Assessing Liability in a Merging Accident in Arizona

pickup truck getting onto highwayOne of the most important questions after an accident, in addition to the health of the victims, is: who is legally liable for damages?

In some situations, it is easy to determine who is at fault. For example, if the driver was drunk and was cited for drunk driving by the officers at the scene, it would be hard for the insurance company to dispute the other driver is to blame.

However, there are a lot of other accidents where fault is a little more difficult to determine. For example, when two or more vehicles are merging it can be tough to determine who merged first and whose recklessness caused the crash. Both drivers could share some amount of fault for the accident.

General Rules on Liability in Merging Accidents

If you change lanes and get into a crash, you are likely to be found at fault. As the driver changing lanes, you have a responsibility to make sure it is safe to do so. You need to be sure there is enough space for you to enter the other lane. This means checking your mirrors and any blind spots not visible in your mirrors, along with using your turn signal before beginning your maneuver.

Some of the reasons why merging drivers could be found liable for an accident include:

  • Cutting off another driver
  • Not turning on your taillights when driving at night
  • Speeding
  • Hesitating while merging
  • Merging too slowly
  • Not looking for other cars in the lane you are merging into
  • Going too fast for the road conditions, even though you were not going over the speed limit
  • Being distracted and drifting into the other lane

However, the merging driver being at fault is just a general rule. Every accident is different, and the other driver could be found at fault, such as if he or she was speeding or not paying attention because he or she was distracted.

Drivers could also be found at fault for refusing to let other cars merge, tailgating the car in front of him or her, speeding up as cars attempt to merge, or slowing down as cars behind start to merge.

What if Both Drivers are Switching Lanes?

These crashes could happen if there are three or more lanes of travel going in the same direction. For example, an accident could happen if a car in an outside lane moves into the center while a car in the center lane attempts to move to the outside lane.

In these kinds of crashes, both drivers are often found partially at fault, as neither driver had the right of way. Both drivers are obligated to make sure the middle lane is clear before switching lanes.

Since fault can be complicated, it is important to talk to a licensed attorney to find out if you may be eligible to seek compensation. The Phoenix car accident lawyers at Phillips Law Group have obtained millions in compensation for crash victims.

We have extensive knowledge of right-of-way laws and other relevant laws. While you may think you are partially at fault or entirely to blame, it is important to discuss the situation with a licensed attorney. You may be partially to blame, and you may still be eligible to recover compensation.

Tips on Preventing Merging Accidents

There are several steps you can take to help prevent a merging accident:

  • Keep your speed consistent when changing lanes; avoid speeding up or slowing down
  • Make sure to always use your turn signal and give other drivers enough time to see it
  • Avoid tailgating when two lanes of traffic are merging
  • Never come to a complete stop in the merge lane
  • Speed up to match the flow of traffic before you begin to merge

You should be particularly careful when merging onto an interstate or highway. Be careful and wait for a good time to make the maneuver. If another driver is coming on too fast, wait for him or her to pass you before merging.

Call Phillips Law Group Today to Discuss Your Accident

We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to discuss your crash and explain how we may be able to help you.

We have recovered millions in compensation on behalf of car accident victims and hundreds of millions in compensation on behalf of personal injury victims throughout Arizona. This includes $4 million for a crash victim who suffered a spine injury.

We are not paid unless you receive compensation for your injuries and damages. That means there is no risk to you in contacting us.

Phillips Law Group. We are here to help. Phone: 602-222-2222