Person driving car on road

Who is at Fault in a Lane Change Accident?

By David Hammond

Lane change accidents can occur in a number of ways. A car may turn into a lane with a car already there. A driver may merge into a lane with a vehicle already in it. Alternately, a driver may change lanes into a lane at the same time another vehicle is already located in that precise lane spot. Regardless of what scenario you may find yourself in, a lane change accident can result in significant property damage and serious injury to all involved. As in any accident, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault in a lane change accident. Determining fault in an accident is critical as it is the legal responsibility of the at-fault party to compensate the others who were harmed by their actions. In most cases, it is usually the insurance carrier for the at-fault party who provides this compensation.

Who is at Fault in a Lane Change Accident?

It is important for drivers to be alert and aware of their surroundings. It is important that drivers comply with traffic laws and signal properly when turning, merging, or changing lanes. When drivers are distracted or engaging in negligent driving behaviors, accidents happen and people get hurt. Most lane change accidents are caused by driver inattention. These are drivers that fail to adequately check their blind spots and may even fail to notice the lights and alerts of blind spot monitor technology that often come standard in vehicles this day.

There are also a number of causes, both primary and contributing, of lane change accidents. Some such causes often include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to check mirrors
  • Failure to check blind spots
  • Failure to signal before changing lanes
  •  Driving while intoxicating
  • Broken headlights
  • Broken break lights
  • Speeding
  • Crossing multiple lanes of traffic at once
  • Drivers changing lanes at the same time

In order to determine who is at-fault for the lane change accident, a thorough investigation into the facts and circumstances of the accident will likely need to be conducted. The property damage to the vehicles can be very telling as to what happened in the accident as can the road debris and skid marks. These pieces of physical evidence can often be enough for an accident reconstruction expert to recreate what went on to cause the accident.

Witnesses can also play a critical role in determining who was at-fault for an accident. Witness accounts of the accident can either corroborate or contradict what either driver said happened in the accident. In other words, witnesses can be the tie breakers in a he said, she said situation. If you are ever in an accident, lane change or otherwise, be sure to try and get witness names and contact information as they can often provide compelling evidence. Pictures of the accident scene can also be instructive and helpful in supporting your version of events.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been injured in an accident like a lane change accident, reach out to the trusted personal injury team at CDH Law. We will help you in your fight to pursue monetary compensation for the harm you have suffered. Contact us today.

About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.