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Who’s at Fault for a Car Accident While Changing Lanes?

Unsafe lane changes are some of the most common causes of car accidents in Alabama. It is every driver’s responsibility to wait to change lanes until it is safe and prudent to do so. Too many drivers, however, change lanes without looking in their mirrors, while speeding or while distracted. Making an unsafe lane change could cause a car accident such as a sideswipe, rear-end collision, underride accident or rollover accident. If you get into a lane change accident, it is important to identify who will be at fault. Only then may you proceed with an insurance claim under Alabama’s fault-based insurance laws.

The Other Driver

Many lane-change accidents occur because one of the drivers involved was making an unsafe driving choice. Dangerous driver behaviors such as texting and driving, driving drunk, driving distracted, speeding or weaving between traffic could easily cause a lane-change accident. If one driver involved in the accident was guilty of a poor driving choice, that driver could be financially responsible for the resultant collision and related damages.

In Alabama, fault insurance laws determine how drivers involved in accidents may demand compensation for their injuries. Fault laws state that the party at fault for the collision will have to pay for victims’ damages, including medical bills and vehicle repairs. Determining which driver was at fault for a serious or fatal car accident while changing lanes may take an investigation of events leading up to the collision. The police, an insurance company and/or a law firm may investigate the crash to identify fault for the plaintiff.

Proving the fault of a negligent or careless driver in your car accident case may take gathering evidence such as videos of the crash, photographs from the scene, eyewitness accounts, police reports and testimony from crash experts. It may also be necessary to re-create the crash using crash reconstruction technology for a complicated lane-change accident case. If you need to prove the fault of another driver during your lane-change accident claim, hire a law firm to help you collect evidence and build your case.

A Company: Vicarious Liability

If the other driver was on the clock at the time of the lane-change accident, the company the driver worked for could be vicariously liable for your damages. If a truck driver negligently causes an accident while changing lanes, for example, the trucking company could be responsible for damages the truck driver caused. Federal laws make all employers vicariously liable for the actions of their employees, including hired drivers. These rules could apply to car accident cases involving mail carriers, food delivery drivers, government employees, police officers, bus drivers and rideshare drivers.

Shared Fault

Alabama is not a state that allows shared fault between two or more parties. Alabama’s strict contributory negligence law states that any amount of fault – even 1% – will ban that party from recovering any compensation for the collision. If the other driver tries to allege that you were partially at fault for the lane-change accident, therefore, you could lose any opportunity you may have had to obtain financial recovery. It is important to have a lawyer represent you during a lane-change accident case for this reason. A Birmingham personal injury lawyer could help you prove the other driver’s fault rather than absorbing liability for the accident yourself.

Changing lanes can be a dangerous maneuver if one or both parties do not take care to execute it safely. Both drivers have a responsibility to check their mirrors, look over their shoulders for vehicles in their blind spots, turn their turn signals on, and change lanes slowly and safely. Failing in any of these driver duties while changing lanes, resulting in a preventable car accident, could lead to liability for damages. If you need assistance proving someone else’s fault for a lane-change accident in Alabama, retain a Birmingham car accident lawyer for representation. A lawyer could help you achieve a damage award from the at-fault party for your medical expenses, vehicle repairs, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.