Who is at Fault for an Accident While Changing Lanes in Pennsylvania?
When driving the roads and highways of Pennsylvania, many people are careful and vigilant. However, no matter how safely you drive, accidents sometimes occur that are outside of your control. One common cause of crashes is unsafe or careless lane changes. Depending on the severity of the accident, you could be facing significant medical bills, lost income, or other permanent injuries. If you did not cause the accident, you are entitled to seek financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, determining fault in an accident caused by changing lanes is challenging. Below, our Philadelphia car accident attorney from the Reiff Law Firm looks at these particularly troubling cases.
Common Causes of Lane Change Accidents in Pennsylvania
When people are driving closely together and on multi-lane highways or roads, an unsafe lane change could result in a devastating collision. In many cases, when these types of accidents occur, there is little you can do to avoid them. There are many different reasons lane change accidents happen in Pennsylvania. The underlying cause will impact determining fault.
In many cases, an accident is the result of negligent or reckless driving. If a driver is texting or fails to check their mirrors before switching lanes, they could crash into an unseen vehicle.
Furthermore, when a driver is not paying attention to traffic patterns or the environment, they might be forced to quickly change lanes to avoid a collision with another car or object. In these situations, the negligent driver does not have the time to verify that the adjacent lane is clear.
Poor driving conditions also contribute to lane change accidents. Heavy rain or snow decreases visibility and if a driver does not exhibit additional caution, an accident is likely.
Drug use and alcohol consumption are other common causes of automotive vehicle accidents. It is not uncommon for someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol to erratically swerve or drift between lanes. This is also a serious problem with tired drivers.
Determining how an accident occurred is part of the process of figuring out who was responsible. Our Pennsylvania fatal car crash lawyer will often have to hire an engineer or expert investigator to piece the puzzle pieces of an accident together. In other cases, a toxicology report could be compelling evidence that another driver was at fault.
Liability for a Lane Change Accident in Pennsylvania
Whenever a driver causes an accident because they were driving recklessly or improperly changed lanes, they could be held responsible for the resulting injuries and damages. Changing lanes is a common maneuver on Pennsylvania roads. However, that does not mean that a driver should change lanes without exercising a reasonable amount of caution.
There are situations when accidents are just accidents and products of an unavoidable chain of unfortunate events. Nonetheless, there are many instances when a driver will unsafely change lanes. For example, someone could switch lanes without properly signaling or turn their turn signal on after they have begun the maneuver.
To hold a driver liable for a lane change accident, our Pennsylvania car accident attorney will have to prove four factors: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty of Care
The legal responsibility someone has not to cause another harm is known duty of care. Any driver in Pennsylvania must exercise a reasonable amount of care so they do not injure other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. In terms of lane change accidents, this means a driver should activate their turn signal, check their mirrors, yield to traffic with the right-of-way, and be paying full attention to the task at hand.
Breach of Duty
When a driver fails to adhere or comply with these or other reasonable measures, they could be violating their obligation to others on the road. This is known as a breach of the duty of care. To prove liability, our Reading, PA car accident attorney will have to prove that the driver’s conduct digressed from what a reasonable person would have done.
Holding a person liable for a lane change accident requires proving that their conduct caused the crash. This will often depend on witness testimony or the physical evidence at the accident scene.
Finally, to hold someone financially liable for your injuries and damages, you must have suffered injuries and damages. If you were lucky enough to walk away from an accident without a scratch, you might not have the grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you were hurt, saw a doctor, missed work, or experienced any emotional distress, you have likely sustained quantifiable damages.
Proving Fault After a Pennsylvania Lane Changing Accident
If you want to be awarded compensation for a lane change accident, you will have to prove liability. Above, we discussed the key elements necessary to establish another driver was at fault. Our experienced Upper Darby, PA car accident attorney has various ways to prove that another driver was liable.
Pictures taken at the crash scene are often helpful in determining what occurred. The damage and position of the vehicles will help an investigator reconstruct an accident. In some cases, a local business or home could have surveillance video of the crash. If you hesitate in contacting a Pennsylvania car accident attorney, this value evidence could be lost.
Witness testimony could be invaluable, especially if several witnesses corroborate what occurred. Our office will also look at cell phone records to determine if a driver was distracted at the time of the accident.
Furthermore, our skilled attorneys will gather police reports, toxicology test results, and medical records to help determine fault.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorney if You Were Involved in a Lane Change Crash
Depending on how the accident occurred, it could be challenging to prove that another person was at fault in a lane change crash. You need an experienced Philadelphia negligent driver car accident attorney who has handled these types of complex cases before. Our attorneys and staff at the Reiff Law Firm have the resources necessary to thoroughly investigate a car accident. Contact our office at (215) 709-6940 if you have been involved in a lane change crash. Our consultations are always free.