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Who is at fault in a lane-change accident?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Lane-change accidents happen often on Maryland roads. Due to the nature of these accidents, determining the at-fault driver can be challenging.

More than 90% of car accidents are due to human error, lane change crashes included. Establishing fault is crucial in determining the party responsible for damages and injuries sustained in the crash.

Determining the cause

According to a recent study conducted by the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences, the majority of lane change accidents occur due to:

  • Distractions and diversions
  • Sudden and unsafe lane changes
  • Lack of awareness or recognition of surroundings, typically in avoiding mirror checks
  • Failure to glance or observe road space in the blind spot
  • Failure to use a turn signal
  • Differences in vehicle speeds

Lane change crashes happen when two cars are in close proximity to one another and collide during a merge or when one car is traveling faster or slower than another. These accidents are typically rear-end collisions or side vehicle crashes due to the point of impact.

Determining fault and liability

Typically, the merging car is at fault in a lane-change collision, as vehicles may only change lanes when it is reasonably safe to do so. However, any driver found driving while intoxicated, distracted or in violation of traffic laws acted negligently and unlawfully, and can maintain liability for the collision.

Statements from witnesses and collision experts, police reports and any relevant surveillance footage or information can also prove fault in a lane-change accident. Because lane-change accidents often result in injuries and fatalities, determining liability is important in order to obtain adequate compensation for damages.