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  1. #1

    Default Lane Change Accident, 100% My Fault

    My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: CA.

    I was driving north on a Main Street. To give you an idea, this street has four lanes, two going north and the other two going south. I was driving on the far right side lane around 1p.m.. As I kept driving, the car in front of me signaled that he/she was moving to the left lane because cars were parked on the lane we were driving on. During peak hours, cars may not park on the street. Having no other choice but to move, I signaled that I was going to merge onto the left lane. I noticed there was enough room to go into the left lane but realized the car approaching was not going to let me. I stepped on the brake, not knowing how much I had merged into the lane. All I heard was a screech and saw the other car driving away as his passenger rear view mirror hit my rear view mirror on the driver's side. We stopped to exchange information. The only damage he sustained on his car was a minor scratch on the back side of his passenger rear view mirror. I, on the other hand, have a deep scratch on my driver side door and rear view mirror. I called the insurance and according to my insurance, it's 100% my fault. Is it true? Should I just accept it was my fault even though my car sustained more damage than the other car?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,646

    Default Re: Lane Change Accident, 100% My Fault

    Yup, it's your fault. You failed to ensure it was safe to change lanes. Fault is not determined by who sustains the most damage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,170

    Default Re: Lane Change Accident, 100% My Fault

    Although the actual cause for the accident can be contributed to 2 actions on your part, first, you miscalculated the amount of room available for you to change lanes, so don't just assume that just because you signaled that the other driver must allow you entry into the lane; and two, (and this one I could never figure out) you saw him approaching and instead of trying to get out of his way, you step on your brakes!!!

    Now, while you could not be cited for this, your insurer has to include some sort of violation on its report to the DMV, and so here are two vehicle code sections to support your insurer's finding:

    You were attempting a lane change and since you started it but never completed it, you could be considered at fault for an unsafe lane change VC 22107, and/or failing to signal for 100 feet before affecting movement VC 22108 or both:

    22107. No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

    22108. Any signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.


    However, there is room to argue that neither of the above code section can be cited as the proximate cause for a collision if/when there was only property damage and no injury or death, then you will most likely see the following code section being reported to the DMV as cause for the collision. Since you had not completely taken possession of the lane, and instead you were hanging over both the right lane and the left lane (commonly referred to as "lane straddling"), you would be in violation of:

    21658. Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction, the following rules apply:

    (a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.

    (b) Official signs may be erected directing slow-moving traffic to use a designated lane or allocating specified lanes to traffic moving in the same direction, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of the traffic device.

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