Lane Change Crashes and Who May Be at Fault
When drivers travel on freeways, the risk of being involved in a high-speed collision increases. Understanding right-of-way laws for merging and changing lanes is one thing you can do to help you avoid an accident. Learn who has the right of way in Wisconsin and who may be liable when lane change crashes occur.
When injured victims hire PKSD, they know they are getting a trusted law firm with a history of proven results. Our Milwaukee car crash attorneys have extensive experience and are dedicated to helping accident victims seek maximum compensation.
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What is a Lane Change Crash?
A lane change crash happens when one vehicle moves into another lane of traffic and collides with another vehicle. This type of collision can happen when drivers:
- Change lanes suddenly without properly using a turn signal to alert other drivers
- Maneuver their vehicle across multiple traffic lanes at once, with or without signaling
- Fail to yield the right of way and recklessly cut off other vehicles while merging into their lane of traffic
- Merge too slowly or too fast from an on-ramp – inexperienced or reckless drivers often do this
- Misjudge either the distance or speed of traffic in the lane they are merging into
- Merge into a lane of traffic at the same time another vehicle is merging into that same lane
Who May Be Liable for a Lane Change Crash in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin has specific laws about overtaking traffic on the left or driving in the left lane of a multi-laned road. Following traffic laws for driving on laned roadways in Wisconsin can help you to avoid a lane change crash.
That said, if a collision does happen while a driver is merging or changing lanes, he or she is almost always deemed liable. This is because before drivers enter the highway or move into another lane of traffic they must:
- Yield the right of way to all traffic already on the highway or in the lane of traffic they want to enter
- Allow sufficient distance and time to alert traffic – before entering the lane – by signaling
- Ensure the lane they are moving into is clear from approaching traffic or other merging vehicles
- Approaching traffic is far enough away to allow time to safely signal and merge into that lane
In some cases, more than one driver may be liable for any damages resulting from the crash. For instance, if two drivers attempt to merge into the same lane of traffic at the same time.
Sometimes, the merging driver may not be liable for a lane change crash. For example, if it was safe to move into a lane of traffic, but a driver in that lane purposely sped up and hit your car. In that scenario, the driver in that merge lane may be found at fault for the crash. Sometimes aggressive drivers may try to cause a crash on purpose, especially if they thought the merging driver was trying to cut them off.
How Fault May Be Determined in a Lane Change Crash
Typically when vehicles are involved in a lane change crash, it happens at high speed. Unfortunately, this often results in severe or fatal injuries. It may also be harder to determine the at-fault party or parties in this type of collision. The high-speed nature of a lane change crash may cause vehicles to be pushed into odd positions. This can make it harder to figure out what happened and who was at fault.
What May Help Determine Liability
While determining liability for a lane change crash can be challenging, it is not impossible. Some evidence that may help includes:
- Credible witnesses
- Dash cam footage from one or more vehicles involved
- Nearby traffic cams, if available
- Police report containing observations from first responders
- Damages sustained by all involved vehicles
- Involving an accident reconstruction specialist
If you have been involved in a lane change crash caused by another’s negligence, it may be in your best interest to seek legal help. An experienced attorney will know how to investigate your incident thoroughly and gather evidence that supports your claim.
Call PKSD for Legal Help After a Lane Change Crash That Leaves You Injured
At PKSD, we are ready to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. We are committed to helping crash victims injured by the negligence of other careless, inattentive or reckless drivers. Our firm has decades of experience, and we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients.
Contact our firm as soon after your crash as possible to help you avoid making mistakes that could damage your potential claim. We are prepared to answer your legal questions and discuss what options you may have for seeking compensation.
There is no risk or cost to you in meeting with one of our qualified attorneys in a free consultation. Call today to get started. Our firm is always available to take your call. There are no upfront costs to hire our services or while we work on your case. We do not get paid unless we obtain compensation for your damages.
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