Collision Blame: Determining Merging Accident Liability

One of the essential maneuvers you learn early on when driving is how to safely and effectively merge into another traffic lane. You put your turn signal on, check the surrounding area, and then slowly veer into the desired lane. Simple, right?

Regrettably, not so much. Over the past 50 years, the art of the successful merge has become confused and increasingly dangerous. Instead of a clear and precise technique, merges have evolved into three separate methods:

  • The immediate merge. As soon as you realize you need to merge, you slow down, indicate you’re about to merge and find an immediate opening in which to slide into.
  • The early merge. Maintain your speed while staying in your lane with your indicator lights on. When you see an opening, you slowly ease into it.
  • The late or “zipper merge.” Occupy both lanes for as long as possible and at the point of convergence, you take turns going through. One car from one lane goes through the bottleneck, and then one car from another lane goes through, and alternate from that point onward.

Unfortunately, with three different methods in which to choose, merging cannot only be confusing but also frustrating and dangerous.

Merging Risks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that merging accidents make up nearly four percent of all traffic-related accidents. This means that roughly 250,000 collisions a year occur as a result of adult drivers not being able to follow a simple rule that they should have learned when they were three: how to take turns.

Although sad on many levels, the inability of drivers to safely merge isn’t just ridiculous, but terrifyingly dangerous for you and your family. Since there are no specific traffic laws regarding the “correct” way to merge, drivers are typically left to their own devices and personal preferences on choosing their best merge technique. However, if a driver’s choice causes an accident or results in harming you or your family, he’s liable for the consequences of his choice.

Merging Liability

When it comes to any type of traffic accident liability, blame depends on the circumstances. For instance, when a driver attempts to merge into traffic but accidentally collides into your car instead, you must ask yourself the following to determine who was at fault:

  • Who had the right of way?
  • Were you veering into him or did he veer into you?
  • Were you able to let him in, but chose not to?
  • Did you speed up to close his opening, or did he misjudge the space?
  • Could you have done anything to avoid the collision?

Every one of the above questions can be used to make a case for or against you when it comes to liability. However, by contacting us at the Packard Law Firm, you can ensure that liability is placed where it needs to be and that insurance companies claiming you were at fault will not be able to take advantage of you. Contact us today to set up your free consultation and allow us to clear the lane for a fair recovery for you and your family.