Who Is Liable in a Traffic Merging Accident?

Merging accidents are all too common in Alabama. They’re also extremely dangerous and often deadly. The vehicles often sideswipe each other, and the force can cause certain cars to flip over. Often, multi-vehicle accidents happen as nearby cars collide with the merging vehicles or crash into other vehicles and objects as they attempt to avoid the original collision.

How merging accidents happen

Most merging accidents can be broken down into one of the following:

  • Cars merging from two lanes into a single lane, such as when there is construction in one lane
  • A car merging into traffic from an on-ramp
  • Cars that move between lanes without using their blinkers
  • Cars attempting to pass slower-moving vehicles

Merging accidents happen because drivers:

  • Don’t understand who has the right of way
  • Are driving aggressively
  • Are distracted
  • Are in areas with low lighting or visibility
  • Cannot see other vehicles in their blind spots

Merging accidents can cause death, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, permanent disabilities, and injuries that take a long time to heal.

Liability for merging accidents

Generally, the driver who is merging/moving into another lane is responsible for merging safely, and is more likely to be held liable for a collision. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the person maintaining his or her lane is liable: for example, if you see another driver attempting to merge and you speed up to block that driver from entering, you may be liable for the crash. When both drivers move into a middle lane at the same time, liability is often determined by the position and speed of the vehicles at the time of the merge.

A quick note about contributory negligence in Alabama

Most states allow driver A to sue driver B for negligence even if driver A is partially at fault. Recoveries are reduced by the amount of A’s fault. Alabama has a harsher law. If driver B is 99% at fault and driver A is just 1% at fault, driver A cannot recover any damage. In merging accident cases, defense lawyers will work aggressively to show the plaintiff did something/anything wrong – to defeat the entire claim. That’s why it’s critical merging accident victims work with experienced car accident lawyers.

Some of the safety tips drivers should use to reduce the odds of a merging accident are:

  • Merge gradually and slowly
  • Don’t tailgate because if a car merges in front of you, you’ll need time to stop
  • Use your turn signals. Drivers who merge into another lane should signal their intent and not just assume other drivers know what lane the merging drivers is trying to get into.

If you were hurt in a merging accident, or if your loved one was killed, call the Alabama car accident lawyers at Mezrano Law Firm today. You can reach us at 205-206-6300 or by filling out our contact form. We fight aggressively for all car accident victims. You can meet us in any of our offices located in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Montgomery, Florence, and Gadsden.

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