How Blind Spots Cause Auto Accidents & Who’s at Fault
Posted in: Car Accidents
KNR Legal Blog
Ohio has the fourth most extensive Interstate Highway System in the county. So, it makes sense that merging is a significant concern for Ohio drivers. Highway accidents while merging can cause severe injuries and considerable damage to your car.
A lot of factors come into play when determining fault and liability in an Ohio merging accident. But if you are injured because you think the other driver was negligent and failed to merge properly, you may have cause to file an insurance claim or lawsuit for compensation. Contact the Ohio car accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW to discuss your legal options.
Initial consults are free, and there’s no cost unless you recover compensation.
Car crashes happen for many reasons, especially when travel is complicated on busy, congested roadways. Frequently, merging accidents happen because drivers incorrectly judge the distance between vehicles and hit another car while trying to merge.
Merging or lane change accidents are most common when drivers in the on-ramp lane attempt to merge into highway traffic.
In most merging accidents, the merging driver is at fault. But 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.
Other times, a driver may merge from an inside lane and strike a vehicle merging from the outermost lane to the middle lane. In this case, the first driver may not be liable. However, if the cars involved sideswiped each other rather than collided, the at-fault driver will be determined by their position on the road and where the cars made impact.
Like most car accidents, one driver will be considered at fault, and proving which driver’s lapse in judgment ultimately caused the crash could be simple. For instance, if you were already in the lane and obeying traffic laws when another driver merged into you, it’s relatively straightforward that their reckless driving caused them to be in the wrong.
A merging driver may be assigned partial or total blame if they
If you collided with another car while attempting to merge, you would likely be considered responsible for the accident. As the merging driver, you’re legally obligated to enter the lane safely by checking mirrors, gauging distance, and keeping a lookout. So, if an accident happened, it’s considered more than likely that your negligence to do so was the cause.
However, things are not always cut and dry. Even if you followed every safety precaution to merge correctly, if a speeding driver hit you in the adjacent lane or an aggressive driver who wouldn’t accommodate someone entering the lane, a merging accident could happen that wasn’t your fault.
As a driver, remember you shouldn’t regulate traffic or obstruct it by preventing someone from merging. Don’t speed up to prevent a driver from merging. Doing so can shift the blame to you.
You also have an obligation to other drivers to obey traffic laws, which means if you’re speeding, impairment, or general negligence contributes to a merging accident, it can impact your level of fault.
That being said, most merging accidents are initiated by the merging driver. 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.
The Ohio Revised Code dictates how drivers should conduct themselves on the road. This includes how to change lanes and safely merge into traffic.
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 and need to change lanes, you should:
Doing otherwise could mean being at fault for a merging accident.
If you’re merging on the highway, you’ll need to match traffic speed. As the on-ramp begins to merge with the existing lane, ensure space for your vehicle, and move into the lane. If you need to cross lanes, wait to ensure room in the next lane before merging.
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:
Since collisions, while merging primarily happen fast and on busy roads, it can be difficult to assign responsibility accurately. You may even think you carry more of the blame than you do. Ohio follows a comparative negligence standard that accounts for varying degrees of fault. Because every merging accident is different, it’s wise to get help from an experienced car accident lawyer before making any final decisions or accepting a settlement.
By investigating the details with a lawyer, you can confidently assign fault for a merging accident and pursue a claim or lawsuit for financial damages against the appropriate party. This is usually the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier. The compensation you may be entitled to can help you pay any medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost wages, and other losses related to your merging accident.
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.