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Who Is At Fault In A Car Accident Changing Lanes In California

March 15, 2022 Car Accidents

Who Is At Fault In A Car Accident Changing Lanes In California

One of the most dangerous maneuvers drivers must perform on the road is changing lanes. When an accident occurs when one vehicle is making a lane change, it can be challenging to determine and prove who was at fault.

Determining Fault in a Changing Lanes Accident

Like any other accident, insurance companies will perform an investigation into who was at fault for a lane-changing accident. However, the driver changing lanes is often the one to blame, but multiple parties may be partially at fault. Drivers have a duty to check their mirrors, and blind spots, ensure a lane is clear before moving into it, and use signals. If a driver fails to do so, they are considered negligent and will be liable for causing a crash while changing lanes. Examples of driver negligence when changing lanes include:

  • Failure to signal when changing lanes.
  • Changing lanes where another vehicle is located
  • Passing in a no-passing zone.
  • Failing to return to the right lane.
  • Preventing another car from passing.
  • Violating any other traffic laws (e.g., speeding)

The location of the damage on your vehicle, the police report, and eyewitness statements can all be critical to proving another driver was at fault for changing lanes. However, there are times when both vehicles are changing lanes and collide with each other. In which case, both parties will share liability.

Shared Fault in California

In California, multiple parties can share fault for an accident under the state’s pure comparative negligence system. An insurance company or the court will assign each party a percentage of fault and reduce their compensation accordingly. For example, if the driver who changed lanes is 80 percent at fault and you are found 20 percent to blame and awarded $100,000, you will only receive 80% of your award, or $80,000. As long as you are less than 100% to blame, you can recover compensation.

Proving Fault in a Changing Lanes Accident

To successfully prove another party is to blame and to hold them accountable for your lane changing accident requires demonstrating the following elements of negligence:

  • The at-fault driver had a duty of care to drive safely and follow the rules of the road.
  • The at-fault driver breached that duty by unsafely changing lanes.
  • The at-fault driver’s violation of care directly caused your accident and injuries.
  • You sustained financial and/or personal losses as a result of the crash (e.g., medical bills, lost income, pain, and suffering, etc.).

Proving another party’s negligence will require solid evidence and documentation that supports your claim. As a result, it is critical to remain at the scene of the accident unless you are immediately transported to the hospital. In addition, notifying the police, taking photos and videos of the accident scene, the damage, your injuries, and asking witnesses for their contact information will be critical to your claim’s success. A San Diego car accident lawyer can help you gather this evidence before it disappears to ensure you recover the maximum compensation you deserve.