As an unsafe lane change accident attorney in Los Angeles, I know that, despite Mayor Garcetti’s Drive to Zero initiative, traffic accidents in Los Angeles have been increasing. In 2016, for example, 260 people were killed in Los Angeles accidents. The city also experienced an overall increase of 7 percent in the total number of vehicle collisions from 2015 to 2016 with a total of 55,350 collisions happening in 2016. Across the state, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 3,623 people were killed in 2016, which was a significant increase over the number of people who died in 2015.
Part of the increase can be attributed to an increased number of vehicles on the roads. Because of the traffic congestion in and around Los Angeles, some drivers make unsafe lane changes. When a driver suddenly changes lanes with little warning, they may collide with other motorists or cause the motorists who are present in the lanes to swerve into traffic in order to avoid being hit. Unsafe lane change accidents can cause serious injuries or fatalities, and they are especially dangerous for motorcyclists.
Causes of unsafe lane change accidents
An unsafe lane change occurs when a motorist enters into a lane abruptly and either collides with another vehicle that is already present in the lane or creates dangerous situations for motorists in that lane. Some of these incidents happen when a vehicle is trying to enter into a lane next to them or when they are merging onto a highway from an entrance ramp. Unsafe lane change accidents may be caused by several different negligent driving behaviors, including the following:
- Failing to use a turn signal when changing lanes or when turning
- Failing to see a vehicle in the adjacent lane
- Misjudging the speed of a fast-approaching vehicle in an adjacent lane
- Failing to check blind spots before changing lanes
- Attempting to change lanes at intersections
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Falling asleep behind the wheel
- Two vehicles attempting to merge into a middle lane between them simultaneously
In some cases, a motorist who is present in a lane when another vehicle suddenly moves into it may be forced to swerve left, causing him or her to have a collision with a third vehicle.
Unsafe lane change motorcycle accidents
Unsafe lane change accidents involving motorcyclists may be especially serious. Motorcyclists have little to protect them from the forces of collisions. In many cases involving motorcyclists, the drivers fail to notice the motorcyclists that are present and change lanes, striking them. Drivers are supposed to check their blind spots and use their turn signals when they are changing lanes. Unfortunately, many drivers simply fail to drive with reasonable caution and switch lanes unsafely, endangering motorcyclists who are present in the lanes. Some of these accidents also happen when motorcyclists are lane-splitting, which is legal to do in California. In these types of accidents, the drivers do not check their blind spots and attempt to change lanes, colliding with the motorcyclists who are riding next to them.
Liability issues in unsafe lane change accidents
Under California Vehicle Code § 22107, motorists are not supposed to change lanes or to turn until it is reasonably safe for them to do so. They are also mandated to use their turn signals so that other drivers are alerted to their intention to change lanes. When a motorist changes lanes unsafely, there may be complex liability issues. There may be multiple vehicles involved such as when a motorist swerves to avoid the vehicle entering his or her lane and collides with traffic to the motorist’s left. Many unsafe lane change accidents also occur at high rates of speed, resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. When these accidents happen, it may be necessary to hire an accident reconstruction expert in order to prove the liability of the motorist who suddenly changed lanes when it was unsafe for him or her to do so.
Unsafe lane change consequences
Unsafe lane changes may cause other vehicles to lose control, roll over or collide with other vehicles. These accidents may also cause serious injuries, including the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
It is possible to hold the responsible motorist liable to pay damages when their negligence has resulted in your injuries and losses. Some of the damages that might be available to you include your medical expenses, income losses, future losses in your ability to earn a living, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and others.
Contact an experienced Los Angeles unsafe lane change accident lawyer
Being injured in an accident that was caused by a motorist who changed lanes unsafely can be life-changing. Because of the complexities of these types of accident cases, it may be best for you to seek help from an experienced accident lawyer in Los Angeles. Your attorney may work with accident reconstruction experts, investigators and others to build a case for you that clearly demonstrates the liability of the motorist who caused your accident. This may help you to recover the maximum damages so that you are fairly compensated for the losses that you have suffered. Contact our law firm today to schedule your consultation so that you can learn more about the rights that you might have.