Who’s At Fault for a Lane Change Accident in Illinois

Posted in: Car Accidents

Were you sideswiped, rear-ended, or otherwise crashed into in a lane change accident? Unfortunately, these dangerous accidents are not uncommon. Statistics show that nearly 10% of car crashes nationwide are due to unsafe lane changes or merging. On Illinois highways, sideswipes account for thousands of injury accidents every year.

After a lane change accident, you are probably faced with medical bills, property damage costs, and many other expenses. But you shouldn’t bear the cost of another driver’s negligence. Learn how an Illinois personal injury lawyer can help you hold a negligent driver accountable.

What Causes Lane Change Accidents?

Lane change and merging accidents happen in various ways, including when drivers:

  • Text or talk on cell phones
  • Drive distracted
  • Do not carefully check their mirrors or blind spots
  • Merge too quickly or slowly
  • Move quickly across multiple traffic lanes
  • Do not use their turn signals
  • Drive under the influence

If you believe another driver contributed to your accident, you should act quickly to secure a possible lawsuit.

How Is Fault Determined in a Lane Change Accident?

Generally, the driver who is changing lanes or merging is at fault. Illinois law says that drivers can only change lanes when they have ascertained that it is safe to do so. They must also signal before changing lanes.

There can be some situations where the driver who was not changing lanes is at fault or shares fault. For instance, a driver could share fault if they suddenly slammed on their brakes for no reason or were speeding.

Damages Available After a Lane Change Accident in Illinois

Illinois is an at-fault insurance state. This means that the driver who caused the accident must pay for the victim’s damages. You must prove the other driver was responsible for the accident, which will require a careful investigation of your case.

Once fault is established, you could collect compensation for damages that may include payment for:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Permanent or temporary disability

Can I Share Fault for My Accident?

You can share fault and still collect damages. Illinois is a modified comparative negligence state. You can collect compensation if you were less than 50 percent responsible for causing the accident.

However, any money you collect will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 25% at fault, your settlement or award would be reduced by that percentage. If you won a settlement of $100,000, you’d receive $75,000. Talk to your attorney about maximizing your possible compensation.

Protecting Your Lane Change Accident Claim

There are steps to take immediately following your lane change accident for your own health and to protect your claim. They include the following.

Get Medical Care Right Away

If you were seriously injured, you were probably taken to the emergency room. If you were not taken by ambulance, be sure to see a doctor. Injuries are not always immediately obvious. Your medical records will also be necessary evidence for your claim.

Collect Evidence at the Scene

You are required by law to call the police to report an injury accident. The police report will be part of the evidence for your case. Also, be sure to exchange insurance, driver’s license, and contact information with the other driver. If there were eyewitnesses, get their phone numbers. Take photographs or video of the scene and vehicles involved.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Even if the other driver caused the crash, notify your own insurance company. If you weren’t at fault, the other driver’s insurance will pay your claim, but both companies will investigate to determine fault.

Call a Car Accident Attorney

A car accident attorney can provide invaluable support, especially in serious injury cases. Your attorney will help you determine the value of your claim, will negotiate with the insurer to get you the full compensation you need, and will represent you in court if a fair settlement offer is not forthcoming.

Car Accident Lawyer Answers FAQ’s

Do I need a lawyer for an insurance claim?

You are not required to hire a lawyer, but insurance companies rarely pay settlements willingly. Working with experienced Illinois attorneys can improve the odds of getting the compensation you need to recover after a lane change accident.

What kind of injuries happen in lane change accidents?

Types of injuries that can happen include traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, spinal cord damage, bone fractures, organ damage, internal injuries, and soft tissue damage. The most severe injuries can affect you for the rest of your life and result in costly medical bills.

How long will it take to resolve my merging accident claim?

How long your claim takes to resolve depends on all the circumstances. Factors such as the strength of the evidence, the severity of injuries, how many cars were involved, and whether the claim can be fairly settled with the insurer will all impact how long it takes. Typically, if an accident case goes to trial, it will take significantly longer to resolve than if it can be settled.

Call an Illinois Merging Car Accident Lawyer Today

You should not pay the financial price if another driver unsafely changed lanes and injured you. After all, you are already paying a high physical and emotional cost.

At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., in Illinois, our highly knowledgeable attorneys have an extensive record of getting maximum compensation for injury victims. We want to help you too. Contact us at (888) 988-7612 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced merging car accident lawyer.