There are a number of factors that go into determining fault in a lane change accident. Most importantly, however, is understanding the circumstances under which a lawsuit can be brought against another party.
Since Washington is a tort state when it comes auto insurance claims, determining fault is central to the question of recovering damages.
But each state has its own rules when it comes to litigating personal injury claims.
Washington uses a pure comparative fault rule. This means even if you’re 99% at fault for an accident, you can still recover damages from another party, especially if you get help from an accident attorney.
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Why Do Lane Changing Accidents Happen?
The most common reason for lane-changing accidents is that the party who was attempting to change lanes did not check their blind spots before doing so. Since it is any driver’s responsibility to ensure that lane is clear before changing lanes, it is almost always going to be that driver’s fault for the accident. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule.
- A driver who is speeding or otherwise not exercising due caution may have some of the blame assigned to them;
- A driver who is failing to obey other traffic laws could have some of the blame assigned to them;
- And on three-lane highways or streets, when two drivers attempt to merge from the outer lane into an inner lane, it may not be immediately clear who is more at fault than the other.
Another Driver Merged into My Lane Causing an Accident
In 9 out of every 10 accidents, the individual who merged into your lane is 100% at fault. In a tort state like Washington, that means that they and their insurance company pick up 100% of the tab. If your injuries are extensive enough and their insurance policy does not cover all your damages, you can either sue them for the remainder or, if you have an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, you can draw on that as well.
You are entitled to collect on medical expenses, lost time from work, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment. Talk to a Yakima, Washington car accident injury lawyer for more information.
I Merged into Someone Else’s Lane
You’re not out of luck yet. If the driver who’s lane you attempted to merge into inexplicably sped up during your attempt, there may be cause to blame that driver—at least in part—for that accident. If it they leave the scene of the accident or are later found to be inebriated, they can be held accountable for the majority of the accident.
In most cases, however, these accidents happen because one individual failed to check their blind spots before merging. This leaves them entirely to blame for the accident because they didn’t exercise a reasonable duty of care.
Talk to a Yakima Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a lane changing accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Kapuza Lighty PLLC. We can go over the circumstances involving your case and recover damages from the at-fault driver. Give us a call or contact us online for more information.