One of the more common vehicle maneuvers made by Indiana drivers is a lane change, yet all too often attorney Matt Boulton sees police reports that cite “unsafe lane movement” as the primary cause of an accident.
Indiana law requires drivers to operate their vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner, and this includes taking proper steps when changing lanes, such as:
- Use Turn Signals
Always using a turn signal and giving a proper amount of time before changing into the next lane. And please remember, turn signals do not permit you instant access or right of way to another lane. You still must yield to the vehicle(s) or motorcycle(s) presently in the lane or within close proximity.
- Check Mirrors
Using mirrors to check for any vehicle(s) or motorcycle(s) in the other lane, or traffic that may be fast approaching. This should also include checking your vehicle’s blind spots.
- Give Proper Space & Distance
Not making a lane change unless there is an appropriate amount of distance between you and the vehicle(s) or motorcycle(s) in the other lane.
If you were injured in a lane change accident, and the police report does not place a majority of liability on you, it is possible you may be entitled to seek compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
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Matt has more than 25 years’ experience helping car accident victims navigate their legal rights after a collision, including lane change incidents, such as those similar to the next example.
Indiana Lane Change Accident Example
The following lane change accident occurred in Mooresville, Indiana, and resulted in several consequences, including the initial collision, injuries, property damage, and higher insurance rates.
According to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, the Driver of vehicle #1 stated she was “unsure what had happened,” and that she remembered moving to turn Ieft onto SR 67 and was struck. She could not advise where she was coming from or going, though that she “may have made a wrong turn.”
The Driver of vehicle #2 stated she was traveling north on SR 67, In the left lane, when at the intersection of Centerton Rd., Vehicle #1 swerved into her path. She was unable to avoid it, then striking it, causing significant damage to the front of her vehicle and the driver’s side rear area of Vehicle #2.
A Witness stated that Vehicle #1 had Initially turned south from Centerton Rd., into the northbound lanes of SR 67, then possibly realizing her error, the driver of Vehicle #1 turned around in the roadway to move north on SR 67, then, however, cutting across all lanes of traffic, possibly in an attempt to move to the crossover to get to the southbound lanes, and was then directly in the path of Vehicle #2, which then struck it.
Occupants of Vehicle #2 signed medical releases on scene, while occupants of vehicle #1 were transported to St. Francis Hospital in Mooresville, IN, for further evaluation/treatment.
Both vehicles were inoperable and taken by towing services.
What are Common Causes of Lane Change Accidents?
In many instances, Matt’s investigations into these car accidents lead to the conclusion that the driver making the lane change is found to be fully negligent or shares the majority of negligence for the collision.
Some of the common causes of Indiana lane change accidents we see include:
- A driver fails to check their mirrors and/or blindspot(s) before moving into another lane.
- The driver cuts over into a lane narrowly missing or making contact with traffic behind or in front of them.
- A driver changes lanes without using their turn signal.
- The driver straddles two lanes at once or drifts into another lane.
- Distracted driving.
- Passing or making a lane change in an illegal area, e.g., double-yellow center lines, no pass zones, on hills, or when near or entering a curve.
- Two drivers attempt to change into a traffic lane at the same time.
We have also seen “no-contact” lane change accidents that occurred after one driver started to make an illegal lane change, causing a driver in the occupied lane to take an evasive maneuver resulting in them hitting a third vehicle.
There are a number of liability scenarios with regard to lane change car accidents, and you should never speak to the insurance company until you haver had an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney review your potential case.
Shared Liability for Lane Change Accidents
If the police report reveals that you share a percentage of liability for the lane change accident, there is still a possibility that the other driver’s insurance company will be responsible for a portion of any claim you file with them.
Under Indiana’s comparative fault laws, if you are not more than 50% at fault for the lane change accident, you have the right to seek compensation, however, the total settlement or award will be reduced by the percentage of liability assigned to you.
For example, if you share 30% liability for the lane change accident, and your initial settlement was valued at $50,000, that total would be reduced by 30%, making your settlement total $35,000.
Again, this is why you should never speak to the insurance company until you have had an attorney review your case, as they may be able to either reduce your percentage of liability or have it entirely removed.
Questions About an Indiana Lane-Change Accident?
Boulton Law Group offers every Hoosier who has been involved in a car accident a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means that you will never be charged for friendly legal advice, and the only time the firm receives payment for its services is after your case is settled or won at trial.
Matt started the Boulton Law Group for the client that prefers personal, dedicated service, and custom legal solutions. You will never be shuffled around to different office assistants or inexperienced attorneys while your case is ongoing. Ensuring that you have an exceptional experience with the firm is part of our aim to see that you Get Treated Like Family.
If you wish to have Matt review your potential case, you can send the details of your lane change accident to us by using our confidential contact form. Matt personally reviews every web contact received at the firm.