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A fatal crash between a motorcyclist and another vehicle has reopened the debate on lane splitting, and how the controversial act by motorcyclists can be dangerous.

Lane splitting is the act of driving in between two lanes by a motorcyclist. It allows them to coast through traffic easily, but it is obviously dangerous. In this particular accident, the motorcyclist was lane splitting near a slower lane of traffic when the motorcyclist collided with the rear of another vehicle. The motorcyclist suffered fatal injuries in the crash on US 101 in Palo Alto, California.

Little else is known about the crash, though the investigation into the accident is ongoing. Drugs and alcohol don’t appear to be a factor in the wreck, though if negligence was a part of the crash, it will soon be established by the police.

The investigation into any motor vehicle accident carries a lot of weight when it comes to determining liability. If you have been in an accident, be patient with the police as they work through all of the details to make a decision. Also, remember that new evidence that is revealed after the investigation is complete can lead to an alteration of the final report on the crash.

Ultimately though, the unfortunate lesson in this story is that when motorcyclists are involved in a crash, they often suffer serious or fatal injuries. Their vehicles inherently offer less protection than any other vehicle out there. So if you are near a motorcyclist on the road, be as careful as you can be.

Source: KRON, “Lane splitting leads to fatal motorcycle crash on US 101,” Emily Kirschenheuter, Sept. 23, 2015

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Motorcyclists too often get an undeserved, negative reputation. Drivers of larger vehicles often blame motorcyclists for riding too fast, weaving through traffic and splitting lanes during rush hour (even though this is legal in California).

But motorcyclists are entitled to their place on the road, and deserve the same respect given to drivers of cars and trucks. And motorcyclists who are seriously injured by the negligence of other drivers have a right to pursue compensation in court.

If you are a regular or even occasional rider, you may be wondering about your legal options if you get into a motorcycle accident that was partially or fully caused by another driver. Today, we’ll discuss some legal basics about determining fault in an accident.

In certain scenarios, drivers – not riders – are almost always found to be at fault. A good example is the left-turn accident, in which a car turns across oncoming traffic and into the path of a motorcyclist going straight. In most cases, the driver of the turning vehicle will be considered at fault.

In other cases, it may not be clear that either the driver or the rider was entirely at fault. This shouldn’t be a deterrent to pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Rather, the rider just needs to understand that his “comparative negligence” may reduce the damages he will receive if the jury rules in his favor.

Comparative negligence is a determination that the plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident and an assigned percentage of fault based on his carelessness or negligence. Let’s say that you were involved in an accident on the highway at night. The driver was largely at fault for failing to keep a lookout, but the defense claims that you share some blame because you had a non-working brake light or tail light. The jury may decide that your comparative negligence is, say, 20 percent. If the jury rules in your favor, this could reduce the overall award you receive by 20 percent.

If you ever get into a motorcycle accident with another vehicle and aren’t exactly sure what happened, it is usually best to avoid signing any legal papers or admitting any fault until you have the chance to consult an attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and may be able to help you pursue compensation.

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