Who is At Fault for a Car Accident When Vehicles are Merging/Changing Lanes?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents May 22, 2020

merging or lane change accidents Merging onto a highway or changing lanes on a busy street can be dangerous. Drivers may speed up or fail to use their turn signals when approaching multiple lanes of traffic or moving from one lane to another. These actions have the potential to cause an accident resulting in serious injuries and property damage for victims sharing the road.

Our Maryland car accident lawyers discuss why these accidents often happen and how fault is determined in these cases. If you need help after a crash, request a free consultation to get started. 

Common Causes of Merging/Lane Change Accidents

A merging or lane change accident can happen for several reasons. The driver may misjudge the amount of space available between vehicles or the nearest vehicle to enter the lane. This can also happen when a driver does not merge his or her vehicle safely onto a roadway from a stop or yield position, resulting in the driver hitting another vehicle.

Other common causes of merging or lane change accidents include:

  • Merging too quickly or slowly when entering the highway
  • Changing lanes without using a turn signal
  • Crossing multiple lanes of traffic, all at once
  • Cutting off other vehicles to merge or change lanes

These accidents could result in a wide range of injuries, such as:

  • Cuts and bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Whiplash
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

Determining Liability

In most situations, the driver who merges or changes lanes is generally found at fault in the event of an accident. The driver must yield the right-of-way to oncoming vehicles. If the driver fails to drive at the correct speed or crashes into a vehicle that is already traveling in the traffic lane, he or she can be found legally liable for any resulting injuries and property damage. However, some exceptions could exist.   

For instance, perhaps an aggressive driver intentionally hit the driver who was merging because he or she thought the driver was cutting him or her off. A driver may be changing lanes at the exact time that another vehicle is merging into the same lane. Other exceptions include drivers who are speeding, driving while distracted or driving while intoxicated. Two or more drivers may be at fault in these cases.

Since every merging and lane change accident is different, it is important to have your situation reviewed by a licensed car accident lawyer. He or she will be able to help determine cause and liability.

Preventing Merging/Lane Change Accidents

Merging or lane change accidents can be prevented if drivers follow traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a safe manner while sharing the road. To help reduce your risk of a crash, be sure to:

  • Keep a safe distance – Avoid tailgating other vehicles and leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you so that drivers can safely merge or change lanes. If drivers are merging into your lane, try to switch lanes if you can.
  • Use turn signals – Always indicate your intent to merge or change lanes and give drivers enough time to see that you are signaling and make adjustments before making a move.
  • Merge or change lanes gradually – Avoid sudden movements when merging or changing lanes that can catch other drivers off-guard and cause them to overreact.

Get in Touch With Our Firm Today

If you have suffered injuries due to a merging or lane change accident or another type of crash caused by another party, our lawyers at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl are here to help. We are prepared to investigate your accident and fight on your behalf to pursue the compensation you need.

Our consultations are free and there are no upfront fees to retain our services. Our firm only receives payment if we are successful in obtaining compensation through a verdict or settlement.

Call us anytime over the phone at 410-244-7005 or online.  

Contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation if you have been injured by another’s negligence. You may be entitled to compensation.



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