Who May be Liable for a Lane-Change Accident?
Lane-change accidents are common and determining liability in these scenarios may be complicated.
If you have questions about liability after a lane-change accident, you should call the Savannah car accident attorneys to see what legal options might be available to you and how we may be able to help you recover compensation. You cannot rely on the insurance company to take care of you – they are looking for any way to deny or devalue your claim.
Below are some of the factors considered when determining who is responsible for damages.
When Do Lane Change Accidents Occur?
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, lane-change accidents fit in two broad classes:
- Proximity crashes
- Fast approach crashes
About 90 percent of lane-change accidents fall into the proximity crash category. These types of crashes occur when the vehicle that is making the lane change (the subject vehicle) and the vehicle in the lane (principal vehicle) are both traveling at the same speed and the subject vehicle attempts to merge or change into the lane with the principal vehicle.
Fast approach crashes occur when one vehicle is traveling significantly faster than the other.
Lane-change accidents generally result in rear-end collisions or sideswipes that could cause a vehicle to lose control and spin out onto the shoulder, guard rails or other vehicles on the road.
How is Fault Determined?
The fault for a lane change accident, like most accidents, is generally determined by what occurred prior to the collision. In some lane-change accidents, the at-fault driver is determined to have been:
- Driving while distracted
- Suffering from fatigue or sleepiness
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to check rearview mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes
Poor visibility may sometimes be a factor in lane change accidents, especially during heavy rain or snowfall.
Georgia law specifies that a driver may only change lanes when it is reasonably safe to do so, meaning it is the responsibility of the driver who is changing lanes to check for surrounding traffic, check blind spots, use a turn signal and make sure it is safe to merge into a new lane. A driver who fails to do this may be found at fault for a lane-change accident.
Proving Liability for a Lane-Change Accident
Even though responsible lane-change maneuvers are required by law, it may sometimes be difficult to prove that another driver acted negligently before a lane-change accident.
When a driver denies liability for a lane change accident, it is up to the injured party to prove the other driver acted negligently. This can be done with evidence, such as:
- Witness statements
- Police/accident reports
- Traffic/surveillance camera footage
- Testimony from a car accident reconstruction expert
Our licensed attorneys are prepared to help gather the necessary evidence to build a case against the at-fault driver.
Can I Still Recover Compensation if I Was Partially at Fault?
There are instances when multiple parties may be responsible for a lane-change accident. Fortunately, Georgia is an at-fault state that follows a comparative negligence system.
Under these rules, injury victims in the state who are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident that caused their injuries may still be able to recover compensation. The caveat in these circumstances is that your compensation may be reduced depending on the amount of fault assigned to you. So, if you are found to be 10 percent at fault, a settlement of $100,000 may be reduced by $10,000.
If an injury victim is found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, he or she may not recover any compensation.
Call Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation
Determining liability for a lane-change accident may be more complicated than it would for other types of car accidents. That is why you need an attorney with extensive legal knowledge and experience.
The attorneys at Roden Law have many combined years of experience recovering compensation for victims of all sorts of accidents. We know how to negotiate with the insurance companies to recover the compensation injury victims need for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
We charge you nothing up front and there are no fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.