Car accidents can impact anyone, anytime, for any reason, bringing about potentially devastating consequences.
One common cause of crashes is lane-change accidents. Who is at fault when an accident results from a careless lane change? We’ll explore Colorado laws on lane changes and how to determine who is at fault when a lane-change accident occurs. Finally, we explain how a car accident attorney can help maximize your settlement and protect your legal rights.
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we fight for accident victims and their families. We work to protect our client’s rights and hold at-fault parties accountable. Contact us today.
Colorado Lane-Change Accidents: Who Is at Fault?
Determining who is at fault in a lane-change accident requires looking at the law and the facts. Let’s go over Colorado’s laws regarding lane changes and negligence law.
Colorado Laws on Lane Changes
Colorado has a variety of traffic laws that apply in any given situation. For example, Colorado has special rules about driving on mountain highways. These may come into play if a lane-change accident occurs.
There are steps you need to take in carrying out a lane change or turning the vehicle. For example, if there are people behind or around you, you first need to put on your turn signal to let other drivers know that you will move your car in that direction. As an important but sometimes forgotten reminder, you aren’t supposed to decrease the car’s speed (either by coasting or braking) until after you turn on your signal. Again, this lets the other drivers know that you’re going to move your car and allows them to take precautions and be alert to the upcoming change.
But just turning on your turn signal isn’t enough. You still can’t turn the car or change lanes until it is reasonably safe to do so.
We have decades of experience helping people like you navigate the complex world of car accident cases. Different laws apply at different times, and it’s our job to go through our client’s case with a fine-tooth comb and determine the rights and obligations at issue.
Lane-Change Accident Liability: Establishing Negligence
At its core, determining who is at fault in a lane-change accident requires looking at the facts of the case and figuring out if a driver acted negligently.
Negligence consists of four basic elements:
- Duty of care—You need to show that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care under the circumstances.
- Breach of duty of care—You then must show that the at-fault party failed to meet their duty of care by acting or failing to act a certain way.
- Injury—You need to show that you suffered an injury or damages.
- Causation—You must prove that the at-fault party’s breach caused your injury.
Establishing that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care can be as simple as showing that they were driving near you at the time of the lane change. After all, every driver has a duty to operate their vehicle safely. But sometimes, it can be more complicated. For example, if you’re suing the commercial truck driver and the company, you may need to put forth extra evidence to show that the company was at fault and not just the driver.
Causation can also be a common point of contention. It could be that Driver A (who was changing lanes) didn’t correctly follow the turn signal rules. But, had Driver B not been texting while driving, they would have noticed Driver A and could have taken preventative measures to avoid the accident.
These are just some issues that can come into play in a lane-change accident case.
How an Attorney Can Help You Maximize Your Recovery After a Changing Lane Accident
Being in a lane-change accident can be traumatizing. It can turn your world upside down, causing you to lose out on things that you used to be able to do. Until the case is resolved, the constant worry can eat up your waking life.
But having the right car accident attorney on your side can help ease your financial, legal, and psychological burden.
An attorney performs valuable services such as:
- Communicating with third parties on your behalf—No more worrying about insurance companies badgering you for details or getting you to accept a settlement offer.
- Negotiating a fair settlement offer—A car accident attorney reviews the evidence and the law to determine what represents fair compensation for your physical and emotional injuries.
- Establishing fault—A car accident attorney has the tools to help show who was at fault for the accident. This may require hiring an accident reconstructionist to analyze the factors that led to the crash.
- Going to trial on your behalf—If the other party just doesn’t budge, a car accident attorney can put together a strong case and present it in court on your behalf.
A car accident attorney represents your interests, not the insurance company or at-fault party. They keep you updated as your case progresses, helping to make sure that you are not overly burdened by the case but always understand its status. After an accident, you need space and time to heal from your injuries. A good car accident attorney provides you with this opportunity.
Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C.—Colorado Lane-Change Accident Attorneys You Need on Your Side
Our law firm provides personalized attention and support to each of our clients. We pride ourselves in treating our clients like people, not dollar signs. Clients feel valued at our law firm, and we have the results and experience needed to take on the faceless insurance companies that may try to get clients to accept a lower value than what their claim is worth.
On our team is Eric L. Steiner, M.D., a partner at the law firm who leverages his years as a cardiac anesthesiologist to our client’s advantage. Because of his medical background, he has a unique understanding of the injuries our clients endure. He uses his special knowledge to adequately explain and represent these injuries during a car accident case. Take the next step today by giving us a call or contacting us online.