Who is at Fault in a Changing Lanes Car Accident?

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Car accidents happen all the time and for various reasons. A driver might be drunk, distracted, or too tired to drive safely and crash into another vehicle. Aggression may also lead to a driver making unsafe choices on the road, causing them to collide with another vehicle. Other times, a driver may misjudge their surroundings and cause an accident. Regardless of how another driver caused the crash, car accidents in Houston often leave victims with injuries and property damage.

When another driver’s negligence causes an accident, the victim may be able to secure compensation for their losses. However, they must first prove that the other driver was at fault. But who is at fault when another vehicle changing lanes collides with yours? The answer might not always be clear, so contact the Houston car accident attorneys at Sutliff & Stout.

Resources For Changing Lane Car Accidents

Not ready to speak with a qualified car accident injury lawyer? Read on to gain a better understanding of your best course of action.

  1. Determining Fault for a Houston Lane-Change Accident
  2. Tips for Staying Safe on Multi-Lane Roads in Texas
  3. What Injuries Are Common in Lane-Changing Accidents?
  4. Can I Receive Compensation for a Lane-Changing Accident in Houston?

Determining Fault for a Houston Lane-Change Accident

Who is at Fault in a Changing Lanes Car Accident?Drivers must safely operate their vehicles and obey all rules of the road, whether they are changing lanes on a highway or merging onto a freeway from an on-ramp. If the driver changing lanes did not follow Texas’s safe lane changing laws, they are typically at fault. These laws state:

  • Drivers may only merge when it is safe. Factors to consider when determining safety include whether there was enough space to merge and road or weather conditions that might impact the merge.
  • All vehicles must drive in the right lane except when safely passing another vehicle, avoiding a road obstacle, or on a highway with three or more lanes.
  • A driver on a multi-lane road in the right lane must yield to the driver in the left lane to merge into the center lane.
  • Drivers must signal before changing lanes.

However, there might be cases when the merging driver is not entirely responsible for causing a lane-change accident. This might be the case if a driver in the other lane is driving distracted, recklessly, aggressively, or drunk. Proving the other driver was negligent can be complex, but a Houston car accident attorney may help.

Tips for Staying Safe on Multi-Lane Roads in Texas

No matter where you travel, staying safe is always the most important thing. Fast-paced roads come with their own set of challenges, so keep these safety tips in mind when traveling on a Texas highway, freeway, or interstate.

Watch Your Speed

Texas’s highway speeds can range from 50 mph to 85 mph, so you must be aware of the posted speed limits. Lawmakers put these limits in place to protect everyone on the road. Even if the speed seems too low, you should still follow it. There might be sharp turns ahead or other road conditions that may make speeding dangerous. Additionally, Texas has some of the highest speed limits in the country but going significantly under the limit may be just as dangerous as excessive speeding.

Keep a Safe Following Distance

Tailgating other vehicles is an unnecessary risk. If the driver in front of you has to stop suddenly, there might not be enough room to break without hitting their vehicle. Furthermore, you should always anticipate that another vehicle will merge into your lane without warning. That is why you should always maintain a safe following distance from the car in front. A good rule is to leave at least a car’s length of space, but you may want to leave more if road or weather conditions are poor.

What Injuries Are Common in Lane-Changing Accidents?

Any crash can cause severe injuries, especially crashes that result from improper lane changing. You must also know that lane-changing accidents often cause a side-impact collision, sideswipe crash, or rear-end accident. These accidents are some of the most dangerous because of how close the colliding car can get to the driver and passengers.

Common injuries may include:

Regardless of how minor you think your injuries might be, you should always seek medical attention after a car accident. Injuries may worsen over time, and not all injuries show symptoms right away. A doctor can perform a complete check-up, and they may diagnose and begin treatment on your injuries.

Can I Receive Compensation for a Lane-Changing Accident in Houston?

You might be able to receive financial compensation for your car accident if you can prove the other party is liable. However, both you and the other driver may share responsibility. For example, say a vehicle illegally merged into your lane, but you were speeding. In that instance, a court may determine you are 30% liable for causing the accident. Therefore, you may only collect 70% of the compensation you would otherwise receive. You must also remember that Texas prohibits a party from collecting financial compensation from the other if they are more than 50% responsible for causing the crash.

If your car accident attorney can prove that the other party was liable for the crash, they might be able to collect compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the damages that you can prove through bills, receipts, and pay stubs. Medical expenses, lost wages, and vehicle repairs are among the most common economic damages in car accident claims. To increase your chances of receiving a fair amount, you must keep proper documentation of all your crash-related expenses. If you do not save all your bills and receipts, an insurance company will likely question its legitimacy, allowing them to deny or reduce your claim.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the damages that you cannot prove through bills and other documentation. Instead, these damages reflect the damage to your quality of life after an accident and include emotional distress, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. Insurance companies know you likely do not know how to calculate non-economic damages, and they might offer low amounts. However, a Houston car accident attorney can adequately estimate these damages and negotiate with insurers.

Contact the Lane-Changing Car Accident Lawyers at Sutliff & Stout Today

Being in a car accident in Houston can be overwhelming. You might have medical bills and vehicle repair costs piling up. On top of that, you may be out of work without pay, adding to your financial stress. If another driver’s negligence caused your accident and injuries, you might be able to pursue a car accident claim.

However, pursuing a claim on your own while you recover from injuries may be difficult, so contact the Houston car accident attorneys at Sutliff & Stout. We can handle your case by gathering evidence, speaking to witnesses, filing paperwork, and negotiating with insurers while protecting your legal rights. To learn more about how we can help you, schedule a free consultation by calling (713) 987-7111 or completing our contact form.

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