Which Car Is At Fault When a Lane Change Leads To An Accident?

Protecting Yourself When a Lane Change Accident Happens

After an accident that takes place when one driver is merging or changing lanes, it can be complicated to determine who is at fault. Switching lanes and merging involves multiple fast decisions with several necessary precautions, such as checking your blind spots and using a turn signal. Learn more from your Mesa auto accident injury attorneys about how these types of accidents happen, how you can protect yourself, and which driver may be at fault.

Line of cars on a lane in traffic in Arizona

Lane Change Accidents

It’s no secret that merging accidents cause thousands of injuries in Arizona each year. Every driver has experienced aggressive behavior from other drivers, including dangerous lane changes, following too closely, and intentionally cutting off other vehicles. This type of behavior contributes heavily to lane change accidents.

Who Has the Right Of Way When Changing Lanes?

In most cases, the fault for an accident will be determined by which driver had right of way and which driver failed to follow traffic laws. Insurance adjusters and your Mesa car crash injury lawyers will examine police reports and other evidence to determine which driver is liable. In Arizona, there are two situations to be aware of when driving and determining who is responsible for an accident:

Lane changes: A driver who is driving straight ahead in their lane has right of way. This means that the driver who is changing lanes is responsible for the safety of everyone else around him or her. In most situations, the driver who was changing lanes and subsequently hit another vehicle is considered liable for the accident. However, if the other driver engages in negligent or risky behavior to prevent the lane change, such as speeding up or slowing down to block the first driver’s path, they may be responsible for the accident.

Merging traffic: When traffic merges, such as at an on-ramp on the interstate, or when a driver turns from another road, the drivers who are going straight have the right of way. This means that the merging driver is responsible for checking for other vehicles before merging. If another driver sees someone attempting to merge onto the road, they should move over or slow down whenever possible. Failing to do so could result in liability for the crash.

What Should I Do Before Changing Lanes To Avoid An Accident?

Sometimes, lane change accidents happen because drivers don’t understand how to safely merge or change lanes. These types of accidents can often be prevented if drivers are alert, free of distraction, and exercising caution.

Always follow these traffic laws to reduce the chances of a lane change accident:

  • Use your turn signal to let other drivers know that you are planning to change lanes
  • Carefully check your rearview mirrors and blind spots, while also paying attention to the vehicles in front of you to avoid rear-ending another vehicle
  • Maintain your vehicle’s speed while you change lanes
  • Only change one lane at a time
  • Never change lanes marked by solid lines
  • Never change lanes at an intersection

Determining when it is safe to change lanes is a skill that requires time and experience. You’ll be required to estimate the speed of the vehicles that are ahead of you as well as behind you. When weather conditions are hazardous, always allow extra distance between yourself and another vehicle before you change lanes. Take your time to make the right decision for the safety of yourself, your passengers, and the other drivers around you. If you’re not sure if it’s safe to merge or change lanes, it’s usually best to wait until there is a safer opportunity and you feel more confident.

What Should I Do If I Get In a Lane Change Accident?

If you are struck by another driver or hit another vehicle while changing lanes, there are several things you should do.

If possible, move your vehicle out of the traffic

  • Check on the other driver and passengers
  • Call law enforcement to report the accident and request an ambulance if needed
  • Exchange insurance and contact information with the other drivers 
  • Take pictures of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle, and your injuries, if possible
  • Get contact information from any witnesses, if possible
  • Provide a factual report of the accident to the law enforcement officer
  • Contact an experienced Mesa auto accident injury lawyer as soon as possible

You should not:

  • Admit fault for the accident
  • Leave the scene
  • Fail to contact law enforcement

Your Mesa car crash injury lawyers can help you understand your next steps and your rights while representing you to insurance companies, gathering evidence, and helping you obtain the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.

Consult With An Experienced Car Accident Attorney In Mesa

Don’t try to face your car accident injuries alone! Contact the experienced attorneys at Mesa Injury Lawyers. We will work closely with you to understand what happened, how your injuries are affecting your life, and to find evidence for your claims. Let us guide you through the process of obtaining compensation for your damages, losses, and injuries after a lane change accident in Arizona. Contact our office today to get started.

Mesa Injury Lawyer
1731 West Baseline Road Suite #103
Mesa, AZ 85202

Tel: 602-600-6001
Email: [email protected]
Website: injurylawyersmesa.com