Generally speaking, when one car is attempting to enter a roadway, it is that driver’s responsibility to enter safely. If the merging driver hits another car, the merging driver is liable for any injuries or damage sustained in the crash. There are times, however, when multiple parties may be liable, and times when a third-party, such as the government, may share liability as well.
Determining who else is liable in a merging accident
If the merging driver is not always entirely to blame for the collision, then who is?
- Both drivers. When two cars attempt to merge into the same lane at the same time, the drivers may share responsibility for the accident. The circumstances of the crash will determine the level of lability for each driver.
- The driver already on the road. If the other driver is speeding or driving recklessly, or driving in the wrong direction down a one-way road, then he or she may share liability for the car accident.
- The government. Local, state, and federal government entities are responsible for keeping roadways safe. If a merging lane is not clearly marked, or if a lack of road signs or lights makes it impossible to merge safely, you may be able to file a claim against the entity in charge.
- Another driver altogether. Sometimes, merging accidents are the result of driver attempting to avoid another collision. For example, if you are driving and the vehicle in front of you suddenly brakes, your instinct might be to merge into the next lane. If another vehicle happens to be in that lane, the driver in front of you could be held partially liable for any injuries or losses.
- The manufacturer. New cars and trucks often come equipped with technology designed to prevent merging accidents. Lane assist, lane departure warning, and blind spot detection systems should alert you to another driver. If you were attempting to merge and the technology failed to warn you, the manufacturer may be liable for your injuries from a crash.
In order to determine the levels of liability, your Georgia car crash lawyer is going to review any video footage or photos from the scene, any black box data (if applicable) from the vehicles, and the scene of the collision itself. We look at tire tracks on the road, the condition of the road itself, and the places of impact on all vehicles affected.
What leads to merging accidents?
Speed accounts for a number of merging accidents. For example, if a driver is moving too slowly or too quickly, he or she could end up colliding with another vehicle on the road. Speeding drivers may miss their exits, forcing them to hit the brakes and cross multiple lanes of traffic, too.
Distracted driving is another common cause of merging accidents. Drivers using their phones or otherwise not paying attention might not notice vehicles in the lane next to them when they attempt to merge. They may forget to use their turn signals, or drift into another lane.
If you sustained injuries in a crash involving a merging driver, Harris Lowry Manton LLP is here to help. Please call our Atlanta car accident lawyers at 404.998.8847, our Savannah car accident attorneys at 912.417.3774, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients throughout Georgia.