How Is Fault Determined in a Merging Accident?
Because merging into moving traffic requires skill and judgment, a merging situation can quickly become an accident. Traffic laws differ from state to state, but the merging vehicle is generally considered at fault for merging accidents. This is because merging vehicles have a duty to yield to vehicles already traveling on the road they are trying to join. However, other factors may be considered when determining fault in a merging accident. These include the following behaviors by the non-merging driver:
- Aggressive driving: Although the merging driver must yield to traffic already in the lane, the non-merging driver should also allow them to enter. An aggressive driver may cut them off instead and cause an accident.
- Distracted driving: A non-merging driver who is texting or otherwise distracted from the act of driving may fail to notice the merging vehicle.
- Drowsy driving: Fatigue impairs judgment and reaction times, so the non-merging driver may be unable to adjust as the merging driver enters the lane properly.
- Drunk or drugged driving: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is the cause of many motor vehicle accidents, including merging accidents.
Types of Merging Accidents
There are different types of merging accidents depending on how the vehicles collide. A sideswipe accident happens when the merging vehicle enters the lane without enough room and brushes the side of the vehicle already in the lane. If the merging vehicle enters the lane too quickly and traffic slows down suddenly, it can cause a rear-end collision. A two-car collision can quickly become a multi-car pile-up if traffic moves at high speeds and the merge does not go well.
Injuries From Merging Accidents
The severity of injuries from merging accidents depends on several factors, such as the size of vehicles colliding and their travel speed. A merging accident while entering the highway at high speed can cause severe injuries and significant vehicle damage. Typical injuries from a merging accident can range from minor bruises and cuts to compound bone fractures that require surgery, knee injuries, back injuries, head and neck injuries, spinal cord damage, and internal organ damage. Soft tissue injuries like whiplash are common and can result in a lifetime of chronic pain issues.
Compensation for injuries suffered in a merging accident will depend upon which driver was at fault or if fault for the accident is shared between parties. For help proving fault in a merging accident, contact an experienced lawyer who can investigate the circumstances of the accident and advocate on your behalf.
Alexandria Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Fight for Those Injured in Merging Accidents
If you have been injured in a merging accident, contact the Law Offices of Duane O. King immediately. Our experienced Alexandria car accident lawyers can investigate your accident. Call us at 202-331-1963 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Falls Church, Virginia, we serve clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.