One of the most important questions that needs to be answered in the aftermath of a car accident is: who is responsible? In some cases, liability is easy to determine. For example, when a driver is speeding at 100 mph in a 35 mph zone and loses control, slamming into another vehicle from behind, the fault is pretty obvious. However, in other cases, it is challenging to determine fault. One of these cases involves merging accidents, when two or more vehicles are merging into adjacent lanes and a crash occurs.
Liability of merging drivers
You will likely be found at fault if you change lanes and end up in an accident. Every driver changing lanes is responsible for ensuring his or her maneuver is performed safely. Drivers need to make sure they have enough space to merge into another lane. This involves checking for blind spots and using mirrors and turn signal responsibly before making a lane switch.
There are various reasons why drivers performing merge maneuvers may be found liable for an ensuing accident. These include:
- Failing to use taillights when driving in the dark
- Cutting off another vehicle
- Unsafe hesitation while merging
- Distracted driving while merging
- Failing to look for other vehicles in other lanes while merging
- Merging too fast or too slow
- Driving too fast in poor weather conditions
Generally, the merging driver is at fault when a car accident occurs during the merge maneuver or immediately thereafter. However, each accident has its own set of circumstances. In some cases, another driver other than the merging driver may be at fault because of failure to pay attention due to distracted driving or because of speeding.
Some non-merging drivers may be held liable for the accident if they refuse to allow another vehicle to merge. For instance, tailgating or speeding up or slowing down as another vehicle attempts to merge can cause accidents.
What about when multiple drivers switch lanes?
This type of situation can lead to an accident as well. If multiple vehicles are changing lanes at the same time, then partial fault may be assigned to various parties. For instance, a car in the center lane may attempt to move to an outside lane, while a car in the outside lane attempts to move to the center lane.
Both drivers, in these types of accidents, may bear responsibility. In this case, neither of the drivers had a free right of way to make the maneuver and both had a responsibility to ensure the way was clear before merging. The question of fault in cases like this can be complex, so you never want to admit fault in a crash because it could affect your claim for damages.
At Mezrano Law Firm, our team of Alabama car crash attorneys have the capability to perform a thorough investigation of your accident case. We understand how the insurers and defense attorneys work to keep injured victims from receiving all they are due for their injuries. We are here to fight on your behalf for the financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation, give us a call today at 205.206.6300 or fill out our contact form and send us a message. Our services extend through the state of Alabama from our offices in Mobile, Birmingham, Gadsden, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Florence.