Yellow merge sign on highway

Car Accidents

Who’s At Fault in a Merging Accident?

Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm

Getting from one lane to another can be stressful sometimes, especially when there is a lot of traffic. Whether it’s the highway or a multi-lane road, we’ve all been in a situation where a car tries to merge into our lane without looking.

Fear wells up as you try to avoid a car accident, but sometimes, no matter what you do, you can’t prevent a collision. In these situations, here is how fault is determined in a merging accident.

What is a Merging Accident?

A merging accident occurs when a car moves from one lane to a parallel lane and hits a vehicle already occupying that lane. This can happen because the merging car fails to speed up or slow down enough to miss the car in the lane beside them. They may misjudge the space between the vehicles or not see the other car for various reasons.

There are also times when the car driving in the parallel lane cannot avoid an accident. They may not realize the merging vehicle is trying to move into their lane. This is common if the merging car fails to use a turn signal.

Who’s at Fault in a Merging Accident?

The car that is merging is almost always at fault for a merging accident. The driver changing lanes or coming onto the highway must yield the right of way to the oncoming traffic. They must judge the proper amount of space and speed to safely merge and signal to the driver in the lane they wish to merge into.

However, there may be exceptions. If the car in the lane to be merged into violates the law in some way, such as speeding or driving recklessly, they may be at fault.
Merging accidents are also frequently caused when drivers exhibit road rage because they feel they were “cut off.” The other driver may be partially or fully at fault if this happens.

If both cars try to merge simultaneously, they may be partially at fault.

Texas Law For Merging Drivers

Texas law (Transportation Code Section 545.001) specifies that when a driver merges into a lane, they should ensure they safely clear any other cars in that lane. This applies when passing a vehicle, driving onto a highway, or merging into a new traffic lane.

How To Prove Fault in a Merging Accident

To prove that the other driver is at fault in a merging accident, you need to be able to show the following:

  • They had a legal duty
  • They breached that legal duty
  • Their breach caused the merging accident
  • You suffered damages because of the accident

In a merging accident, the other car owes you a legal duty to drive safely. If someone merges into the side of your vehicle without adequately looking out or signaling, they breach that duty. However, you need proof of those actions.

You can potentially establish a breach of legal duty by obtaining traffic camera footage, dashboard cams, eyewitness statements, and other information. If a semi-truck were involved, its black box would display its maneuvers just before the merging accident. You must show that the other party did something illegal.

Once you show that an illegal act caused your merging accident, you must prove your damages. You can do this with medical bills, lost wage forms, and other information.
The key to proving fault in a merging accident is showing that the other driver failed to comply with the Texas transportation code.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer After a Merging Accident

Merging accidents can be challenging to prove, especially if it’s a matter of “he said, she said.” However, there is likely evidence at the scene of the crash that can be used to support your claims. In West Texas, Call Kemmy Law Firm at 210-750-1019 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.

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When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.