Who Is at Fault in a Lane-Change Accident?

Two cars accident from lane changing.

Two cars accident from lane changing.If you were hurt in a car accident in Georgia and want to recover compensation for your injuries, you’ll need to establish why another driver is legally responsible for your injuries. For example, proving fault is likely relatively easy if the other driver ran a stop sign and plowed into you. But not all car accidents are quite that simple.

For example, who’s at fault for a lane-change accident? These crashes usually happen quickly and at high speeds, making it challenging to identify who’s responsible for the accident. If you’re found partially or fully liable for the accident, it could significantly impact the compensation you recover.

You can demand fair compensation for your injuries after a lane-change accident in Georgia with the help of the car accident lawyers at Butler Kahn. We are prepared to discuss your case with you and offer our opinion about your legal options. Reach out to us when you’re ready to talk to a lawyer.

Who Is At Fault in a Lane-Change Accident?

In most cases, the driver changing lanes is responsible for a resulting collision. Georgia law prohibits drivers from changing lanes unless it’s safe. Drivers who violate this law can be liable for resulting accidents. However, they aren’t necessarily always the ones at fault.

Who Is at Fault If Someone Merges into You?

For lane-change accidents and car crashes in general, the key thing to remember is that fault is based on negligence. In other words, the at-fault party is the one who had a duty to keep the injured driver safe and somehow failed in that duty. Every driver owes this duty to every other driver on the road.

If an accident occurs when one driver attempts to merge into traffic, the merging driver is often at fault. Whenever a driver is merging into traffic from a ramp or changing lanes, they are responsible for checking their mirrors and blind spots to see whether it’s safe to move into the new traffic lane before merging. If they fail to take proper care, a merging driver may collide with another vehicle, leading to a serious accident.

A merging driver could cause an accident by:

  • Not checking their side-view and rear-view mirrors before merging
  • Failing to check their blind spots before merging
  • Failing to match the speed of their vehicle to the speed of traffic in the lane into which they’re moving
  • Failing to use a turn signal properly when attempting to merge
  • Talking on the phone or reading a text message when trying to merge

By not following the rules of the road and failing to take proper precautions before merging into traffic, the driver failed in their responsibility toward other drivers and could be found liable for the accident.

That said, you’ll still need strong evidence to back up your claim before you can recover any compensation from the merging driver and their insurer. A Georgia lane-change accident lawyer can help you get the necessary evidence.

Who Is at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

It can be challenging to determine liability for sideswipe accidents. In many cases, both cars are moving, and these accidents often happen at high speeds, leaving drivers little time to react.

However, one driver usually bears all or most of the responsibility for a sideswipe accident. It’s key to examine the evidence to identify which driver acted negligently and caused the collision.

Some examples of negligence that could cause a sideswipe accident include:

  • A driver changing lanes without checking their rear-view and side-view mirrors
  • A driver changing lanes without checking their blind spots
  • A driver changing lanes without using their turn signal
  • A driver changing lanes without matching traffic speed (for example, moving too fast or too slow compared to traffic)
  • A driver cutting off another vehicle while changing lanes
  • A driver changing lanes while distracted by their phone or something else

A driver who engages in any of these behaviors and causes an accident failed to take proper precautions before attempting to change lanes. This means that they were negligent and likely can be held financially responsible for any injuries they caused.

Is the Driver Who Changed Lanes Always at Fault?

While the driver who changed lanes is often at fault for lane-change or sideswipe accidents, that’s not always the case. Fault must take into account the actions of both drivers leading up to the crash. In some cases, the driver who was not changing lanes could be partly responsible.

Some ways in which the driver who did not change lanes could be responsible for a crash include:

  • Speeding to prevent the other driver from entering traffic
  • Slowing to block the other driver from merging
  • Tailgating a vehicle to prevent another driver from merging
  • Failing to adjust their speed to allow a merging driver into traffic after the merging driver signaled their intention
  • “Brake checking” or slamming on the brakes to aggravate the merging driver

How Do You Determine Who Is at Fault for a Lane-Change Accident?

When two drivers’ accounts of an accident differ, other evidence is necessary to determine liability for the accident.

Some types of evidence used to determine lane-change accident fault could include:

  • Statements by all the drivers involved in the crash
  • Police accident reports
  • Photos from the accident scene
  • Dashcam or other video footage of the accident
  • Medical records
  • Accounts from eyewitnesses
  • Reports from forensic accident reconstruction teams

You can recover compensation for your injuries after a lane-change crash even if you’re found partially liable for the collision. As long as you are less than 50 percent responsible for the collision, you are still eligible to seek compensation for your injuries. In this situation, your payment would be reduced by your percentage of fault.

How Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers Can Help

Lane-change accidents can lead to severe injuries, expensive medical bills, and long-lasting pain and mental anguish. For this reason, it’s imperative to get help from an Atlanta car accident lawyer if you’re injured in one of these accidents. We can help you demand the money you need to put your life back together.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Butler Kahn are ready to help as soon as you contact us. While you focus on recovering from your ordeal, we can investigate the accident and gather evidence to determine who is liable for your injuries. Once enough evidence has been collected and your injuries are fully documented, we can negotiate with the other driver’s insurer for a fair and full settlement. If they refuse to agree to what’s fair, we’ll be fully prepared to bring your case to court.

Our team is ready to speak to you at your earliest convenience. Contact us for a free initial consultation.

Picture of Jeb Butler
Jeb Butler’s career as a Georgia trial lawyer has led to a $150 million verdict in a product liability case against Chrysler for a dangerous vehicle design that caused the death of a child, a $45 million settlement for a young man who permanently lost the ability to walk and talk, and numerous other verdicts and settlements, many of which are confidential at the defendant’s insistence. Jeb has worked on several cases that led to systemic changes and improvements in public safety. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Georgia SuperLawyer and ranks among Georgia’s legal elite. Jeb graduated in the top 10% of his class at UGA Law, argued on the National Moot Court team, and published in the Law Review. He is the founding partner of Butler Kahn law firm. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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