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Who Is At Fault In A Car Accident Changing Lanes?

Who Is At Fault In A Car Accident Changing Lanes?

iLawyer October 23, 2020 Car Accidents

Vehicle accidents occur in a variety of ways, often when a person is changing lanes. Lane changing accidents, as with other types of vehicle collisions, can present significant challenges when it comes to securing compensation. This is particularly true when working to determine liability. That’s why it’s extremely helpful to have an experienced car accident lawyer by your side.

Here, we want to discuss who is at fault in a car accident when one or more drivers were changing lanes when the incident occurred. In these cases, the evidence is crucial, but not always definitive when it comes to determining liability.

Assigning Fault in a Car Accident Involving Changing Lanes

There are various ways that lane change accidents occur. Usually, accidents involving vehicles changing lanes are the result of an unsafe lane change. Some examples of hazardous lane changes include the following:

  • A driver changing lanes without making sure there are no cars next to them or no cars coming towards them if they are passing a vehicle.
  • A driver failing to signal before changing lanes or failing to check their mirrors.
  • Driving in the middle of two lanes for an extended period.

Determining fault in the aftermath of a lane change accident can be difficult. Victims of lane change accidents will need to rely on various types of evidence to prove the fault of the other driver.

  • The victim in the crash will need to show that they were in the lane that the other driver attempted to merge into when the accident occurred. The driver already in the lane is very rarely going to be at fault for the incident.
  • It may be necessary to speak to eyewitnesses to the crash to determine liability. This can include other drivers and passengers in vehicles near the crash or bystanders nearby who saw the incident.
  • There may be video surveillance available from nearby businesses or homes that captured the lane change accident on film.
  • The police report will usually contain the officer’s initial investigation and assignment of liability.
  • Lane change accidents are often caused by drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs, so any evidence of impairment, such as a field sobriety test or blood alcohol content test, may be used to determine liability.
  • If a lane change accident was caused by a distracted driver, it may be necessary to obtain phone and data records to show evidence of distraction.

If both drivers were changing lanes when an accident occurred, then it will be necessary to turn to Arizona’s comparative negligence laws when working to determine the compensation amount for the claim.

How to Determine the Right of Way

The general rule is that the car already in a lane that someone is trying to merge into has the right of way. In nearly every circumstance, drivers wish to change lanes must yield the right of way to drivers in the lane they are trying to get into. This includes traffic in two or more lanes moving in the same direction as well as traffic in a lane merging into another lane from another roadway.

If a driver needs to change lanes into oncoming traffic in order to pass a slower vehicle in front of them, it is up to the passing driver to ensure that there is no oncoming traffic or that the traffic is far enough away to safely conduct the pass. Vehicles in the oncoming lane have the right of way in this situation.

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