Common Causes of Merging Accidents

Merging is a fairly advanced driving skill. Anytime two streams of traffic combine into a single lane, drivers must understand right-of-way laws and how they apply to these particular scenarios. Unfortunately, because merging is complex and involves several tasks at once, accidents during a merging procedure are not uncommon. Here, we want to review some of the most common causes of merging accidents drivers are likely to run into throughout Tennessee.

Common Causes of Merging Accidents

Failure to Check Blind Spots

One of the primary causes of merging accidents is the failure of drivers to check their blind spots before merging or changing lanes. This oversight can lead to collisions with vehicles that were in the blind spot and not visible to the merging driver.

Speeding or Driving Too Fast for Conditions

Speeding reduces the time available for drivers to react and adjust their actions, making it difficult to avoid accidents during merging. High speed can lead to miscalculations in distance and timing, increasing the risk of collision.

Aggressive or Distracted Driving

Aggressive driving behaviors, such as making abrupt lane changes or driving while distracted (e.g., texting, eating, or adjusting the radio) increase the likelihood of causing a merging accident. Distractions can prevent drivers from noticing other vehicles and reacting appropriately during merging maneuvers.

Improper Lane Changes

Failing to use a turn signal before changing lanes or not ensuring there is enough space to merge safely can lead to accidents. Drivers need to indicate their intention to merge well in advance and verify that the lane they are merging into is clear.

Merging Too Slowly or Quickly

Entering a highway from a merge lane at an inappropriate speed (either too slow or too fast) disrupts the flow of traffic and can cause accidents. Matching the speed of the traffic on the highway is crucial for a safe merge.

Crossing Multiple Lanes in a Single Merge

Trying to cross over multiple lanes in one go can be dangerous and disorienting for other drivers. Such maneuvers don’t give other drivers enough time to react, increasing the risk of collisions.

Cutting Off Other Vehicles

When merging, if a driver does not leave enough space between their car and the one in the lane they are entering, they risk cutting off that vehicle. This can cause the other driver to brake suddenly or swerve, leading to accidents.

Confusing or Missing Roadway Signs

Inadequate or unclear roadway signs can lead to confusion about merging lanes and the right way to merge, leading to accidents. This is particularly true in construction zones or areas where the usual traffic patterns are altered.

Determining Fault After a Merging Accident in Nashville

After a merging accident in Nashville, determining fault can be challenging. Even if fault seems relatively straightforward to you, that may not be the case for the insurance carriers or other parties involved. It is not uncommon for other parties to place blame on the injury victim in an effort to limit how much money they pay out or to try and get the claim dismissed altogether.

After a merging accident occurs, you need assistance from an attorney to gather all the evidence needed to determine liability. Some critical evidence may come directly from the scene of the accident itself. This can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Video surveillance footage from cameras on buildings or dashcams
  • Photographs taken by those at the scene of the incident (of injuries, property damage, debris, skid marks, traffic and weather, etc.)
  • Statements from eyewitnesses who may have seen what happened
  • The accident report from the police

Often, additional evidence is needed to determine liability. This could include data from mobile devices if distracted driving is suspected and even vehicle black box data.

Can You Recover Compensation After a Merging Accident?

If the negligence of another driver caused the merging accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. We encourage you to work with an attorney who can help determine fault and handle communication with every party involved so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. An attorney will work to secure economic and non-economic damages on your behalf. These can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Any medical costs related to the merging accident
  • Lost income if you are unable to work while recovering
  • Assistance with out-of-pocket household expenses
  • Property damage expenses
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of quality of life damages

There is no specific amount of compensation a person receives after a merging accident claim finds success. Several factors can influence how much a crash victim receives through a settlement, including the severity of their injuries, how long it takes to recover, whether or not there was any shared fault, and several other factors.

File Your Merging Accident Claim Quickly

Victims in Nashville need to file their claims as promptly as possible. In Tennessee, the personal injury statute of limitations is one year from the date an injury occurs (Tennessee Code section 28-3-104). If a crash victim does not file a lawsuit within this time frame, they will likely lose the ability to recover compensation for their losses. 

However, we recommend filing your claim as promptly as possible, within a few days after the incident occurs. Unfortunately, as time goes on, it becomes harder to successfully recover compensation. Evidence begins to disappear, and memories fade the longer you wait to file the claim.

Contact an Attorney After an Accident

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a merging accident, we encourage you to speak to an attorney today. These claims can be complicated, particularly when it comes to determining fault. A Nashville car accident lawyer with experience handling complex claims can walk you through the steps toward recovering compensation and help you every step of the way. If an attorney takes your case, they will do so on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t have to pay any legal fees until after your attorney successfully recovers the compensation you are entitled to.