Unsafe lane changing behavior is one of the leading causes of avoidable accidents. Statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III) showed that unsafe lane changing was the third-highest cause of accident fatalities in 2018.
If you or your loved one was seriously injured because another driver changed lanes improperly, you may be able to seek compensation. Car accidents often leave many bills and even life changes for survivors. One of the things that can help you get justice is to hold the responsible parties accountable.
At Morelli Law Firm, we can help accident victims understand and enforce their legal rights. We can assess your case’s facts and advise you on your legal options to pursue justice. Our Buffalo accident caused by unsafe lane change lawyer can file a lawsuit or negotiate with the insurers on your behalf, working to help you pursue fair compensation.
Contact us at (212) 751-9800 for a free assessment of your case.
Causes of Unsafe Lane Changing Behavior Among Drivers
Unsafe lane changing is a moving violation in the state of New York. New York Vehicle & Traffic Law (VAT) §1128 defines the rules for safe lane changing. Drivers must stay within their marked lanes and not move from that lane unless they can do so safely. If a driver changed lanes without ensuring that the change was safe and caused an accident, this may be considered negligent driving.
Still, many drivers do not observe such precautions before changing lanes. Thousands of drivers are killed every year as a consequence, and many more suffer serious injuries. According to a survey of 429 participants conducted by the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (IATSS), more than 50% disclosed that they made a sudden and risky lane change due to distraction. The following are some of the other reasons for unsafe lane changes disclosed by drivers in the survey:
- Talking to a passenger or using a mobile phone
- Rarely or not using turn signals before the change
- Rarely checking their blind spot
Beyond these factors discussed in the IATSS data, other possible causes of unsafe lane changes include low visibility, poor driving conditions, and reckless or aggressive driving.
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Blind Spots and Unsafe Lane Changing
Failing to check blind spots is one significant cause of unsafe lane change accidents. According to the IATSS survey, some drivers even reported that they did not know how to safely manage blind spot concerns when making a lane change. A blind spot is the section of the road that cannot be seen in the rearview mirrors.
Drivers are responsible for recognizing their blind spots and should turn around to check over their shoulder before making any maneuvers to change lanes. Vulnerable road users may be even more at risk of injuries because of blind spots – motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians can be easier to miss than other cars.
If you were injured in an unsafe lane change accident in New York, our Buffalo accident caused by unsafe lane change lawyer can assess your case facts and help you explore your legal options.
Contact us at (212) 751-9800 to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation.
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Penalties and Liability for Unsafe Lane Changes
Apart from civil liability in an accident, a driver who executed an unsafe lane change and caused an accident may receive a ticket for violating any subsections of VAT §1128.
If a driver makes this error for the first time, they will likely receive a lower traffic fine. However, if this is the second or even the third offense for this moving violation, the driver may face steeper fines and penalties. In some cases, they may receive points on their license and other fees.
A lane change moving violation may also be accompanied by reckless behavior or gross negligence. In this situation, the offending driver may be charged with even harsher penalties. Such behavior may include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, aggressive driving, or road rage.
Injuries and Recoverable Losses from Unsafe Lane Change Accidents
The collision speed, point of impact, and the type of vehicles involved in a collision will influence the severity of injuries from unsafe lane change accidents. For instance, collisions with trucks often cause serious injuries to the smaller vehicle occupants. Similarly, a collision at a high speed increases the risk of serious injuries and often causes greater property damage.
Common injuries include:
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and concussions
- Neck and spinal injuries, including whiplash, spinal cord damage, and paralysis
- Lacerations and cuts from glass and metal parts
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
- Chest injuries from airbag deployment
- Fractures in limbs or ribs
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Recoverable Losses After an Accident
The state of New York is a no-fault state with a serious injury threshold. This means that if you were not seriously hurt, you can first claim financial losses like medical expenses, loss of income, and property damage with your insurer.
Only when you are seriously injured can you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This means that your injuries and losses must exceed a threshold of serious injury. However, as the plaintiff, you must prove that the at-fault driver acted negligently and caused your injuries. According to New York Civil Practice Law & Rules (CVP) §214, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the accident date, except for special circumstances that the court will allow.
If you can demonstrate that the other driver was at fault, you may receive compensation for:
- Economic losses like loss of income, medical expenses, cost of ongoing rehabilitation, property damage, loss of value of an asset, and more
- Non-economic losses like physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, emotional distress, and more
A lawyer can help you determine if your injuries make you eligible to pursue further legal action and can help you demonstrate evidence of the other driver’s negligence.
Morelli Law Firm Helps Victims of Car Accidents Caused by Unsafe Lane Change
If you or your loved one were injured in a crash caused by a driver who failed to check before making a lane change, you may be entitled to compensation.
Call our Buffalo accident caused by unsafe lane change lawyer at (212) 751-9800 to schedule your no-obligation case review consultation.