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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Exclamation Who is At Fault for a Lane Change Accident

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: CA

    It was 8am in the morning. I was driving 25mph in the middle lane. The right lane, traffic is slow. It's about 5-10mph.

    I saw there is 3 car spare at the front of a truck, so I merged in while I was signaling it. When my car was almost in (only one wheel is on the line), the front traffic slowed down, so I have to slow down too, but my car is still moving. At this moment, I feel the truck behind me hit my back. After that, I was trying to stop my car, but then the truck hit me again, so I have to keep moving for a little until I'm sure that truck won't hit me again. I get off the car and checked, there is one damage at the corner and one damage at the back bumper at the right side. They are really close.

    The truck driver said I came in too close, but there was enough room and time for him to stop. I mean he was only driving 5-10 mph.

    After that, police came. I saw the report it says it's my fault, but I don't think so.

    It doesn't make any sense.

    In that case, in a slow traffic, I can just slow down, and let a car get half way in and then hit it, so I can get my front bumper fixed for free.

    Please help.

    Thanks so much in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Lane Change Accident - Who's at Fault

    Any witnesses?

  3. #3
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Lane Change Accident - Who's at Fault

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Any witnesses?
    No witness.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Lane Change Accident - Who's at Fault

    Sorry, but without any witnesses to say that the truck driver did anything wrong, the presumption is that you made an unsafe lane change and got hit.

    Had you made a safe lane change you would not have been hit.

    That's the long and short of negligence law.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Lane Change Accident - Who's at Fault

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Sorry, but without any witnesses to say that the truck driver did anything wrong, the presumption is that you made an unsafe lane change and got hit.

    Had you made a safe lane change you would not have been hit.

    That's the long and short of negligence law.
    But it doesn't make any sense. In a slow traffic, anyone can hit your front car who is changing the lane.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2013
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    16,954

    Default Re: Lane Change Accident - Who's at Fault

    Quote Quoting alanw
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    But it doesn't make any sense. In a slow traffic, anyone can hit your front car who is changing the lane.
    It does make sense, just not to you.

    The driver of the vehicle that is already in the lane gets the benefit of the doubt when another car cuts him off suddenly, no matter how slow the speed is.

    That's how it has to be.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
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    28,906

    Default Re: Lane Change Accident - Who's at Fault

    Make your best argument to the insurance company, and cross your fingers.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Lane Change Accident - Who's at Fault

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    It does make sense, just not to you.

    The driver of the vehicle that is already in the lane gets the benefit of the doubt when another car cuts him off suddenly, no matter how slow the speed is.

    That's how it has to be.
    First of all, it is not "suddenly", he had plenty time to react. I just happened to cut his lane when he was distracted.

    Secondly, "benefit" doesn't mean he has the right to hit anyone who is cutting his lane without consequences.

    For law enforcement, that is a easy way to decide who's fault it is, but it is not the right way. We need to know time between the car started cutting the land and when it got hit. If it is longer than the react time (3s, that's plenty) + the time that car behind need to slow down (1-2s), the driver behind was paying NO attention to the road at all, and he need to have full responsibility. It is just impossible to measure.

    In this case, most of my damage is at the back, it means I'm pretty much in the lane. How long does it take for me to move into the slow traffic and reach that position? Longer than what he need to react.

    I didn't do anything wrong, but he was reckless driving. He was pointing a gun to nowhere ready to fire, and I just happened jump right in front of him at that moment without noticing his gun.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    23,956

    Default Re: Lane Change Accident - Who's at Fault

    I have no dog in this hunt. I am in no way involved, and it makes absolutely no difference to me either way. Completely objective, here.

    By your own description of the event, I cannot see any way in which you are NOT at fault.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Lane Change Accident - Who's at Fault

    Let me try this one last time. Rant all you want but this is your reality.

    First of all, it is not "suddenly", he had plenty time to react.
    You were not in his mind, you have no way of "knowing" that.

    I just happened to cut his lane when he was distracted.
    Again, you were not in his mind and you have no "evidence" that he was distracted.

    Secondly, "benefit" doesn't mean he has the right to hit anyone who is cutting his lane without consequences.
    True, he doesn't have the right to do that but you have no "evidence" that that is what he did.

    For law enforcement, that is a easy way to decide who's fault it is, but it is not the right way.
    It's the only way.

    We need to know time between the car started cutting the lane and when it got hit. If it is longer than the react time (3s, that's plenty) + the time that car behind need to slow down (1-2s), the driver behind was paying NO attention to the road at all, and he need to have full responsibility. It is just impossible to measure.
    You're right, it's impossible to measure and, without an exculpatory witness, the presumption works against you.

    In this case, most of my damage is at the back, it means I'm pretty much in the lane.
    "Most of" is not all of. "Pretty much" is not all in. Besides, you originally wrote:

    there is one damage at the corner and one damage at the back bumper at the right side.
    The location of the damage indicates you were only partially in the other driver's lane.

    How long does it take for me to move into the slow traffic and reach that position? Longer than what he need to react.
    Again, and again, there is no "evidence" to support your allegation.

    I didn't do anything wrong, but he was reckless driving. He was pointing a gun to nowhere ready to fire, and I just happened jump right in front of him at that moment without noticing his gun.
    Hyperbole doesn't change the prima facie presumption that you cut him off and caused the collision.

    "Prima facie" means that a fact is presumed to be true unless it is disproved.

    In your case the "fact that is presumed to be true" is that you cut him off and caused the collision.

    Without an independent unbiased witness you cannot disprove that despite all your protestations.

    You don't want to be at fault, you are angry about being at fault, and you'll say anything to impugn the other driver. That's understandable. It's human nature. Which is why negligence law looks at it differently.

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