Who Can Be at Fault for a Merging Accident?

Fault for a merging accident depends on the specific situation. Although the merging driver is most often at fault, it is not unusual for both drivers to share responsibility. These types of accidents can result in serious injury or death. While New York and New Jersey are both no-fault states for auto insurance– car crash victims can go outside this system and file a personal injury lawsuit when they suffer serious injuries.

In some types of accidents, determining fault is relatively straightforward. That is often not the case in merging accidents. Since determining fault is frequently complex, seek legal counsel as soon as possible. A car accident lawyer for Rockland and Bergen counties at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. will investigate it thoroughly. Even if you were partly at fault, you might be entitled to compensation.

Merging Accidents Causes

Merging accidents most often occur on interstates and major highways. On heavily traveled roads, these accidents can end up involving several vehicles. The causes may include:

  • Not signaling when changing lanes
  • Crossing multiple lanes
  • Cutting other cars off
  • Speeding
  • Road rage
  • Merger hesitation
  • Distracted driving
  • Slow movement when entering the highway
  • Switching back and forth between lanes
  • Tailgating

Determining Fault

Fault depends on which motorist had the right-of-way. It is generally the non-merging driver– the car already on the roadway.  However, partial fault may occur if the non-merging driver did not adjust their speed to account for the oncoming car– or attempts to prevent the driver from entering the lane.

However, when a car travels faster than the speed limit, it is difficult for a merging driver to ascertain how much time it will take. Whenever the driver with the right-of-way is disobeying traffic laws, the merging driver has a strong claim against not being at-fault.

Usually, physical evidence may determine fault. If the accident was captured by surveillance video, that should establish the sequence of events. Eyewitness testimony is also valuable. Moreover, the type of vehicle damage is another telltale sign.

Merging Accident Prevention

Preventing merging accidents consists of obeying standard traffic laws, such as using turn signals and not speeding or tailgating. However, one of the best ways to avoid a crash while merging is to merge gradually.

Avoid any distractions while driving. While many people consider “distracted driving” synonymous with texting while behind the wheel, plenty of other distractions cause accidents. Do not eat or drink while driving, don’t try to adjust a GPS, or let a dog run loose in the vehicle. A momentary distraction can cause the car to drift into another lane. Further, check rearview and side mirrors to see any cars in the roadway before making the merge. Finally, do not merge over multiple lanes.

If possible, switch lanes when approaching a highway on-ramp. When your car is not in this lane, you are less likely to have an accident.

Merging Accident Damages

Damages, or compensation, in a merging accident may include:

  • Medical expenses, current, and future
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earnings
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the accident date. In New York, the statute of limitations is three years.

Contact us for a free consultation

Suppose you were seriously injured in Rockland County, New York, or Bergen County, New Jersey accident due to another party’s negligence or recklessness. In that case, you need the services of an experienced car accident lawyer for Rockland and Bergen counties at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. Schedule a free consultation by filling out our online form or calling or texting us 24/7.

After reviewing your claim, we will discuss your options. Since all work is done on a contingency basis, you pay no fee unless you receive compensation via a settlement or verdict.