Is Lane Splitting Legal in Missouri?
Motorcycles are increasingly popular in Missouri, with many riders relying on these vehicles as their regular mode of transportation. Unfortunately, motorcycles can also be very dangerous — their construction leaves riders vulnerable to the elements and motor vehicles, and many motorcycle accidents result in severe injury and even death.
If you are in a motorcycle accident, you may recover compensation for your damages, but dangerous driving practices such as lane splitting can harm your eligibility for a settlement.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is a practice where motorcyclists drive between two traffic lanes that are traveling in the same direction, usually along the white line that separates the two lanes. Motorcyclists usually engage in lane splitting during traffic jams in order to maneuver through a gridlock of vehicles.
Lane splitting is not illegal in Missouri, so you do have the right to file a lawsuit for your damages even if you suffered an injury while engaging in this practice. However, courts and insurance adjusters alike know lane splitting is very unsafe and can result in severe personal injury, and these facts can harm your future claim.
Lane Splitting and Motorcycle Insurance Claims in Kansas City, MO
Missouri operates on a fault car insurance system, which means the at-fault driver’s insurance company must pay for your damages in an accident. Since it is not in the insurance company’s best interest to pay these funds, the adjuster investigating your claim will likely look for strategies to avoid paying full compensation.
Lane splitting is a dangerous practice, and the adjuster may claim you were at-fault for the accident because you were lane splitting. This may lead to the insurance company denying your claim or offering you an insufficient settlement amount for your needs.
Lane Splitting and Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits in Missouri
If the court finds you were driving in a dangerous manner, such as lane splitting, you may see your award decrease, or you might not receive a settlement at all. Even though lane splitting is not specifically illegal under Missouri law, this dangerous driving practice can have a severe impact on your recovery.
This is due to Missouri’s comparative fault laws, which reduce your settlement in a civil lawsuit by the percentage of fault you share. Unlike other comparative fault states, which do not allow you to claim compensation if you share more than 50% of the fault, you can still claim compensation even if you share the majority of the liability.
For example, say you were lane splitting and a driver makes an unsafe lane change, crashing into you. You file your lawsuit, seeking $20,000 in damages. The court determines you share 40% of the fault based on the fact you were lane splitting. As a result, you will only receive $12,000 out of your original $20,000. If the court finds you responsible for 90% of the accident, you will only receive $2,000.
Hiring a Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you are in a motorcycle accident while lane splitting, hiring a Missouri motorcycle accident attorney can help you preserve your right to compensation and find optimal pathways toward maximum possible compensation.
Your Kansas City motorcycle accident attorney will have the resources necessary to launch a full-scale investigation into your claim and gather the necessary evidence to prove the other driver was entirely or mostly at-fault for the accident. For example, if the other driver was under the influence, distracted, or breaking another traffic law at the time of the accident, your attorney can leverage this information to rebut his or her defense and establish the at-fault driver’s negligence.
If you have not done so already, contact a Kansas City accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin the lawsuit or insurance claim processes.