Who Could Be Liable if a Lane Change Causes a Crash?
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on May 12, 2022 in Car Accidents
Changing lanes is a tricky but necessary maneuver all drivers should be able to do safely. To reduce the risk of a crash, drivers need to take certain measures before trying to move into another lane. However, you could still get injured in a lane-change crash despite your best efforts.
If this happens, who could be liable for the accident and your damages?
At Goldberg Finnegan, we have managed many different cases for traffic accident victims over the years. Regardless of the type of crash, we may be able to help you seek compensation. Learn if you have legal options by discussing your situation with one of our knowledgeable Silver Spring car crash attorneys.
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What is a Lane-Change Crash?
Lane-change crashes happen when a vehicle in one lane moves into a different lane and into the path of another vehicle. A lane-change crash typically involves two vehicles, but more may become involved if the accident occurs on a busy highway.
How Do Lane-Change Crashes Happen?
Lane-change crashes often happen because of another driver’s negligence or intentional recklessness.
These are some common ways driver negligence may result in a lane-change crash:
A Driver Drifted Unintentionally into Another Lane
Drivers may drift accidentally into another lane for many reasons. Often, it is because a driver gets distracted by a text or other technology in the car. For instance, the driver may reach to adjust the GPS, not realizing he or she has drifted into another lane. Sometimes drivers may be too impaired to notice they are weaving in and out of lanes dangerously. Fatigued drivers may also cause a lane-change crash if they nod off and drift into another lane of traffic.
The At-Fault Driver Failed to Check for Traffic
Maryland does not yet require drivers to signal when changing lanes, even though it could help you to change lanes more safely. However, drivers must make sure it is safe to proceed before moving into another lane.
Two Drivers Merged into the Same Lane Simultaneously
Sometimes, a lane-change crash happens when two drivers attempt to move into the same lane at the same time. This is why it is so important to double-check for other vehicles and why signaling could help reduce confusion.
A Driver Recklessly Crossed Over One or More Lanes
An especially deadly lane-change crash may occur if a driver recklessly crosses multiple lanes of traffic at once. However, even crossing one lane in a rush could cause a serious collision. One example of this is a driver trying to squeeze his or her way into a lane to avoid missing an exit. Other vehicles in this driver’s path may react by swerving and end up losing control of their vehicles.
Who May Be Liable for a Lane-Change Crash?
Often the at-fault party in a lane-change crash is the driver who was merging or changing lanes. Drivers entering another lane of traffic must yield the right of way to other vehicles already in that lane.
That said, there are some exceptions where another driver could be held liable for a lane-change crash. These scenarios may be rare, but could include:
- A driver in the other lane who purposely sped up when he or she saw you trying to merge
- Two drivers merging at the same time may mean no case if both parties share liability
- If both drivers involved are negligent due to being distracted, impaired, speeding or more
How Can You Avoid Being Involved in a Lane-Change Crash?
Changing lanes is not a maneuver all drivers are comfortable doing. However, there are steps drivers can take to reduce crash risks when merging and changing lanes.
For instance, drivers may:
- Consider signaling to let other drivers know you are about to change lanes
- Check traffic in the next lane and the lane over to ensure it is safe to proceed
- Look for traffic behind you to make sure they see you are changing lanes
- Check your blind spots for vehicles
If you are in a lane that another driver is moving into you can help prevent a crash by:
- Switching lanes to allow more room for merging traffic, if it is safe to do so
- Maintaining a safe distance to allow others into your lane of traffic
- Not speeding up when you see another vehicle trying to enter your lane
Injured in a Lane-Change Crash? Call Our Firm for Legal Help
After being injured in a crash, many injured victims may be unsure what to do first. Having an experienced attorney handle your case can make it easier for you to focus on your health and your family.
At Goldberg Finnegan, no client is ever just another crash victim. We are committed to helping you get the compensation you need to help you recover from your losses.
There are deadlines for filing your claim, so we encourage you to seek legal help as soon as your injuries are stabilized. It is never too soon to seek legal help.
Our firm has extensive experience handling car crash claims, and we have recovered more than $130 million for our clients.
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