• Brad Keating

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident Changing Lanes?

In an instant, some of the best drivers can find themselves in a challenging position regarding a car accident and in need of an attorney. Changing lanes accidents are often caused by a brief distraction, often by both drivers, and this lapse of concentration can result in severe injury and damage to properties. Although the principal concern must still be the condition, welfare, and health of all the drivers and passengers concerned, one of the first questions that come to mind following an accident is who was to blame. The response to this question starts with the phrase "it depends."


When it comes to a lane change accident, there are specific hard-and-fast laws that apply; however, even the simplest situations can be chaotic when the driver with right-of-way is impaired, overly drowsy, recklessly violent, or preoccupied with their phone. If you have recently experienced an accident where another driver did not change lanes safely, or this is simply for informational purposes, keep reading.


Car accidents during lane changes

Determining Who Is at Fault


If the car accident results in a lawsuit because one of the drivers is injured, the court would have to assign blame to decide the amount of compensation each driver is entitled to. In a personal injury case, fault or negligence is linked to a driver's or entity's incompetence to act with due caution to keep other people safe from damages to others or vehicles. The driver who could not operate the car safely and follows the relevant traffic laws is generally held responsible in a lane change accident or another motor collision.


One could be shocked to hear that both drivers take some of the blame in several incidents. In reality, since both vehicles were traveling when the accident occurred, it is fair to say that both drivers would be held accountable. However, the portion of your responsibility that you are responsible for might be extremely low and cases exist where you are responsible for nothing.


When all parties are jointly responsibility for an accident, the issue is not so much who was wrong as it is who bears a larger share of the blame. The response to that situation would decide who was the primary cause of the accident and, as a result, who is at fault for the injuries and damage to properties that resulted. This is similar to who is at fault in a car accident when backing up. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with determining fault, legal advice, and the claim.


Which Driver Has the Right of Way?


A crucial factor that insurance companies and police officers would ask when all vehicles involved in a lane change accident were traveling is which driver had the right-of-way. The response to this factor is dependent on the traffic laws in effect. The driver who has the right-of-way is normally not at fault for lane change accidents, though they could bear some of the blame. Once again, the question is not who was at fault but who bore primary fault for the collision changing lanes.


Who Is at fault When Switching Lanes?


In general, vehicles that do not enter a traffic lane safely are responsible for any incidents that occur as a result of their entry into the lane. In a similar manner, when a merging driver changing lanes cause a collision, the merging vehicle is almost always to blame. This fact is because a driver changing lanes contains a responsibility to make sure they can do so safely prior to merging lanes and that the lane is clear. If the vehicle questioned was entering the road, leaving the road, or merely driving along the road alongside other cars, the merging vehicle is almost always to blame and has a higher percentage of fault.


Investigators may also examine whether the merging driver used the turn indicator properly to determine if the driver is at fault. In certain states, failing to indicate before changing lanes does not necessarily end in a fine but is crucial evidence when assessing a driver's negligence and determining lane change accident fault.


Sharing the Fault

We previously stated both drivers can bear some blame for the lane change accident. In such circumstances, you can find all drivers to be responsible for lane change accidents. The following are several typical scenarios in which both drivers could be at fault for the accident changing lanes:

  • If both cars try to start merging lanes at the same time, also known as sideswiping, each driver is held 50 percent responsible for the collision.

  • If the exact position of each driver's vehicle included in the sideswipe cannot be determined, each individual driver is held 50 percent responsible for the collision.

When one car is changing lanes, the car currently in that lane can be partly responsible for the collision as a result of illegal activity. The exact fault percentage assigned to each driver in such situations can differ depending on the circumstances. The following are some cases of illegal conduct that may have an effect on figuring out who is to blame for the changing lanes accident:

  • When you drive too fast for the conditions on the road

  • Driving while inebriated or after the consumption of drugs or alcohol is illegal.

  • Not turning on headlights at night.

  • Make risky maneuvers on purpose to keep the other vehicle from merging into the lane

  • Speeding is a serious offense.

  • When the other car switches lanes, you can find yourself suddenly changing the pace at which you drive.

  • Using your phone or sending a text while driving.


Reasons for lane changing accidents

What are the Common Causes of a Lane Change Accident?


While most changing lanes collisions are caused by negligence by the merging driver, the exact causes can vary. The following are common causes of lane change collisions:

  • Speeding

  • Drunk driving

  • Inattention to detail

  • Texting, chatting on the phone, browsing the Internet, sharing on social media, and other potentially dangerous and illegal phone activities.

  • Distracted driving, which can also include things like tuning the radio, using a GPS, sleeping, and grooming.

Our law firm looks into your changing lanes accident and sees what caused the merging driver to make such a foolish lane change.


Reporting the Accident


If you experienced a car accident, whether the lane is clear or not, even if it is minor, one driver must contact the officials so that a policeman or highway patrolman can complete an official police report. An accident police report is an essential form that you can utilize to support your claim for getting injured against another driver, so another driver cannot forget to call the law services or police.


If the injured does not file a personal injury claim, insurance providers would need a copy of the official incident report to allocate blame for the car accident regarding the vehicle. This scenario leaves you with a confusing statement that is impossible to prove in court if you do not do this, as there is no solid evidence. You should also learn how long you have to report a car accident to your insurance.


Additionally, if you are sure the accident was your fault, you cannot allocate responsibility to yourself when the authorities come to complete the police report. Allow the authorities, insurance companies, and injury lawyer or attorney to do their jobs in investigating the collision and assigning percentages of fault and negligence. If another driver broke the law or acted in a suspicious manner, you can inform the police and state this information in the official police officer’s report.


Damages and Compensation


In a personal injury situation, a driver who is found to be 50% or less at fault for the accident is entitled to compensation. However, depending on the severity of the fault and negligence, the total amount of compensation that the driver is eligible for could be decreased. A driver who is found to be 25% at fault for an accident can recover 75% of the total compensation they are eligible for, while a driver who has no negligence for the changing lanes accident and is not at fault in any way could recover 100% of the total compensation they are eligible for.


Call The Keating Firm if You Need to Know Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident Changing Lanes


The Keating Firm's law offices are staffed by dependable lawyers who can assist you with changing lanes car accidents and the injury claim for the crash. Not only do we have counsel for car accident victims, but we also provide lawyers for a variety of other situations.


Clients chose us for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Free consultation or free case review is available at our law firm.

  • Clients get one-on-one treatment when it comes to the outcome of their car accidents.

  • The car accident lawyers go over every detail of the court case with you.

  • The traffic accident attorneys in Columbus have decades of combined experience and expertise.

  • A changing lanes crash, vehicle injury, commercial accidents, personal injury, death, criminal protection, and dog bites are among the areas of practice covered by the law firm.

  • This procedure follows a contingency fee arrangement. A contingency fee arrangement ensures that a client pays if the case is successful.

If someone in Ohio needs a trial lawyer, tell them to contact The Keating Firm right away to meet with one of our lawyers.


The Final Verdict


All people who experience car accidents are welcome to use the Keating Firm's law firm services. We have legal representation in Ohio for those who have lost a loved one or wishes to file a claim for injuries. Our car accident lawyers are among the best personal injury lawyers in the nation. In situations of injuries, death, or the need to recover money, we assist in obtaining justice.


Call our legal team today for a free case consultation so that one of our attorneys can assist you in receiving justice!