What Is an Improper Lane Change in Georgia?
A driver makes an improper lane change in Georgia when the driver changes lanes in a manner that puts the driver and others at risk of suffering serious injuries in an auto accident. If you have suffered harm in a crash that another driver caused by making an improper lane change, you should protect your right to obtain just compensation by getting in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer.
At Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, our lawyers focus on providing personalized service and smart legal strategies for car accident victims and their families in Norcross and throughout the Greater Atlanta area. It is how we have recovered more than $150 million for our clients. To discuss how we can put our experience to work for you after your improper lane change accident, call or reach us online today. We will review your case in a free, no-risk consultation.
When Does an Improper Lane Change Occur?
An improper lane change can happen in many different ways. For example, a driver may change lanes without:
- Checking mirrors for other cars in nearby lanes
- Leaving sufficient distance from other cars
- Yielding when the driver lacks the right of way
- Making a complete change (in other words, the driver straddles lanes).
A driver can also make an improper lane change if he or she changes lanes:
- In a “do not pass” area
- On a hill or curve where the driver is unable to see other cars
- In weather conditions such as ice, fog or heavy rain where the lane change is simply unsafe.
In many cases, the driver’s lane change violates Georgia law. For example, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-123(b) requires drivers to signal their intention to change lanes. The driver must give the signal, using lights or hand-and-arm signals, continuously for a period of time that is sufficient to alert drivers in the rear or those approaching from the opposite direction.
Many crashes occur in the Norcross area when drivers ignore this law and change lanes without giving any warning to others on the road. After all, if a driver has no idea that you are going to change lanes, the driver typically will lack sufficient time and distance to stop, slow down, swerve or take other actions in order to avoid a collision. In these situations, the driver who failed to signal the lane change may be deemed to be negligent as a matter of law, or negligent per se.
How Do You Prove an Improper Lane Change?
If you are involved in a crash that another driver causes by making an improper lane change, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your vehicle damage, medical bills, lost income and other damages. However, you will need to prove that the lane change did, in fact, occur and cause the collision. This task can be a challenging one.
At Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, our legal team knows how to investigate auto accidents. We can get to work right away on obtaining and analyzing evidence which can establish whether an improper lane change occurred such as:
- Witness statements – If others saw the accident happen, they can state either in an affidavit or deposition whether they saw the driver use a signal before changing lanes or otherwise make the lane change in a careless or reckless manner. A witness statement can serve as direct evidence of an improper lane change.
- Accident scene photos – Photos which show damage to the vehicles or marks in the road may serve as circumstantial evidence that the other driver improperly changed lanes. In other words, one could infer from the photos that the driver changed lanes in a manner that led to the accident.
- Camera footage – You may be surprised at how often cameras capture auto accidents. The footage could come from a security camera at a local business, red light camera or a dash-cam.
- Black box data – Today, event data recorders (EDRs) collect a great deal of information, including whether a driver engaged a left or right turn signal at the time a crash occurred.
As we have seen over the years at Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, it is often several pieces of evidence which, viewed together, establish that an improper lane change happened. We often work with accident reconstruction professionals who know how to piece together evidence and determine the cause of crashes.
What Should You Do If a Driver’s Improper Lane Change Causes a Crash?
If you are involved in an accident with a driver who made an improper lane change, you should take immediate steps to protect your right to be fully and fairly compensated for your injuries and other losses. Those steps include:
- Gather and keep all of your information – You should track down and keep everything related to your accident in a safe place, including crash scene photos, medical bills, car repair receipts and any letters or e-mails that insurance companies have sent to you. Also, if you have a dash-cam, make sure that you do not delete anything it may have captured.
- Get medical attention – If you wait too long to see a doctor and get checked for injuries, you will endanger your health. An insurance company could also use the delay to argue that the accident did not cause your injuries or contend that your injuries are not serious.
- Give notice to your insurance company – Your insurance company may require you to report your accident within a certain timeframe after a crash occurs. You should comply with this policy in order to protect your ability to file a claim with the insurer down the road, if necessary. For instance, the driver who caused your accident by making an improper lane change may have fled the scene. As a result, you may need to file a hit-and-run accident claim with your insurer.
- Refrain from talking with the other driver’s insurer – If the other driver’s insurance company calls or e-mails you, the best thing to do is to refer the insurer to your attorney. You should never give a statement or accept a settlement offer until you talk with a lawyer first.
Our Norcross Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You
In addition to the above steps, you should contact Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, as soon as possible after an improper lane change accident. We can launch an immediate investigation of the crash. We will work quickly and efficiently to preserve, gather and analyze evidence that establishes how the accident happened and who should be held liable for it. To learn more, call our Norcross or Athens locations or reach us online today and receive a free consultation about your case.
Kevin Adamson is a former college baseball player who brings a competitive spirit to personal injury trials and settlement negotiations. Kevin played baseball at LaGrange College and went on to earn his MBA from Lynchburg College and his J.D. from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Since 2001, he has focused on personal injury law and secured numerous six- and seven-figure results for his clients. He is also a registered arbitrator and mediator with extensive experience handling contract negotiations for a variety of professional services, including athletic contracts. Kevin also owns his own airplane and makes frequent use of it for his law practice, which has taken him to 18 states.