Improper Lane Changes are widespread among drivers and common in New Jersey and across the United States, causing material and physical damages.
A familiar scenario on the road, you are cruising along at a good clip on a major highway when you suddenly slam on your brakes. A driver in the next lane changed lanes right in front of you without signaling or giving you enough room to adjust your speed before they entered your lane. Irresponsible lane changes contribute to vehicle accidents on the road. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributes ten percent of all accidents to illegal lane changes. To avoid such mishaps, drivers must exercise reasonable caution when making a legal lane change. New Jersey defines a legal lane change as one made after the driver assesses the safety of moving from one lane to another (N.J.S.A. 39:4-88).
What Are the Causes of Lane Change Accidents in New Jersey?
Common causes of unsafe lane changes are inattention, distraction, and impairment. For example, when a driver intending to change lanes looks in their rearview mirror only, they may miss the car or motorcycle in their blind spot. Large trucks, buses, and other large vehicles are more likely to have blind spots, where vehicles are undetectable in either rear or side mirrors. A safe lane change involves checking both mirrors and a look over the shoulder for smaller vehicles to confirm a clear lane. And distracted (texting or on the phone), drunk, or sleepy drivers may not even notice their car drifting into another lane. Also, bad weather and bad habits can lead to lane change accidents. For example, hard rain, snow, or sleet can obstruct a driver’s view and cause overall distractedness. And failure to signal a lane change can cause a neighboring vehicle to be unprepared for an encroaching vehicle.
A more innocent reason for lane change accidents is inexperience. For example, new drivers may misjudge the speed of the freeway traffic when they merge from an onramp onto the roadway. This error may cause cars in the lane to stop suddenly, causing rear-end collisions with the cars behind. A new driver may also miscalculate the space they have to merge into the next lane or panic and cross several lanes of traffic to exit the freeway when they notice their exit coming up. And new driver or not, sometimes two cars merge into each other’s lanes at the same time. Other less innocent reasons may be drivers retaliating for being cut off, rushing into the next lane to cut off the offending driver so that they have to slam on their brakes.
Determining Fault in Lane Change Accidents in NJ
In sum, an accident due to an unsafe lane change occurs when two cars collide after one driver fails to stay in their lane until the adjacent lane is clear. The result may be a minor or major injury, depending on how fast each car traveled before the collision. The higher the speed, the likelier the occupants of either vehicle suffer significant injury or death. Typically, the one who negligently merged into the next lane is at fault for property and personal injury damage resulting from the accident. However, negligence is an element the accident victim or attorney must prove to hold the lane-changing driver responsible. An experienced personal injury attorney who regularly represents clients in motor vehicle accidents may hire an accident reconstruction expert to prove the other driver carelessly or aggressively changed lanes without recognizing another driver’s existence and safety. Eyewitnesses to the accident may also be helpful to prove negligence.
What are the Leading Injuries Resulting From Unsafe Lane Change Collisions?
Thus, when a driver crosses a lane divider and causes a rear-end or side collision, the victim may suffer severe injury. The most common injury arising from a lane change accident is whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a driver or passenger’s head snaps violently forward and back from a front end to rear bumper hit. In addition, the injured individual may suffer mild to severe neck injuries. If extremely violent, an accident victim can suffer brain injury from hitting their head against the vehicle window or other items in the vehicle, especially if the vehicle overturns. Concussions or skull fractures can lead to long-term suffering from migraines, light sensitivity, confusion, attention deficit, depression, and infection. A lane change accident can also result in cuts, bruises, burns, and internal bleeding or bruising.
In a severe accident, drivers and passengers in all involved vehicles may suffer injuries. The one who caused the accident and resulting injuries must compensate them. The costs of medical treatment, hospitalization, vehicle repairs, lost income, and pain and suffering measure damages for the injured to be made whole or in the position they were in before the accident. Arriving at that number, establishing fault, proving negligence, and getting an insurance company to pay the damages are all challenges that may discourage an accident victim traumatized by the turn of events. And insurance company adjusters who deal with an unrepresented accident victim may try to lowball the compensatory damages.
How Can an NJ Attorney Help Me when Injured in a Lane Change Car Accident?
For many reasons, people who suffer injuries in accidents caused by unsafe lane changes by other drivers should seek help from a personal injury lawyer. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Our personal injury attorneys at Cohen & Riechelson can benefit you in a multitude of ways as we seek justice and compensation after you have been injured.
For one, we command the attention of insurance adjusters who recognize they cannot bully an attorney into settling a claim that does not adequately compensate our clients. In addition, our personal injury attorneys have successfully litigated cases involving lane change accidents and when suing a negligent driver, we know what it takes to win a personal injury trial award. Before a personal injury claim goes to trial, however, we can work to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company and/or responsible party to deliver maximum financial compensation. In addition, we understand the importance of policy limits, insurer mentality, and legal pressures to apply so that an insurance company and the defendant’s lawyer engage in fair negotiations.
Contact Our Trenton Lane Change Accident Injury Lawyers to Discuss Your Case
If you or your loved one crashed a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle, suffered a pedestrian injury, or bicycle accident injury due to a negligent driver’s unsafe lane change in New Jersey, contact us for a free consultation today. Most importantly, our injury firm can provide invaluable guidance and information so that you feel confident that you are in good hands as you recover your health and financial losses. Do not bear the brunt of another’s negligence. Seek legal assistance when you need it most by contacting Cohen & Riechelson. We assist clients with unsafe lane change lawsuits throughout Mercer County, Hamilton, Pennington, Ewing, Somerset County, and across the state of New Jersey.
Contact our seasoned attorneys by calling 609-528-2596 as soon as you are able after an accident to explore your options and advise you on the next steps to take. You can also make an appointment with our personal injury attorneys at our local offices in Trenton to learn about what you can do to recuperate your losses.