Changing lanes demands caution and precision from drivers to avert potential disasters on the road. However, not all drivers exercise due care, leading to hazardous situations and accidents. In the unfortunate event of a car accident while changing lanes, discerning liability becomes paramount to seek appropriate compensation.
If you sustained injuries in an accident in Colorado, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today to schedule your free consultation. Our experienced legal team are knowledgeable and zealous advocates for our clients and their cases. We treat our clients as people, not case files. Learn more about how we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact our Denver law firm to learn more.
Understanding Lane-Change Accidents
Drivers must maintain vigilance and execute lane changes safely to prevent accidents resulting in severe injuries. Colorado Revised Statutes Section 42-4-1007 stipulates that drivers must remain within a single lane until it’s safe to switch lanes. Neglecting this rule or failing to execute lane changes safely can result in collisions.
According to the latest Colorado Driver Handbook, the following steps are recommended when changing lanes:
- Check for Obstacles: Assess for vehicles or hazards in the target lane.
- 360-Degree Awareness: Monitor traffic around, ahead, and behind your vehicle.
- Mind the Blind Spots: Pay heed to blind spots not visible in mirrors.
- Signal Clearly: Use turn signals at least 200 feet or three seconds before changing lanes.
- Execute Safely: Shift lanes only when it’s safe and there’s no obstruction.
- Rearview Check: Verify traffic behind you after changing lanes.
- Turn Signal Off: Deactivate the turn signal after three seconds in the new lane.
Lane-change accidents often stem from driver errors such as speeding, tailgating, reckless driving, or driving under the influence. Neglecting safety protocols or violating traffic laws significantly increases the risk of accidents.
Assigning liability in lane-change accidents can be complex, especially in cases where both drivers were changing lanes simultaneously. Generally, fault lies with the driver(s) who breached traffic laws, acted negligently, or failed to yield. Consulting an experienced accident attorney can provide clarity on legal matters.
For instance, a driver failing to signal lane changes or merging into another vehicle’s path may be deemed at fault. Similarly, a driver entering a highway without yielding or changing lanes recklessly could be held liable. However, if the other driver was unlawfully positioned or distracted, they might share or bear sole liability.
In some scenarios, fault may be attributed to multiple drivers. Colorado’s comparative fault law allocates fault percentages among involved parties, affecting compensation eligibility. An injured party can seek compensation proportional to the other party’s fault, up to a maximum of 50 percent.
Understanding Colorado’s Fault System
Colorado follows a fault-based system, unlike no-fault states where each driver claims benefits from their insurer regardless of fault. Here, determining fault is crucial for filing insurance claims, as compensation is sought from the at-fault party’s insurance. To pursue compensation successfully, proving the other driver’s fault is imperative, necessitating legal expertise or representation. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers today to help you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries and other damages.