Determining Fault In A Changing Lanes Car Accident

Changing lanes car accidents are highly common in Nevada. Generally, motorists that change lanes and hit another vehicle are considered to be at fault in these crashes. However, figuring out and proving which driver is at fault is not always easy.

Determining Fault In A Changing Lanes Car Accident

Assigning Fault

Drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road to operate their vehicles safely at all times. This is particularly true when changing lanes. When a driver needs to make a lane change, they must give warning to other motorists by using their turn signal.

Determining which party is liable can be a complex and time-consuming process. Both drivers may share some fault, or the at-fault driver may refuse to admit they were negligent. It will often require the resources an auto accident attorney can offer, including an accident reconstruction expert and other professionals.

The Police Report

A police report can be incredibly helpful for proving fault and can carry a lot of weight when an insurance company is assigning liability. It does not always have the final say, but adjusters generally accept police accident reports as credible, unbiased evidence of fault. It will contain information that shows how the officer concluded on who they believe caused the accident. For example:

  • The final positioning of the cars
  • The location and extent of damage to the vehicles
  • Whether airbags deployed
  • Whether there are skid marks from attempts to brake
  • Interviews with the drivers
  • Interviews with witnesses to the accident
  • Whether either driver appears to be intoxicated or was issued a citation
  • Whether either car was malfunctioning
  • Video they viewed of the accident

If one party was cited for a traffic violation or charged with a crime (e.g., driving while under the influence), this can serve as significant evidence of fault that will be difficult to challenge.

Evidence of Negligence

Examples of potential evidence of a party’s fault for a lane change accident include:

  • The location of the damage on the vehicles involved.
  • Witness confirming a driver did not signal before changing lanes.
  • Witness who saw a driver fail to check blind spots before making a lane change.
  • Cell phone records of the at-fault driver texting at the time of the accident.
  • Food wrappers or receipts that show the driver may have been distracted by eating at the time of the crash.
  • Witnesses who saw the driver recklessly weaving in and out of or between lanes

Shared Fault

Some lane change crashes happen when two or more drivers are negligent. For example, both vehicles may have been trying to merge at the same time. In these cases, both drivers can share legal liability for the accident. In the state of Nevada, the courts will reduce the amount of a party’s winning settlement by their percentage of fault for the part they played in causing the accident. For instance, if the injured party holds 30 percent of the blame for the accident, they will collect only 70 percent of the total settlement amount. If the driver is found 50 percent or more at fault, they cannot collect any compensation.

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