The amount of traffic congestion on New York’s roads and highways makes it imperative that drivers use caution when changing lanes. Not only is this common sense, but it’s also the law. When drivers make unsafe lane changes, however, they imperil not only other motorists but motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Proving that your accident was the result of an unsafe lane change may be challenging, but with Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C., you have a dedicated legal ally working hard for you. If you were injured because of someone dangerously changing lanes, we can help.
The Law About Lane Changes and Why Drivers Violate It
New York’s traffic laws require: “A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.” Simply jumping from one lane to another while disregarding the safety of others is a clear violation of this law that can have disastrous consequences.
If you were the victim of one of these accidents, it will be up to you to explain the series of events leading to the at-fault driver’s unsafe lane change. Doing so begins with an understanding of why these wrecks happen in the first place. These are a few common causes:
Failure to check blind spots. To ensure your vehicle doesn’t run into someone else in the next lane, it is vital that you check your blind spots before moving over. Although many vehicles are equipped with blind spot warning systems, it is still the driver’s responsibility to make absolutely certain he or she can safely change lanes.
Distracted driving. The use of cell phones, talking to passengers, eating and drinking behind the wheel, and other distracted driving behaviors are responsible for many accidents, including those resulting from unsafe lane changes. A distracted driver is far less likely to pay attention to blind spots and may inadvertently drift into an already occupied lane.
Driving under the influence. Anything that delays a driver’s reaction time to changing traffic circumstances is dangerous. Driving under the influence of drugs (legal or illegal) or alcohol makes it easier to unsafely change lanes. Not only can the driver be criminally prosecuted, but the victim can seek monetary damages in civil court.
Aggressive driving. You’ve probably personally witnessed drivers who constantly jump from one lane to another to pass slower vehicles. Combined with speeding, this irresponsible behavior has the potential to cause a massive traffic accident that could cost lives.
Not using turn signals. Simply using a turn signal could tell another driver to at least be aware that you are changing lanes. When a motorist fails to signal, another vehicle can easily wind up in the driver’s blind spot. Always use turn signals when changing lanes so you can protect yourself and others.
Changing more than one lane at a time. A driver should only move one lane at a time, when it is safe to do so. Too many motorists overestimate their driving abilities or incorrectly assess traffic conditions, causing them to change more than one lane at once. Take your time in changing lanes so you can do so safely.
Poor weather conditions. Rain, snow, fog, and other weather conditions reduce visibility and make it harder to safely switch lanes. Not all drivers think to turn on their headlights in these situations so they can make their presence known to other drivers. If the weather turns bad, turn on your lights and don’t forget to use your signals.
Injuries Resulting From Unsafe Lane Changes
While some lane changes result in minor bumps and bruises for the victim, not all do. An unsafe lane change has the potential to trigger a massive, multi-vehicle accident with life-threatening injuries. These are some examples of ways victims can be hurt:
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
In some cases, victims die as a result of their injuries. Our firm represents not only personal injury victims but the surviving family members of those who passed away due to the negligent acts of others. These are known as wrongful death lawsuits.
How Our Firm Can Serve You and Your Family
Our lawyers are dedicated to winning the maximum amount of damages to fairly compensate you after suffering an unsafe lane change accident. When you retain us, we get to work immediately to represent your best interests so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. We will assist with the following, and more:
Investigating how and why the accident happened (separate from any investigation that law enforcement may conduct)
Identifying the negligent driver who unsafely changed lanes
Obtaining evidence to prove the at-fault driver’s negligence, which may include witness statements, surveillance camera footage, blood tests to indicate the presence of drugs or alcohol, etc.
Working with expert witnesses to predict future damages you may incur as a result of the unsafe lane change accident, such as lost wages and medical bills
Negotiating, if possible, a fair settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
If necessary, take your case to court and put our extensive legal experience to work for you
Contact Our Queens Unsafe Lane Change Accident Attorney
Your life and health should not be jeopardized because someone has neglected to use reasonable care while driving. If you were injured due to a driver making an unsafe lane change, let the knowledgeable attorneys of Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. stand up for you. Give us a call today to learn more.