Auto accidents happen all across America every day for a variety of different reasons, most of which can be attributed to driver error. And among the most common kinds of errors are lane-change accidents. These are the types of accidents that occur when a driver carelessly changes lanes without properly checking if it is safe to do so. That can put other drivers in a difficult spot since they may not be able to react in time to the unexpected lane change, which could lead to an accident. In lane-change accidents, it is almost always the driver who initiates the unsafe lane change considered to be at fault for the accident, but there are situations where both the driver who made the lane change and the driver they crashed into can be found to be at fault.
It is important to contact a car accident lawyer if you were in a lane-change accident caused by another driver. The reason is that an attorney could make a big difference when it comes to the amount of compensation you receive. At Bernheim, Kelley, Battista & Bliss LLC we have extensive experience dealing with car accidents of all kinds, so we know how to maximize the possible compensation for our clients. Be sure to get in touch with us if you were in a lane-change accident.
The Reasons For Lane-Change Accidents
There are many reasons why lane-change accidents occur, but they are mainly because the driver who makes the change is not paying attention. That is why the driver who made the lane change is usually the one who is held responsible for the accident; it is incumbent on them to make sure that the lane they are merging into is clear and has enough space to safely accommodate their vehicle. The following are some of the mistakes drivers make when changing lanes that could lead to an accident:
- Not signaling their intent to change lanes
- Not waiting until there is enough space
- Not checking their mirrors
- Changing lanes too suddenly
Any of those actions could leave the driver in the lane with precious little time to react, which could lead to all kinds of accidents. The most common are sideswipe accidents where the side of the vehicle changing lanes brushes up against the vehicle already in the lane. Sideswipe accidents are relatively minor where injuries are concerned, but they could lead to damage to both vehicles, and could also cause one of the vehicles to lose control. Rear-end accidents can be more serious, where the vehicle in the lane has to slam on their brakes because someone suddenly merged in front of them. That could cause the following vehicle to hit the car ahead of them.
Sudden lane changes could also lead to chain reaction accidents where several cars end up crashing into each other. lane-change accidents are often caused by selfish drivers who do not look out for other people on the road, but they could also be caused by drunk, tired, or distracted drivers as well because the people in those conditions could end up accidentally drifting out of their own lane.
Liability in Lane-Change Accidents
In most circumstances, it is the person who makes the unsafe lane change who is deemed to be at fault if an accident occurs because of that lane change. The reason is that it is always the responsibility of the driver who is making the lane change to do so responsibly. They must make sure that there is enough space in the lane to merge their vehicle, they must make sure that there is enough distance between their vehicle and any vehicle in the adjacent lane, and they must use their indicators to show their intent to change lanes. Failure to perform any of these actions is considered to be negligence on the part of the driver, which means that they could be held liable for any accidents that happen because of their unsafe lane change.
However, there can be instances where two vehicles can be at fault for the accident; this can occur when two vehicles attempt to change lanes at the same time. If that happens, then both drivers could be considered to be at fault for the accident. However, it does not mean that either driver cannot get compensation for the accident. That is because Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that if someone is partially responsible for an accident in which they got hurt, they can still receive damages.
However, those damages will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. So if it is determined that they were 25% responsible for the accident, they will receive 75% of what they would have got if they were not at fault at all. The percentage of fault is determined by the courts and the insurance companies, which is why a car accident lawyer is needed in those kinds of cases. At Bernheim, Kelley, Battista & Bliss LLC we always aspire to make sure that our client’s percentage of risk is as low as possible so that they can get the maximum amount of compensation.
Contact Us If You Were in a Lane Change Accident
Most lane-change accidents are straightforward affairs where one driver was clearly in the wrong; others are more contentious because both drivers involved in the accident could be considered to be at fault. In either case, we at Bernheim, Kelley, Battista & Bliss LLC can help the driver who was the victim of the accident.
If the accident was clearly caused by a driver making an unsafe lane change, then we will fight to make sure that the victim gets the compensation they deserve. If the situation is murkier and both drivers are at fault, then we will do our best to argue that our client shared less of the fault and so is deserving of most of the compensation. So contact us if you have been in a lane-change accident and we will use our considerable experience as car accident lawyers to help you.