A Philadelphia car accident could happen in an instance. You’re casually driving back from work in the evening. The vehicle in front is a bit slow, so the usual thing is to change lanes, right? All drivers practically change lanes every day of the week without overthinking the process.
However, in a split second, what was meant to be a normal phenomenon could turn into a catastrophic event really quickly. So, let’s discuss how to determine who is at fault in a lane change accident. Plus, how only the most reliable Philadelphia injury lawyers can help with such liability issues.
What Are the Determining Factors?
Usually, the car that drives into another lane and crashes into another car takes the blame for the accident. The reason is simple; before a car merges, the driver is responsible for ensuring the move is safe. It’s also the driver’s responsibility to ensure his move does not compromise other vehicles on the road. A simple oversight or could lead to a significant crash resulting in severe injuries.
Regardless of how safe modern vehicles are designed to be, about 40% of blind spots are around the car. That means before any turn or significant move, the driver must use signals on time to alert the other drivers of their next move.
Drivers who do not use turn signals before changing lanes or making a turn are breaking the law. Driving has become unsafe simply because many drivers no longer regard traffic laws in Philadelphia.
One of the significant ways to receive compensation after a lane change accident is by proving the other driver’s liability. However, you may have to employ the services of a reliable attorney to help prove that the other party is at fault.
That means there must be proof of an improper or illegal lane change in the initial police report. Plus, the opinion of the first police offer on sight is very crucial at this point. As the statement on who they believe is at fault counts significantly.
Here are other important pieces of evidence that can prove the liability of the other party.
- The initial photographs at the crash scene.
- Eyewitness reports from individuals who saw what happened.
- Tests that prove the other party was drinking under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
- The black box data from the vehicle.
- Phone records that prove distracted driving.
The final verdict will probably come down to who is more responsible for the crash. In addition, the traffic laws in effect at the time of the accident will also be taken into consideration.
Cases of Shared Liability:
In some cases, more than one party has to take responsibility for the crash. This means that both drivers are responsible for the lane-change accident. Below are examples of situations where both parties take responsibility for the crash.
- Both drivers try to change lanes at the same time. This is also called sideswiping, and in a case like this, both drivers share 50% fault each.
- When the exact position of both vehicles involved in the sideswipe is unknown, both parties will be given 50% liability for the accident.
In a situation where only one of the vehicles was seen changing lanes, unlawful behavior on the part of the car already on that lane will have to be proven. This means the percentage of fault given to each party may vary in different scenarios. Below are some of the unlawful behaviours that may implicate the driver already on the lane.
- Driving above speed limits.
- Driving inappropriately fast for the road conditions.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Failure to turn on indicator lights or headlights if driving at night.
- Intentionally blocking the other party from merging.
- Texting or making calls while driving.
- Making sudden stops or speeding up when other drivers try to merge.
Comparative Negligence law Explained:
In Pennsylvania, the courts practice Comparative Negligence Law. This law states that the court will consider all the facts from the unsafe lane change, and if you are even slightly responsible for the accident, the percentage will be taken from your settlement.
Take, for instance, another vehicle hits your car after taking an unsafe lane change, and the jury gives you a $120,000 settlement. If you are then found to be 20% liable for the accident, only $96,000 will be given to you as compensation. However, if the liability is more than 50%, you are no longer entitled to a settlement.
Let Us Assist You With Your Claim
Determining liability can be very tricky, however, with the right experts, you’ll have all the support you need. Let our expert team of Philadelphia injury lawyers assist you this time. We guarantee the best strategies that will result in the best possible outcome for your situation.
Our team does not mind visiting your home to learn more about the facts of the case. Once we have all the details, it will be easier to come up with the right strategies to give you a win. So, contact us today by calling or filling out an online contact form.