changing lane car accidents

If everyone followed the rules of the road, not to mention the principles of common sense, there would be far fewer accidents on Indiana’s roads. There were 175,816 collisions in Indiana in 2020; 808 of them were fatal. Most people know that intersections are dangerous, but not everyone realizes how dangerous lane changes can be.

“Unsafe actions” from the driver were cited as the cause of 110,164 Indiana crashes in 2020 (including 402 fatal crashes) – that’s a staggering 85% of all total collisions. Unsafe lane-changing actions accounted for many of those accidents.

  • Unsafe lane movement was cited as the primary factor in 9,588 total collisions; 30 of them were fatal.
  • Driving left of center was cited as the primary factor in 3.023 collisions; 81 of them were fatal.
  • Improper passing was cited as the primary factor in 1.832 collisions; 11 of them were fatal.

If you have been involved in a lane-changing accident as a result of another driver’s negligence, the experienced attorneys at Flores Law Group will dedicate themselves to ensuring that you get the compensation you need and deserve for your current and future medical expenses.

Lane changing rules, according to the 2022 Indiana Drivers Manual:

  1. Do not cross a solid yellow line except to turn.
  2. You can cross a broken white line when it is safe to do so, but never cross a solid white line.
  3. Only change one lane at a time.
  4. Signal at least 200 feet before either changing lanes or turning; this lead distance increases to at least 300 feet if you are in a speed zone of 50 miles per hour or higher.

To change lanes:

  • Check that the road is clear ahead in the lane to which you are moving.
  • Check your mirrors to make sure no one is preparing to pass you.
  • Quickly turn your head to check your blind spot.
  • Use your signal to indicate that you intend to change lanes.
  • Smoothly move into the new lane.

To overtake another vehicle:

  • Follow the steps above to change lanes.
  • Accelerate and pass the vehicle, but keep moving forward for at least 100 feet before making your move back to your original lane. (You should be able to easily see the vehicle you passed in your rearview mirror.)
  • Make sure to use your turn signal before you return to your original lane.

All of the rules above apply to the vehicle making the lane change or merging after passing another car, but the vehicle being passed bears some responsibility as well: If you are being passed, maintain your speed without accelerating.

Lane-changing accidents happen when:

  • Drivers forget to check their mirrors or blind spots.
  • Two drivers attempt to change lanes simultaneously without seeing each other.
  • Distracted drivers drift into the next lane.
  • Drivers neglect to use their turn signals.
  • Drivers cut back in front of the vehicle they are passing too quickly. This is especially dangerous when that vehicle is a semi-truck with a huge blind spot in front and a limited ability to slow down quickly.

Obviously, speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence all increase the possibility of a lane change accident as well as its severity.

Who is liable in a lane-changing accident in Indiana?

You will need the police report, witness accounts, photos, and details to prove that the other driver was at fault. This is where the team at Flores Law Group can be invaluable. We have experience in amassing the necessary documentation to prove your case – either to the at-fault driver’s insurance company or in a courtroom.

The driver who disobeyed the rules of the road is liable, but sometimes there are several factors at play in an accident.

Because Indiana uses a fault-based system in determining liability, both parties can be found partially liable. However, the party who holds the majority of the blame (51% or more) can be held liable for medical bills and other losses. (This is called modified comparative negligence.)

If you are found to be partially liable, but less than 50%, you can still receive compensation, but the court will reduce your recovery in proportion to your contribution to negligence.

The experienced team of Indiana car accident lawyers at Flores Law Group will help you gather the information you need and will take on the fight with insurance companies so that you can focus on recovery. Fill out our form for a free car accident consultation, give us a call at 317-900-2556, or stop by the office to find out how we can get you the compensation you deserve.

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