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Unsafe Lane Change Accidents

Syracuse Lawyers for Victims of Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycle accidents can be devastating for a motorcyclist even if the driver of a larger vehicle is able to leave the scene of the accident entirely unscathed. One of the common ways in which motorcyclists are injured is through unsafe lane change accidents. The driver of a larger vehicle may not anticipate the speed and nimbleness of a motorcyclist, and may not carefully check an adjacent lane or may misjudge how fast a motorcyclist is approaching from behind. The result can be catastrophic or fatal injuries for a motorcyclist. If you were injured or a loved one died in an unsafe lane change accident while riding a motorcycle, consult the experienced Syracuse motorcycle accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Unsafe Lane Changes

It might seem obvious that a driver should be careful when changing lanes, but unfortunately many drivers do not check their blind spots and assume they can make a lane change safely. Under section 1128(a) of New York’s traffic laws, drivers must stay in a lane. Changing lanes is not allowed unless you’ve determined that changing lanes can be safely completed. Violating section 1128(a) can result in a fine and points on a driver’s driving record. Under section 1128(b), making a left turn from a center lane or passing other cars can only be done when executed safely. Section 1128(c) and section 1128(d) directs drivers to carefully follow road markings and signs and not go over particular lane markings. Failure to abide by these code sections and failure to use common sense can have devastating consequences for a motorcyclist.

Motorcycle Accident Liability and Damages

As a motorcyclist, you may be able to recover damages if you suffered injuries as a result of another driver’s unsafe lane change. You’ll need to establish: (1) the other driver owed you a duty of care, (2) the other driver breached the duty to use reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Failure to abide by traffic laws regarding safe lane passing can constitute a breach of the duty to use reasonable care.


The severity of your injuries will determine the extent of the damages you can recover. If you suffered catastrophic injuries, you may be able to recover significant noneconomic and economic damages. Noneconomic damages can include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium. Noneconomic damages can vary significantly depending on how your attorney explores the intangible losses you suffered as a result of your injuries and how well he is able to present those losses to a jury. Economic damages for catastrophic injuries can include emergency care, medical bills, costs of surgeries, rehabilitation, therapy, and replacement services.

In some cases, an unsafe lane change causes a motorcyclist’s wrongful death. In New York, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within 2 years from the date of a decedent’s death. Damages that can be awarded in a New York wrongful death lawsuit include funeral and burial expenses, reasonable medical and other health care bills, lost wages and benefits from between the final injury and death, conscious pain and suffering felt by the decedent, the value of services provided to family members, the value of parental nurturing to family members, and inheritance lost by surviving children. In New York, the surviving family members are not allowed to recover damages for their own emotional anguish or pain and suffering from the death of the motorcyclist.

Consult a Seasoned Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Syracuse

If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an unsafe lane change accident while on a motorcycle in Syracuse, you should talk to a knowledgeable trial lawyer. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents motorcycle accident victims and their families in Syracuse, as well as Rochester, Elmira, Auburn, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Oneida, Utica, Herkimer, Lowville, Watertown, and Oswego. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY