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Who Is At Fault in a Car Accident While Changing Lanes?

Posted on June 17, 2021 in

Car accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, from driving under the influence to speeding and distracted driving. Many collisions occur due to unsafe lane changes, or a driver’s failure to check that a lane is clear before merging. If you are involved in this type of collision, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the other driver. However, you will need to prove that he or she caused the accident to secure compensation.

Who Is At Fault in a Car Accident While Changing Lanes?

Oregon’s Fault Insurance Laws

Oregon is a fault-based insurance state, meaning that drivers who are responsible for car accidents must pay for their victims’ losses. These victims may include other drivers, their passengers, and any pedestrians in the area. To uphold this financial duty, Oregon requires all drivers to hold the following minimum amounts of liability insurance.

  • $25,000 in bodily injury or death liability per person per accident
  • $50,000 in total bodily injury or death liability per accident
  • $20,000 in property damage per accident
  • $15,000 in personal injury protection insurance per person
  • Uninsured motorist coverage in the amounts of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident

If you are in an accident caused by someone else, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against him or her to recover compensation. If the at-fault driver does not have the required insurance, you could also file a claim under your own policy.

Liability in an Unsafe Lane Change Accident

Many factors can lead to a changing lane accident. For example, a driver may be texting on his or her phone and fail to check that the lane is clear before merging. A driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and swerve into a lane due to impaired function. A bicyclist may be in the way and the driver is trying to avoid a bicycle accident in Portland. In some cases, the driver may simply fail to yield the right of way and collide with an oncoming vehicle in the next lane.

Understanding the cause of a changing lane accident is important. By proving that the other driver caused the accident, you can establish his or her liability and hold him or her accountable for your damages. To establish liability in a changing lane collision, you will need to provide enough evidence to prove four key elements.

  • The other driver owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. All drivers have a duty to follow all traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely.
  • The other driver breached his or her duty of care to you through a negligent act or failure to act. For example, driving under the influence or speeding is a breach of duty. Failure to check that a lane is clear before merging is also a breach of duty.
  • The other driver’s breach of duty caused your accident. You can use multiple pieces of evidence to establish this causation, including surveillance footage, police reports, and witness testimony.
  • You sustained damages in the accident that you can recover in your claims, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.

While these elements may seem straightforward, proving a car accident claim for an unsafe lane change can be complex. Hiring a Portland car accident attorney to represent your case can help you identify the cause of the collision and prove your right to recovery. As soon as possible following your collision, contact a lawyer to discuss your case and the optimal path to compensation.