In general, the driver who performed the improper or illegal lane change will be liable for damages. After all, he/she is the driver who broke the rules and caused the crash. However, other parties may share the fault for such an accident, depending on the situation. If the roadway had a poor or unsafe design, for example, the government could at least share partial fault for the collision. Speaking to a car accident attorney is important when determining fault for a lane-change accident in Alabama.
Lane-Change Accident Facts in Alabama
It is every driver’s duty to use caution and reasonable care when operating vehicles on Alabama’s roadways. Failing to check mirrors, merging at an inappropriate speed, weaving through traffic, and cutting other drivers off are all examples of negligence that could cause a devastating lane-change accident. The most common types of lane-change accidents are side swipes, rear-end collisions, off-road accidents, and rollovers.
Like most states, Alabama follows the fault insurance system when it comes to car accident restitution. This means the party who is at fault for causing the accident will be responsible for paying damages, usually through his/her auto insurance company. Determining fault is an important step toward obtaining compensation as a car accident victim. If you’re having trouble assigning fault for a lane-change accident, learn more about this common crash type to support your injury case against another driver.
Improper lane changes are the main cause of car accident in Alabama. In a single year, improper lane changes contributed to 10,869 traffic crashes in Alabama. Forty-one of these accidents were fatal. Failure to yield the right of way contributed to another 21,684 accidents (85 fatal). Improper lane changes occur when one driver doesn’t check for vehicles before switching lanes, merges on top of another vehicle, or changes lanes without giving vehicles in that lane enough time to stop to avoid a collision.
How to Prove Fault in a Lane Change Accident
After you call the other driver’s insurance company to report your accident, the insurer will investigate your case to determine fault. The insurance company will piece together the actions of the driver in the minutes leading up to the crash, and how safe and appropriate those actions were under the circumstances. Factors that may point to driver negligence and fault for the lane-change collision may include:
- Improper speed according to speed limits or weather conditions
- Failure to use turn signals to warn of a lane change
- Broken or nonfunctioning signals/lights
- Use of a cell phone or other driver distraction at the time of the crash
- Failure to have/use rearview mirrors to check if the lane was clear
- Driving aggressively or erratically leading up to the collision
- Ignoring roadway signs
- Violating right-of-way rules or other traffic laws
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driver drowsiness/falling asleep behind the wheel
An investigation of the accident can serve to uncover evidence of the driver’s fault for the lane-change crash. If the other driver is at fault, his/her insurance company will have to pay victims’ damages. However, more than one party could share fault for a single accident. For instance, one vehicle could have made an improper lane change to avoid another driver who was merging on top of him/her. In this case, both drivers could share liability for lack of safe driving.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
Alabama follows unusual contributory negligence car accident laws, which bar a claimant from recovery if an investigation finds him or her just 1% at fault for the collision. Hiring a lawyer can help you prove someone else’s fault for your lane-change accident and improve your odds of securing compensation for medical bills, personal injuries, lost wages, and property damage. Speak to an attorney today for help with your case or call us for a free consultation!