Changing lanes properly is essential to keep all Atlanta drivers safe. Unfortunately, distracted and inexperienced drivers who do not merge properly create unsafe driving conditions. According to the US Department of Transportation, every year, nearly 300,000 merging accidents occur nationwide.
Nearly 50,000 of those crashes were fatal. When a crash occurs at the fault of a negligent driver who was incorrectly merging and you or your passengers are injured, you can hold the liable party responsible for any damages.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at The Champion Firm fight for accident victims and help them recover the compensation they deserve after a crash that could have been avoided.
Atlanta Merging Accidents
Vehicle merging may seem like a straightforward maneuver. But not all drivers are considerate enough or pay full attention to avoid collisions.
Here are some common unsafe merging scenarios:
- Braking truck collisions – If a driver attempts to merge in front of a truck without allowing enough space between the vehicles, the truck driver may slam on the brakes in a panic to avoid a collision. Due to the truck’s larger size, their stopping ability is limited.
- Reckless driving – Some drivers think they can zip by other drivers. They may misjudge their speed or not see another car as they merge. Their speed can cause devastating damage.
- Side-swipe spinouts – In cases where a merging driver fails to see you upon beginning to merge, they may then overcorrect themselves, causing a spinout followed by an accident.
- Blind spot collisions – Being sure there is enough space to switch lanes is crucial to merging. If a driver merges and you are in their blind spot, they may slam into the side of your car.
- Front- and rear-end collisions – When a driver is merging and misjudges the distance between your vehicle and theirs, they may hit your car or cause you to hit them.
Which Driver is Responsible for Safe Merging?
According to Georgia law, a driver can only merge when safe. It is up to the driver switching lanes to check their blind spots, use their turn signals, and watch all surrounding traffic before they switch lanes. Most lane change accidents are avoidable if the merging driver had been more careful. Therefore, most lane change accidents are almost always the fault of the merging driver.
However, there can be instances where the fault lies on the other driver. They might be driving while intoxicated, driving distractedly, or driving aggressively. If the merging driver has done everything correctly to merge safely and an aggressive driver speeds into them, the aggressive driver would most likely be at fault.
Damage Caused by Merging Accidents
In most minor situations, lane merging confusion can cause an inconvenience to the drivers on the roadway. In more severe situations and major collisions, the damages and injuries can be catastrophic. The actions of an unsafe merge could cause a chain reaction of events, including causing drivers to swerve out of their lane, slam on their brakes, or swerve off the roadway to avoid a collision.
It is common for unsafe merges to cause traumatic brain injuries, dislocated and broken bones, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, and more. Improper lane changes can even result in fatal accidents.
How Is Fault Determined in a Merging Accident?
Many factors will be considered while determining fault in a merging accident. To receive compensation for your injuries and damages, you must prove that the merging driver was negligent in their actions. Were they driving too fast? Did they cut you off? Were they supposed to yield when they crashed into you?
Your lawyer must use evidence to support the claim that the other driver caused the accident that hurt you. They can use traffic cameras, forensic evidence, accident reports, eyewitness testimony, data from accident reconstruction, and photo and video evidence.
How Do I Prove I Didn’t Cause the Accident?
While merging accident cases may seem open and shut in Georgia, there are several scenarios you may face. It might seem like the other driver was 100% responsible, but with Georgia’s comparative negligence rule, you must defend your claim that they were the most accountable for your damages.
According to state law, under comparative negligence rules, if a plaintiff is less than 50% responsible for the accident, they can recover compensation for their injuries and damages. However, if the plaintiff is partly at fault for the accident, their damage compensation is reduced by that percentage of fault.
Compensation after a Lane Change Accident
After a lane change accident, your top priority should be making a full recovery from any injuries. The injuries you have sustained could cause long-term damage or require long-term care.
When injured in a lane change accident, you are entitled to seek compensation for all your damages, which are likely extensive.
The attorneys at The Champion Firm can find the pieces that strengthen your case so you can get the maximum compensation possible. In a personal injury claim, the following are the damages that you may be compensated for:
General damages may include:
- Physical disfigurement
- Scarring and disability
- Pain and suffering, including mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Psychological trauma or lowered quality of life
Special damages – may include but are not limited to:
- Lost wages, including tips
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Repair or full replacement of damaged property
- Medical treatment expenses (past and future), including doctor visits, surgeries, medications
- Childcare expenses while you are incapacitated
- Loss of irreplaceable items
- In-home care expenses
Wrongful death damages – Georgia law allows surviving family members to receive, in some instances, the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses for the deceased
- Future income the deceased would have earned as wages
- Pain and suffering of the deceased
- Compensation for the loss of support and companionship of the deceased
An Atlanta Injury Lawyer Can Help
You might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit independently, but the paperwork and filing process can be confusing and daunting. A Georgia personal injury lawyer has the experience to handle your claim correctly and seek all the compensation you need and are entitled to.
Pursue the maximum compensation available by working with The Champion Firm. Using the evidence we gather, we can build a strong case in your personal injury lawsuit.
Get Help From The Champion Firm Now
If you or a loved one were injured by a negligent driver who didn’t merge properly, you deserve to know your options for financial recovery. At The Champion Firm, our experienced and driven Atlanta attorneys will explain the law, guide you, and fight to recover everything you deserve. Contact us today at 404-948-9314 for a free consultation.