Ohio Car Crash Liability: Who’s at Fault in a Merging Accident?

Feb 07, 2020 Car Accidents

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

With the fourth most extensive Interstate Highway System in the country, it makes sense that merging is a significant concern for Ohio drivers. To merge safely, drivers must pay close attention and use common sense. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and merging accidents are common. These accidents can cause severe injuries and significant damage to your car.

When you are involved in a merging accident in Ohio, you might be confused about who’s in the wrong. Contact the Ohio car accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick if you’ve been injured in a merging accident.

We’re ready to help determine liability and pursue compensation for your losses.

Call 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free, no-risk consultation.

Determining Liability: Who’s in the Wrong?

In most merging accidents, the merging driver is at fault. However, there are exceptions. For instance, when the merging vehicle crashes into a speeding car, the merging driver may not be held liable because the speeding driver made it difficult for the merging driver to estimate the time needed to merge.

If a driver is merging from the inside lane to the middle lane and strikes a vehicle merging from the outermost lane to the middle lane, the first driver may not be liable.

In certain circumstances, like if the cars sideswiped each other rather than collided, the at-fault driver will be determined by position on the road and where the cars made impact.

Since every accident is different, an Ohio car accident lawyer should evaluate your situation.

How to Prove Negligence in a Merging Accident

Like most car accidents, there will be a driver considered at fault, and proving which driver’s lapse in judgment caused the crash could be a simple matter. If you were already in the lane and obeying traffic laws when another driver merged into you, it’s relatively simple to prove they were in the wrong.

If the merging driver didn’t use their signal appropriately, that is negligence on their part. Any witnesses that corroborate a driver was driving aggressively or recklessly can help prove negligence. It’s also important to note if a driver ignored any traffic directions, like yield signs.

As a driver, you should also remember you should not be regulating traffic, because that can easily pin negligence on you. Don’t speed up to prevent a driver from merging.

Merging Accidents in Ohio

Car crashes happen for any number of reasons, especially when travel is complicated by needing to merge. Frequently, merging accidents happen because drivers incorrectly judge the distance between vehicles and hit another car while trying to merge. These accidents are most common when drivers merge from the on-ramp lane into highway traffic.

The Common Causes of Merging Accidents

  • Merging too slowly: when a car is entering a highway, the driver should use the on-ramp to match the speed of other vehicles. When they don’t, they run the risk of causing an accident.
  • Changing lanes suddenly without signaling: if a driver changes lanes abruptly without using their turn signal, nearby drivers don’t have enough warning to avoid a collision.
  • Abruptly cutting off other vehicles: an inattentive driver may not give nearby drivers enough clearance when they change lanes, pulling in front of them and increasing the chance of a crash.
  • Crossing multiple lanes of traffic at once: when a driver chooses to change lanes, they should be going one at a time. If they decide to cross several lanes at once, they may not see a vehicle previously in their blind spot and cause a crash.

Guidelines For Properly Merging

Although it may seem like there aren’t laws when it comes to merging, the Ohio Revised Code dictates how drivers should conduct themselves on the road. Whether a driver is entering the highway or changing lanes during travel, they have a duty of care to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

If you are driving on the highway and need to change lanes, you should check your surroundings, using your mirrors and looking around. Wait until it’s clear, then you should signal and begin changing lanes. Remember to maintain speed so any oncoming drivers won’t have to react drastically, or you could be at-fault for the accident.

If you’re entering the highway, you’ll need to match traffic speed. As the on-ramp begins to merge with the existing lane, make sure there is space for your vehicle, and move into the lane. If you need to cross lanes, wait to ensure there is room in the next lane over before merging.

Preventing Merging Accidents

Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent merging accidents and the severe injuries that come with them. Here are some tips to help reduce your risk of a merging accident:

  • Don’t Tailgate — Be sure to avoid tailgating the vehicle in front of you. Doing so can increase your chance of causing a rear-end collision because the vehicle may slow down or stop without you realizing it.
  • Use Turn Signals — The importance of turn signals should not be overlooked, especially while merging. Turn signals allow other drivers to understand your intentions and ensure you are more visible.
  • Merge Gradually — Since abrupt movements frighten drivers and lead to accidents, merge gradually.

Hurt in a Merging Accident? Call KNR Today

Injured in a merging accident and unsure of who is at fault? Call an experienced Ohio car accident lawyer at Kisling, Nestico & Redick. We know what to look for and how to hold reckless drivers accountable.

You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Contact us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW.