Who’s at Fault in Lane Change Accidents?

In lane change and merging accidents, some say that the driver who was changing lanes or merging is always at fault. But, determining liability in lane change accidents is not that simple. Proving what really happened and who was to blame can be very difficult. You need the help of a highly skilled car accident attorney who works with experts such as investigators and accident reconstructionists to prove your case to a jury, even if it seems obvious and straightforward to you.

Responsibility for Lane Change Crashes

The driver who is changing lanes has a duty to make sure he can safely do so first. He also needs to signal. State laws vary on signaling requirements, so failure to signal may not yield a citation, but it can still be used as evidence of negligence.

The driver who is making the lane change or merging, typically is to blame, but there are some scenarios in which the other driver is at fault or shares fault. Even though the person changing lanes has the responsibility of making sure it is safe, other drivers still have a responsibility to pay attention and avoid an accident if possible.

Examples of behaviors that can place some or all of the liability for a lane change accident on the driver who was not changing lanes include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving too fast for the conditions
  • Failure to use headlights at night
  • Suddenly speeding up or slowing down as the other vehicle is moving into their lane
  • Intentionally making maneuvers to try to prevent the other car from changing lanes

If you have been injured in a lane change accident, please talk to an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney right away.

Avatar About Sandra Dalton

With a background as a paralegal, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights, Sandra Dalton launched her freelance writing career in 2000 with a weekly column on Freedom for Suite 101 and pro bono projects for individuals and organizations supporting causes close to her heart. One of her first projects was for the Police Compliant Center writing about police misconduct. Sandra’s legal writing quickly expanded to include personal injury, animal welfare, criminal defense, disability discrimination, family law and much more.