Changing lanes on a busy road can be especially dangerous. Drivers may speed up or fail to use their vehicle’s turn signals to indicate their intent to switch lanes of traffic. Sudden and unexpected lane changes have the potential to cause an accident, resulting in serious injuries and property damage.
Determining fault for these kinds of accidents can be challenging. It often comes down to figuring out whose conduct was the proximate cause of the accident. If you have been in a changing lanes car accident or any other accident due to negligence, our lawyers may be able to help you pursue financial compensation. You can learn more about your available legal options during a free consultation.
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Rules for Changing Lanes on Ontario Roads
The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario defines changing lanes as a movement from one lane to another with two or more lanes in the same direction. Drivers may decide to change lanes to:
- Overtake another vehicle;
- Avoid a road hazard, or
- When they plan on turning at an upcoming intersection
Drivers must properly signal and look to make sure a lane change can be done safely to avoid a car accident. Before making a lane change, check your mirrors for space in traffic. This includes checking your blind spots in the direction of the lane change. Drivers must scan carefully for bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other smaller vehicles before steering gradually into a new lane of traffic.
Drivers must never make any sudden lane changes by cutting in front of another vehicle. This includes avoiding unnecessary lane changes – such as in or near an intersection – or weaving in and out of traffic. These movements can increase the risk of being in a car accident. Unsafe and inconsiderate lane changes are only dangerous but may also trigger road rage in some drivers.
In Ontario, penalties for an unsafe lane change are two or three demerit points added to a driver’s record. A driver will also be required to pay a fine of $85 in addition to a government victim surcharge.
Fault for a Changing Lanes Car Accident
In most cases, the driver who changes lanes is generally deemed at fault in the event of a car accident. Even if the driver signaled, he or she is expected to yield the right-of-way and adjust their speed to find a safe gap in traffic.
When a driver hits another vehicle that is already travelling in the lane of traffic, he or she could be found liable for any resulting injuries and damages. However, some exceptions may exist.
For instance, a driver may have intentionally hit the driver who was changing lanes because he or she thought the driver was cutting him or her off. Perhaps two drivers decided to change lanes at the same time and collided with one another. Two or more drivers in these instances may be at fault.
Fault for a changing lanes car accident often involves several factors. This includes the actions of the driver changing lanes and how those actions are deemed by the insurance company or a court if a lawsuit is filed.
If there is proof that the driver made an unsafe lane change that resulted in a car accident, it may be grounds for a claim of negligence. Proving the other driver was negligent will require adequate evidence. Otherwise, you may not be able to recover full compensation if you suffered serious injuries.
Why Are These Accidents Often Complicated?
These kinds of accidents can be complicated because the vehicles are often pushed into positions that make it difficult to evaluate how the car accident occurred. Courts and insurance companies will look at who had the right-of-way, who was negligent and if there were any credible witnesses at the scene.
This is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer represent you and your best interests. He or she can help you gather the supportive and objective evidence you need. Your lawyer will likely get in touch with anyone who witnessed the car accident for additional insight.
Physical evidence is also critical, such as photos of the accident scene, damages to vehicles and your injuries. The police report may also help, especially if it shows that the other driver was cited for an unsafe lane change.
Your lawyer may even turn to an accident reconstructionist if fault is not immediately clear, there are conflicting details about the cause of the accident or each driver has a different version of events.
Compensation for Accident-Related Damages
Most car accidents generally fall under Ontario’s no-fault insurance system. All drivers involved will process individual claims through their own insurance companies to get coverage for their damages.
However, if you suffered serious injuries that exceed the limits of your policy, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver.
You can expect pushback if you decide to take legal action against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company. The at-fault driver will try to downplay his or her actions and role in the car accident. The insurance company will use any tactics at its disposal to devalue or deny your claim.
Your lawyer can help you build a strong case to maximize your recovery. You may be eligible to receive compensation to help cover medical expenses, wages lost from missed work and other related costs.
Get Answers to Your Legal Questions
If you have been harmed in a car accident, we recommend reaching out to a Windsor-based auto accident lawyer. We are ready to conduct an accident investigation and fight for your rights.
Our initial consultations are completely free and confidential. There are no upfront fees to hire our firm. We only get paid if we successfully obtain compensation through a settlement or verdict.
Call Us Anytime, Day or Night: (866) 320-4770