Even the safest drivers have their lives turned upside down after an accident, making legal representation a must. One or both drivers may have been momentarily distracted when changing lanes, leading to a collision that resulted in serious injuries and expensive property damage. Even though the safety and well-being of all drivers and passengers involved are paramount, the topic of fault is understandably among the first that comes to mind after an accident. “it depends” is the first word to answer your question.

Even the most basic scenarios can become chaotic if the driver with the right-of-way is drunk, too sleepy, dangerously violent, and distracted with their phone during a lane change collision. Keep reading if you’ve recently been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s unsafe lane change or if you’re just curious.

Identifying The Responsible Party

If any motorists are hurt and sued over the accident, the court will have to determine who was at fault to determine how much money each party should receive as compensation. A driver’s and entity’s failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to third parties and their property is usually what constitutes negligence in a case of personal injury. In a lane-changing accident or other motor collision, the fault is typically assigned to the driver who could not operate the vehicle safely and follow the applicable traffic laws.

It may come as a surprise to learn that, in several accidents, both drivers share some of the responsibility. In all likelihood, both drivers would’ve been held responsible for the collision, as they were both operating moving cars at the time of the incident. However, the share of responsibility that falls on your shoulders could be quite small, and there could even be situations where you have no duty.

When there is shared blame for an incident, determining fault comes down to determining who is more at fault. Depending on how each party reacts, liability for any injuries or property damage will be assigned. The situation is analogous to determining liability in a rear-end collision. A personal injury attorney can help with filing questions of liability, legal strategy, and claims.

Who Gets The Green Light To Go First?

Whoever had the right-of-way during a lane change collision is a major question for insurance companies and law enforcement. How this is dealt with depends on the road rules currently in place. However, it is possible that the driver with the right-of-way is at least partially to blame for an accident during a lane change. It’s not about who was at fault but who switched lanes and caused the accident.

Whose Responsibility Is It To Change Lanes?

Accidents caused by vehicles entering a traffic lane unsafely are typically the driver’s responsibility. Similarly, it is usually the merging vehicle’s fault when an accident occurs because a motorist changes lanes. This is because merging lanes requires the driver to check for traffic and ensure it is safe before proceeding. Whether the vehicle in question was entering or exiting the roadway or was merely traveling alongside other cars, the vehicle that merged onto the roadway is almost always at fault and has a greater proportion of fault.

Investigators may also evaluate whether the merging vehicle used the turn indication appropriately to establish if the motorist is at fault. Some states do not automatically issue tickets for failing to signal before changing lanes, although this is considered when deciding blame in lane change accidents.

Losses And Restitution

A driver who was found to just be 50% at fault or less in a case involving personal injury is eligible for reimbursement. The amount of compensation to which a motorist is entitled may be reduced, however, based on the degree to which fault and carelessness contributed to the accident. For example, if one motorist is determined to be 25% at fault in an accident, that person would be entitled to 75% of the total earnings they are eligible to receive. In contrast, a driver who was not at fault in the changing directions accident would be entitled to 100% of their compensation.

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