Motorcycle lane-splitting is illegal in Georgia under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-312. The law prohibits motorcyclists from sharing lanes with other vehicles or passing other vehicles in the same lane.
The big question is: can you pursue damages if you were injured in a collision and you were lane-splitting? The answer depends on your portion of fault. Per O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33, Georgia operates on contributory negligence laws, meaning that if the other party bears the majority of the fault for the accident, you can still seek damages.
Lane-Splitting is Not the Same as Lane-Filtering or Lane-Sharing
Make no mistake; lane-splitting is illegal. Lane-sharing is not, though. This is when two motorcyclists ride alongside each other, sharing the same lane. Lane-sharing turns into lane-splitting when the motorcyclist shares the lane with another vehicle, like a truck.
Lane-splitting and lane-filtering are similar concepts, and they’re both illegal. Lane-filtering is when traffic is slowed or stopped, and a motorcyclist weaves around the vehicles.
Whether you were injured by lane-splitting, lane-filtering, or lane-sharing, you could seek damages–as long as you can prove another party’s negligence.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-214-2001
Consider This Scenario to Better Understand Lane-Splitting and Your Legal Options
John is an avid motorcyclist. One day, he’s headed back from a trip and weaves around cars to keep moving forward, sometimes riding alongside them. As he’s lane-splitting, a drunk driver merges into his lane, striking him.
The insurance company and police review the case and find that John is 30 percent at fault for lane-splitting, and the other driver is 70 percent at fault for driving while intoxicated. Can John still seek damages?
The short answer is yes. Because John only shared a portion of the fault for the collision, he could seek damages via an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
What Other Road Maneuvers in Georgia are Illegal?
Road users are prohibited from doing the following while driving:
- Texting while driving
- Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Disobeying traffic signs and signals
- Passing an emergency vehicle
- Merging without signaling
Remember: engaging in one of these practices does not inherently bar you from seeking recovery. Your portion of fault is the final say in whether you can pursue compensation.
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How is Fault Determined in Motorcycle Accident Crashes?
We can gather evidence to determine who bears the fault for your accident. Such evidence may include:
- The police report
- Accident reconstruction specialist testimony
- Black box data
- Security camera recordings
- The points of impact
- Your medical records
- Witness testimony
- Skid marks, broken glass, and other debris on the roadway
The fault could rest with a negligent road user, like a motorist or pedestrian. Liability could rest on the at-fault party’s insurer.
These Elements Also Determine Fault
Another party could be financially responsible for your losses if:
- They had an obligation to operate their vehicle safely.
- They failed to operate their vehicle as another cautious, reasonable person would.
- They primarily caused your accident.
- You incurred injuries and financial losses.
You must prove a different set of elements if you suffered losses due to a defective vehicle. This is called “strict liability.” In that situation, you would prove that because of the defective product, you were in an accident and suffered damages.
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You Have Options if You Were Hurt While Lane-Splitting
You generally have two options when seeking compensation after a motorcycle accident: filing an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit.
You cannot recover damages through an insurance claim and then sue the at-fault party. If you accept an insurance settlement, your case ends, and you are barred from requesting more money through civil action.
You Can Seek Damages for the Following Losses
Compensable losses after a collision include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Lost tips, commissions, and bonuses
- Lost employee benefits, like paid time off and insurance coverage
- Property damage expenses
- Physical therapy
- Mental health counseling
If you lost a loved one, you could file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. In that instance, compensable losses could comprise funeral bills, end-of-life medical costs, and loss of consortium.
You Could File a Lawsuit to Recover Damages
If an insurance settlement doesn’t cover your losses, or the at-fault party wasn’t insured, you could file a civil lawsuit. You have two years from the date of your accident or loved one’s passing to file, per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
Going to trial involves taking depositions, presenting evidence, and attending in-court hearings. While recovering from a motorcycle accident, working with our firm could help you focus on your health.
Our Georgia Law Firm is Ready to Help You
While lane-splitting is illegal, you still have legal options if you were hurt in an accident. Kaine Law has decades of collective experience, and we’ve recovered millions for our clients. You can explore your options in a free case review with our firm. Feel free to share the details of your accident, the nature of your injuries, and your general expectations.
Dial (404) 214-2001 to begin.