Who Is at Fault When Changing Lanes?

Fault for a changing lanes car accident can be a tricky question. Of course, it’s a very significant question when it can impact your ability to claim financial recovery after an accident. Fault for changing lanes often comes down to the facts and what the evidence shows about the accident. Who is at fault for a changing lanes car accident? Our Tampa car accident attorneys explain.

Who Is at Fault for a Changing Lanes Car Accident?

Who is at fault for a changing lanes car accident is the driver who leaves their lane of travel without a clear path to enter another lane. If there is no room for the driver to change lanes, they are at fault if they try to execute the lane change.

It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure the lane is clear more than it is the other driver’s responsibility to avoid a blind spot. Who is at fault for changing lanes is the driver who moves into the lane of travel when there is already a vehicle present.

Who Is at Fault When Changing Lanes?

Who is at fault when changing lanes is the driver who moves into the new lane of travel. When one driver is traveling straight in the lane, and the other driver tries to merge into the lane, it’s the merging driver that has the responsibility.

The driver who wants to merge must be absolutely sure that the new lane is clear. Even though there are blind spots, each driver must check for them. If the driver merges into the lane when another car is there, they are the driver at fault when changing lanes.

Florida Lane Change Traffic Law – Florida Statutes 316.085(2)

Florida law 316.085 is the Florida traffic law for changing lanes.[1] The law says that no vehicle may be driven from the direct course of travel until the driver can ensure that it’s completely safe to move their vehicle.

The driver must stay in their course of travel until they can be assured that the vehicle is not being approached or passed by another vehicle in the lane where the driver wants to move. A violation of Florida law 316.085 for illegal lane changes is a non-criminal moving violation.

Unsafe Lane Change Accident Fault

Unsafe lane change accident fault often comes down to the witnesses and the other evidence available in the case. The driver who is at fault is the driver who moves into the lane where there is another vehicle in the way. The question becomes how to know what driver executes the improper lane change to determine unsafe lane change accident fault.

You can begin by talking to witnesses. The drivers are witnesses, and there may be additional witnesses that were not in either vehicle. Physical evidence is important, too. The location of damage on the vehicles and debris on the road can be used in accident reconstruction. Witness testimony can be compelling.

Unfortunately, the driver who is at fault may try to minimize their behavior. They may try to be completely untruthful, knowing that they are at fault. However, you can fight back. By methodically building your case, you can prove the truth.

Before Changing Lanes

Lane Change and Merging Accidents

Lane change and merging accidents fall under Florida’s no-fault car accident compensation system. When you have minor injuries, you pursue damages through your own no-fault insurance. If you have particularly severe injuries, permanent disabling, or injuries that leave scars, you can bring a claim against the other driver. It’s then that fault comes into play.

You bring your claim for a lane change and merging accident when you have serious injuries and when the other driver is at fault for the accident. To win the case, you have to show that the accident is the other driver’s fault. Building the evidence through witnesses, photographs, and expert testimony gives you what you need to win the compensation that you deserve.

Lane Change Accident Claims in Florida

There may be multiple proceedings relating to a lane change accident. One or both parties may receive a traffic ticket pertaining to the accident. Whether or not the court finds the party responsible for the ticket, you may still have a valid civil claim.

Of course, if the other side is found to be at fault for the ticket, that can be a step in the right direction. However, you can bring a lane change accident claim in Florida regardless of whether the other side receives a ticket and regardless of whether they contest it in court. You can bring your lane change accident claim for compensation independently, even if you disagree with how the police and state attorney handle their accident investigation.

How Can an Attorney Help Me With a Lane Change Car Accident?

You have the right to representation by legal counsel when you bring a lane change car accident claim. The attorney of your choice can represent your interests throughout the proceeding. They provide several legal services, including helping you understand whether you have a claim, filing the claim, building the evidence, and negotiating for compensation.

Because a lane change car accident case often hinges on the evidence, an attorney for car accidents provides a critical service in helping you thoroughly build the evidence. With informed advice, they can ensure that you follow the correct path to resolving your case for as much compensation as possible. Each step of the way, you can know that you’re handling your lane change car accident case in the best way possible.

Contact Our Tampa, FL Car Accident Lawyers Today

Our attorneys handle lane change car accident cases. We’re accepting new cases. Let our team fight for the compensation that you deserve.

Our team believes that determination to succeed and outstanding legal advocacy skills are the keys for each client to win the compensation that they deserve. Don’t wait any longer to receive justice. We offer compassionate, aggressive legal representation for car accident victims in Tampa and throughout Florida. Call today for an immediate consultation about your case.


[1] FLA. STAT. § 316.085 (2019)

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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