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Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident When Changing Lanes?

March 25, 2020

While changing lanes may seem like a fairly routine thing to do, this simple action can lead to serious accidents. Whether a person is changing lanes at lower speeds on a regular road or higher speeds on a highway, there can be serious injuries and property damage if a crash occurs. According to the Kentucky Department of Transportation, there were more than 158,000 total car accidents reported during the latest reporting year across the state. While there are no exact statistics on how many of those incidents involved lane changing accidents, we do know that this type of crash injures many people each year.

Who Could Be at Fault for a Lane Changing Accident?

There could be various parties at fault for lane changing accident. This can include:

  • The driver changing lanes: This would be the most straightforward lane changing accident and would involve one vehicle in a lane and another vehicle merging into that lane. Liability for this type of collision would likely fall onto the driver that was changing lanes. If the merging driver did not make the lane change safely, then they would most likely be held liable. There are various reasons that a merging driver could be negligent in a lane change incident:
    • Failing to wait until the lane is clear
    • Not signaling intention to change lanes
    • Failing to check blind spots
    • Merging into another vehicle
    • Causing a sideswipe incident
    • Not leaving enough distance between vehicles in the new lane
  • A distracted driver: Distracted driving is dangerous for everyone on the roadway, and it can cause serious lane changing accidents. Whether a distracted driver is the one making the lane change or in the lane a driver wants to merge into, they may be liable for some of all of a lane changing crash.
  • Both drivers: It may be the case that more than one driver is at fault for a lane changing accident, especially if both drivers were attempting to merge or change lanes at the same time. Instead of placing all of the liability on one driver, the police or insurance carriers may say that both parties bear responsibility. In these cases, the amount of fault each driver has for the incident will need to be determined in order to properly calculate how much compensation will be awarded to the parties involved.

All drivers owe a duty of care to others on the roadway around them. If they are negligent and breach their duty of care, they could cause harm to others. The goal of an injured party will be to show that they were harmed due to a negligent driver’s breach of duty.

Common Injuries in a Lane Changing Accident

Just like any other car accident, anybody involved could sustain serious injuries. The Kentucky DOT says that there were 33,914 total car accident injuries in the latest reporting year across the state. While many car accident injuries are minor, it is not uncommon to see the following injuries after a lane changing crash:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions

Each of these injuries will require the victim to seek medical attention. In some cases, a lane changing crash in Kentucky can lead to a victim missing work and losing valuable income. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, speak with a Lexington car accident lawyer today during a free personal injury consultation.