One of the most common causes of car and truck accidents is a driver’s inattentiveness. When drivers fail to check their blind spots or look in their side-view mirrors, they can change lanes into other cars. While the speed difference might not cause much damage on the initial impact, drivers could be forced off the road or into walls, potentially causing serious damage.
For help understanding your rights after a car accident caused by unsafe lane changes, contact Miami lane-change accident lawyer Prosper Shaked today. Prosper Shaked offers free legal consultations to help victims of car accidents understand their potential case. To schedule your free consultation, contact us today at (305) 694-2676.
Lane Change Laws in Florida
Drivers in their lane of traffic have no duty to yield to incoming cars entering their lane. Instead, those drivers changing lanes may only do so when safe. The idea of what exactly is “safe” depends on the specific situation at hand. Proving that the other driver made an unsafe move and thus is at fault for the accident is one of the key steps to receiving compensation in a lawsuit for a lane change accident.
Drivers have a duty to make sure that it is safe to change lanes before doing so. Florida Statute § 316.085(2) states that drivers must check to ensure that no one is passing them or approaching them before they move into another lane. Additionally, subsection 1 of the statute requires drivers only to change lanes to pass when the road is clear and visible, and it requires drivers to return to their original lane of travel soon after passing.
To ensure that the other lane is clear, drivers must only change lanes when there is sufficient space in the next lane. If you have only a small amount of space in front of you or behind you, another driver should not try to squeeze into that space. If they try to do so, it may cause them to strike your car or force you to brake suddenly, potentially leading to you getting rear-ended or losing control of your vehicle.
Determining Fault in a Lane Change Crash
In most lane-change accidents, there is one driver who was maintaining a straight course and one that tried to change lanes. In most accidents, the driver who changed lanes is the one at fault for the crash. In some situations, it may be possible for multiple drivers to share fault.
On multi-lane highways, it is possible for two drivers to enter a center lane from either side simultaneously. If these drivers crash into each other, it may be up to a jury to determine who was at fault.
Other situations where two drivers can share fault is when one driver changes lanes, then another quickly follows suit and moves into the same lane. If the driver to the rear speeds up to overtake the other driver, they may be at fault for any accidents because they were speeding. Alternatively, the driver who changes lanes would be violating a duty to wait to change lanes if a car is approaching from the rear. These competing duties might mean that the drivers share fault.
While driving, it is vital that drivers continue straight in their own lane. Drifting into another driver’s lane can also cause accidents, even if the lane change was not intentional. Many modern cars have lane departure warnings that help alert drivers if they are drifting. The absence or presence of one of these systems does not typically protect the at-fault driver from liability.
It is important to alert other drivers to your movements on the road, and changing lanes without a turn signal can also lead to partial fault in a car accident.
Suing for Car Accidents from Improper Lane Changes
If someone dangerously changed lanes and caused an accident, you may be entitled to sue them for any injuries you faced in that crash. Florida no-fault insurance laws may require you to file your case through insurance, but you are always entitled to file a lawsuit if you suffered severe or permanent injuries, if you faced injuries totaling more than $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages, or if a loved one was killed in the crash.
When you take your case to court, your attorney will help you build your case against the at-fault driver. To convince a jury the other driver was at fault, you must prove that they breached some legal duty that they owed you, which led to your injuries. In the case of lane change accidents, Florida Statute § 316.085 might help supply the legal duty, as would reasonable safe-driving expectations that require drivers to check their blind spot and mirrors before changing lanes.
To collect compensation, you must also prove the damages you faced. Your testimony about the pain and suffering you face, medical bills, bank statements, pay stubs, and other records can help demonstrate the harms you faced because of the crash.
Call Our Miami Lane Change Car Accident Lawyer Today
To schedule a free legal consultation on your lane change car accident case, contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today. Miami lane change accident attorney Prosper Shaked represents the victims of serious crashes and fights to get them financial compensation after car accident injuries. To schedule your free consultation, contact our law offices today at (305) 694-2676.