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Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident Due to Changing Lanes?

Posted in Car Accidents on September 11, 2019

Car accidents are common occurrences on California roads, with many different types of collisions occurring each day. You can establish clear liability in some accidents, while others may require additional investigation by an attorney. One type of accident that can be difficult to investigate are lane change accidents. Typically, the driver who did not obey the right of way is liable in these situations.

What Is a Changing Lanes Car Accident?

When you are driving, you often switch lanes to make your correct turn, to pass a slow car ahead of you, or to prepare for an upcoming exit. You must be vigilant to ensure that you can safely change lanes, especially if there are other drivers on the road.

However, not all drivers take these precautions when making a lane change, leading to a car accident. Changing lanes accidents occur when one driver collides into another while making a lane change. They can occur for a number of reasons, including low visibility, aggressive driving, and failure to check a blind spot. If you are in an accident with a driver who makes a lane change without performing his or her due diligence, he or she could be liable for any injuries or damages you suffer.

California Car Accident Liability Laws

Under California state law, the at-fault driver involved in a car accident is responsible for paying for the damages suffered in accidents he or she causes. You can establish liability in a car accident insurance claim or lawsuit by proving these four elements.

  • First, you will need to prove that the at-fault driver in your claim owed you a duty of care on the road. Drivers owe each other a duty to drive safely and follow traffic laws.
  • Next, you will need to prove that the at-fault driver breached his or her duty of care to you. Failure to obey the right of way or posted traffic signs and signals can constitute this breach.
  • Then, you will need to prove that the at-fault driver’s breach of care led to the injuries and losses you suffered in the accident.
  • Finally, you will need to prove that you can claim compensation for your damages through your lawsuit or insurance claim.

Determining liability in a changing lane accident case will involve many different pieces of evidence, from surveillance footage to witness testimony. Hiring an attorney to assist you with your claim can help you build a compelling case.

California’s Comparative Negligence Rule

Lane change accidents can be difficult to litigate because of the question of liability. While the other driver in your case could hold a share of the blame, the courts will likely investigate if you played a role in the accident as well. For example, if you were speeding and the other driver changed lanes ahead of you, you could hold a portion of liability.

California follows a comparative negligence rule in situations like these. According to this rule, the court will reduce your settlement amount by your share of fault if they find you to be partially liable for the accident.

For example, let’s say you are in an accident with a driver who changed lanes ahead of you. You claim compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, and the court awards you a settlement of $100,000.

However, the accident occurred at night and the court discovers you did not have your headlights on at the time, which decreased your visibility to the other driver. The court finds that you are 40% responsible for the accident. As a result, you will only receive $60,000 out of your settlement.

Determining liability in a changing lanes accident can be very complicated. To protect your best interests and to gain access to investigatory resources, contact a car accident attorney to assist you with your case. Your attorney can advise you on your best course of action and the evidence you will need to prove your claim.