Who Is at Fault in a Lane-Change Accident?

Operating a motor vehicle can be tricky, particularly when it comes to changing lanes. When individuals need to change lanes, they must follow certain procedures and steps in order to do so safely. However, accidents do occur as a result of lane changes, but who will be at fault for these incidents? When working to determine liability for a lane change accident, we have to examine various scenarios that can occur.

Changing Lanes Can be Precarious, Even if Routine

Most people change lanes at least once when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle. This is a routine procedure, but the reality is that a lane change opens up plenty of opportunities for a mistake to occur. Often, a lane chance incident occurs because the driver making the lane change errs. However, other drivers can also make mistakes, including operating recklessly near a driver trying to change lanes. 

When a driver in Tennessee needs to change lanes, they should activate their turn signal and then check their mirrors and blind spots to ensure they have a clear path to properly make the lane change. Drivers wishing to change lanes must yield the right of way to traffic already present in the desired lane. Unsafe lane changes occur when a driver fails to follow proper procedures. 

Tennessee Law Regarding Lane Changes

When we examine Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-123, we can see that drivers are required to keep their vehicle within a single lane and should not change lanes unless they have determined that the lane change can be completed safely. 

Liability for a Lane Change Accident

Determining liability after a lane change accident can be challenging. Just like any other vehicle accident, the police need to come to the scene of the incident to conduct an investigation. There is no “automatic” at-fault driver in these crashes. Each lane change accident is different, and various factors can affect liability. 

If a driver fails to yield the right of way when trying to change lanes, then they will most likely be found at fault for the incident. There are various types of evidence that can be gathered to determine liability in these cases. This includes, but is not limited to, eyewitness statements, dashcam footage, surveillance footage from nearby cameras, statements from other drivers involved, and more. Often, the damage location on the vehicles involved will paint a clear picture of how the incident occurred. 

However, drivers inside the “desired lane” could also bare some or all of the responsibility. If the other driver was impaired, fatigued, distracted, or operating too fast for conditions, they could also share liability. 

In cases of shared fault, it will be necessary to turn to Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence laws to determine who should receive compensation and how much they should receive. It may be necessary for lane change accident victims to work with a skilled Nashville car accident lawyer who can examine every aspect of the incident and help them secure compensation through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.