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Who Is At Fault In A Changing Lane Accident In Indiana?

People have an obligation to drive safely while on the road. Failing to drive safely can lead to vehicular accidents that can result in severe injuries or even death. Drivers owe a duty of care to others, meaning they need to adhere to the law and do their due diligence to keep others safe, and this includes when changing lanes.

According to an Indiana University Public Policy Institute report, there were over 5,300 crashes caused by lane changes in Indiana in 2018 alone, nine of which were fatal. Failing to take precautions while changing lanes is illegal and highly dangerous, and you could be found at fault if you acted negligently while merging. Although car accidents involving merging are often straightforward, some accidents require closer inspection to determine fault. As an Indiana driver, you need to be aware of the factors that play into determining negligence in a changing lane car accident.

Determining Fault in Lane Change Accident

Various considerations determine negligence in a changing lane accident. The driver who is changing lanes needs to take certain precautions when merging or else they’ll be found at fault for the wreck. When changing lanes you need to:

  • Consider the proper distance from vehicles to avoid a collision.
  • Check your mirrors and blind spot.
  • Use traffic signals.
  • Yield to vehicles in the lane into which you’re merging.
  • Refrain from swerving suddenly or unexpectedly.
  • Have your attention fully on the road. Don’t merge while being distracted by your GPS, radio, or anything else.
  • Avoid changing lanes when your view is obstructed by a hill or other hindrance to your vision.
  • Refrain from changing lanes when it’s illegal. Areas in which merging is prohibited are usually marked with signs or double solid yellow lines.
  • Consider the road conditions and weather. If you’re driving through heavy rain or on icy roads, you should practice extra caution when changing lanes.

When someone fails to follow the law or practice reasonable duty of care, they’ll be found negligent. If you were struck by a merging vehicle and the driver was found to be negligent, you can receive compensation for property damage and personal injuries.

Can Both Parties Be at Fault in a Lane Change Accident?

The majority of changing lane accidents result from the negligence of the person merging, but there are cases in which liability can be shared between the driver merging and the person they hit. If the driver who merged practiced caution and adhered to the rules of the road, the other person may be found partially at fault if they broke a traffic law. For example, if the person that was hit by the merging vehicle was speeding or breaking another traffic law, both the merger and the person in the other lane could share fault.

Indiana uses a 51% fault system, meaning that a person can receive compensation from another driver even if they were found to be partially at fault. If you were in the process of merging safely but a driver suddenly sped up to prohibit you from merging, you could both be found at fault, but the driver you hit may be found to be 70% responsible. Although you share 30% of the blame, you may still be able to receive damages from the other driver.

In order to receive compensation from the other driver involved in a changing lane accident, you need to share less of the blame than the other person. The amount of damages you can receive depends on your percentage of the blame. For example, you would receive more if you shared 15% of the blame than if you shared 40%.

Hire an Indiana Personal Lawyer

If you or a loved one were injured in a changing lane accident, you need to receive the compensation you deserve for vehicle damages, personal injuries, lost wages, and more. In addition to your personal injury case, you also need to deal with insurance companies that will look for opportunities to deny you the coverage you deserve. You need a team of lawyers on your side to help you handle insurance companies and your personal injury case. Here at Crossen Law Firm, we’ve helped numerous individuals get the money they deserve, and we can help you, too. Call us at (317) 401-8626 or contact us here for a no-risk, free consultation. If you decide to hire us, you won’t pay anything until you win your personal injury case or receive a settlement.

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