right away. A skilled lawyer could assess your case and help you seek fair payments after an unsafe lane change motorcycle accident in Baton Rouge. Schedule your free consultation today to get started.