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Who is At-Fault in a Car Accident When Changing Lanes?

October 30, 2021

Lane changes are one of the most common things that individuals do when they are on the roads in Kentucky. For most drivers, changing lanes is second nature. However, lane change accidents do occur. Unfortunately, determining liability after a crash involving a lane change can be challenging. Here, we want to discuss who may be at fault for a lane change accident in Kentucky.

Fault for a Kentucky Lane Change Accident

Even though lane changes are fairly routine for drivers in Kentucky, they also present significant risks, particularly if a lane change occurs at higher speeds. When a lane change accident occurs, determining liability can be challenging because these incidents often devolve into every driver putting forward different stories about what happened.

Anytime a driver needs to change lanes, they are responsible for yielding the right of way to other traffic until the other lane is clear. Drivers should activate their turn signals in the direction that they want to change lanes to because this gives every other driver in the vicinity an opportunity to see what is happening and make adjustments as needed. Drivers who need to change lanes should also check their mirrors and manually check their blind spots before completing their lane change.

There are various ways that a driver in Kentucky could be at fault for a lane change accident. This can include a driver:

  • Failing to activate their turn signals before changing lanes
  • Failing to manually check blind spots or mirrors before changing lanes
  • Crossing multiple lanes of traffic without pausing in each lane before continuing

Anytime a driver changes lanes into a new lane of traffic and collides with another vehicle, fault will almost always fall to the driver who changed lanes. However, it is not uncommon for more than one driver to be responsible for a lane change crash. There are various ways that shared fault could occur in these situations, including incidents when:

  • Two vehicles change lanes into the same lane at the same time. This typically only occurs if there are three or more lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
  • The driver of the vehicle already inside of the desired lane was operating while impaired, distracted, or too fast for conditions.
  • The driver inside the lane was operating a vehicle without headlights or brake lights.
  • One driver rear-ends another vehicle that just changed lanes.

What About Merging From One Road to Another Road?

When a driver needs to merge onto a new roadway, this will usually involve a type of lane change. For example, drivers who need to go from a regular city road onto a highway or vice versa will usually have to merge into existing lanes of traffic, which means a lane change.

In these situations, any driver wishing to merge to the new type of roadway is responsible for yielding the right of way to traffic already on the desired road/lane. When a driver wants to merge from one type of roadway to the other, they must activate their turn signal and wait for an opening in oncoming traffic. This sometimes means that drivers have to come to a complete stop to wait for a traffic clearing.

Speak to an Attorney About Your Claim

If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident involving a lane change, you need to speak to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. A Kentucky car accident lawyer can use their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the claim, determine liability, and help their client recover maximum compensation for their losses.