Establishing Liability for an Accident When Merging or Changing Lanes

merging or changing lanes on wisconsin roadwaysMerging onto a highway or changing lanes on a busy road can be quite dangerous. Drivers may speed up or not use their turn signals when approaching multi-lane roads or when switching lanes. Unfortunately, these actions could potentially result in an accident, causing serious injuries and significant property damage.

Read on to learn more about how liability in these accidents is established and what damages you may be able to obtain compensation for. Do not hesitate to contact a Green Bay car accident lawyer from our firm to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your claim further.

Why a Merging or Lane-Change Accident Occurs

Accidents when merging or changing lanes can occur for many different reasons. Drivers could misjudge the distance between cars or the nearest car to merge or enter a lane. Drivers could also fail to safely merge into traffic, causing them crash into another car.

Other ways an accident can occur when merging or changing lanes include:

  • Merging too slowly or quickly from the on-ramp
  • Changing lanes but failing to use a turn signal
  • Going across multiple lanes of traffic at one time
  • Cutting off other cars

These accidents can cause a variety of injuries, including:

  • Whiplash
  • Fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Brain trauma

Who Could Potentially Be Held Liable?

In most cases, the driver merging or changing lanes is deemed liable in an accident. Wisconsin law states that a driver entering a highway are required to yield the right-of-way to all approaching cars already traveling on the highway.

This means that drivers merging onto U.S. 141 or I-41 in the Green Bay area and elsewhere in the state do not have the right-of-way and are required to adjust their speed to find a safe gap in traffic.

Driver who do not drive at the appropriate speed or hit others car already in a traffic lane could potentially be held liable for any accidents that cause injuries and damages.

However, there are a few exceptions. For instance, a driver may have been aggressive and purposely hit a merging driver because he or she believed the driver was cutting him or her off.  A driver may have been changing lanes at the same time another car was also attempting to merge. 

Additional exceptions may include drivers speeding, driving in a distracted state or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. More than one driver could be liable in these situations.

Not every accident is the same, which is why it is in your best interest to have your claim evaluated by an experienced lawyer. He or she can help determine the cause and liability associated with the crash.

Avoiding a Crash When Merging or Changing Lanes

As a matter of public safety and courtesy, Wisconsin drivers on multi-lane roads are encouraged to change lanes or adjust their speed to create space for merging cars, but it is not a legal requirement.

When merging onto a highway, you should try to be at or near the speed of approaching cars, use your turn signal and avoid squeezing into a gap in traffic because it gives other cars less time to react. 

Most accidents happen when drivers try to force their way into traffic instead of yielding the right-of-way. To help avoid being involved in a merging or lane-change accident, be sure to:

  • Use your turn signal to show your intent to merge or change lanes
  • Gradually merge or change lanes to not startle other drivers
  • Switch lanes to get out of the merging lane if you have space to do so
  • Maintain a safe distance to allow other drivers to merge or change lanes 

Speak to a Licensed Attorney Today

If you have been injured in an accident, our attorneys at Sigman Janssen are available to assist you. We are ready to investigate what happened, establish who was most likely liable and handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company to seek fair compensation for you.

An initial consultation is 100 percent free with no obligation to move forward. We charge nothing up front to utilize our services and only get paid if we help you obtain compensation.

Sigman Janssen. A Firm You Can Trust. Ph: (877) 888-5201