Lake Charles Attorneys for Merging Car Accidents
Merging accidents frequently occur when a motorist merges onto a highway from an on-ramp or changes lanes. If you have been injured in a merging accident, you could be entitled to recover compensation for the losses you suffered, including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
To bring a successful claim against the at-fault driver, you need experienced legal representation. The Lake Charles car accident lawyers of Veron Bice, LLC have the knowledge and skills to help you pursue the settlement you deserve. Contact us at 337-310-1600 today for a free consultation.
Causes of Merging Accident Crashes We Handle
With more vehicles on the road than ever before, it is important to familiarize yourself with the causes of merging and lane change accidents. Merging accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Most merging accidents are preventable, and driver negligence is typically to blame.
Some of the most common causes of merging accidents include:
- Distracted driving. Any activity that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or focus off the task of driving is a distraction. Common distractions include texting, talking on the phone, eating and drinking, personal grooming, adjusting the radio, and more. Distracted drivers are likelier to drive recklessly and may merge lanes without realizing it or checking their blind spots for other vehicles.
- Failing to use blinkers. Drivers who fail to use their turn signals when changing lanes can easily cause merging accidents. If a motorist fails to use their turn signals, other nearby drivers won’t know that the driver intends to merge, and an accident can easily occur.
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions. Drivers who speed require more time and space to slow down or bring their car to a stop. A speeding driver may not have sufficient time to brake before causing a collision.
- Cutting across multiple lanes at once. Motorists who cut across multiple lanes at once may not be able to see drivers in the farthest lanes.
- Failing to use lights after dark. Drivers who fail to use their headlights at night can cause merging accidents because they are not visible to other motorists.
- Cutting off other motorists. Motorists who cut other drivers off are much more likely to cause a serious rear-end collision.
Merging irresponsibly is a chief cause of sideswipe accidents. A sideswipe crash occurs when two motorists who are traveling in the same direction collide. The left side of one vehicle “swipes” the right side of another vehicle. Although some sideswipe accidents are minor, they can also result in deadly rollovers.
If you were involved in a merging accident that wasn’t your fault, an experienced merging accident lawyer can help you determine the cause of the crash and build a case against the at-fault driver.
Common Injuries in Merging Accidents
Merging accidents can result in severe injuries, especially if the vehicles are traveling at high speeds. They can also be fatal in some cases. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), side-impact accidents accounted for nearly 23 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in 2019, while six percent of traffic fatalities could be attributed to rear-end collisions.
Some common types of injuries that victims of merging accidents sustain include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. TBIs frequently occur when a driver or passenger bangs their head against a hard surface, such as a dashboard. TBIs can vary from minor concussions to life-threatening brain bleeds. Skull fractures are also common in TBI cases, as are psychological effects.
- Back and spine injuries. Back sprains and strains, fractured vertebrae, ruptured discs, and pinched nerves are all common merging accident injuries. If the spinal cord is severed, paralysis can occur.
- Whiplash. Whiplash commonly occurs in rear-end accidents. When the head and neck jerk violently back and forth, muscles and tendons in the neck and shoulders can tear, resulting in chronic pain and limited range of motion.
- Fractures. Broken and fractured bones can occur virtually anywhere in the body. Common fractures include legs, ribs, elbows, arms, and wrists, which can break when a motorist braces themselves for impact.
- Burns. If a motorist and their passengers are exposed to fuel or dangerous chemicals, they could sustain burn injuries, which can cause permanent disfigurement.
- Internal injuries. Common internal injuries include ruptured kidneys, a ruptured liver, a ruptured spleen, and punctured lungs. Internal injuries might not be immediately apparent, but a physician can detect these injuries before they cause complications.
If you were injured in a merging accident, you should seek prompt medical attention. Most insurance companies require you to be evaluated within 72 hours after an accident, otherwise, they might deny your claim. A car accident attorney can get to work on the claims process for you while you focus on your recovery.
Who Is Liable for a Merging Accident?
Determining liability in a merging accident can be tricky. While the merging driver is at fault in most cases, that isn’t always so. For instance, if a driver decides to merge after determining it is safe to change lanes, but then a speeding driver rear-ends them, the speeding driver could be liable for the merging accident.
A determination of fault can also become complicated if two drivers try to merge into a middle lane simultaneously. In that case, both motorists could potentially be at fault. However, one driver could be more at fault than the other, since other factors may play into the crash. For example, if one of the two drivers recklessly merges across several lanes without stopping, they may be more liable for the accident.
Louisiana is a pure comparative fault state, meaning that you can still recover compensation even if you are found to be partly at fault for an accident. However, the total compensation you can recover will be reduced by the amount of liability you bear. So, if a court finds that you are 40 percent at fault for the accident, you would still be eligible to recover up to 60 percent of your total compensable losses.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you identify the liable party and hold them accountable for their negligence.
Compensation for a Merging Accident
If you were injured in a merging accident, you might be entitled to claim compensation. Many factors come into play when determining how much you are eligible to claim, including the severity of your injuries and property damage. There are two main types of losses you can be compensated for: economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses are financial expenses and costs you incurred due to the accident. Common examples of economic losses include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages from missed time at work
- Reduced earning capacity
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
Non-economic losses include intangible, non-financial losses you suffered in the wake of the crash. Non-economic losses may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
As a reminder, because Louisiana is a pure comparative fault state, your total compensation could be reduced if a court determines that you were partly at fault for the accident. It is critical to consult with a knowledgeable Lake Charles car accident lawyer to calculate the full value of your claim and craft a winning legal strategy to maximize your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Seasoned Lake Charles Merging Accident Lawyer Today
Were you injured in a merging accident in Lake Charles that wasn’t your fault? Contact the Louisiana merging accident attorneys of Veron Bice, LLC to discuss your case. We have the resources to comprehensively investigate your case, determine liability, and pursue the settlement you are entitled to.
Call us today at 337-310-1600 to set up a free, no-risk consultation with one of our attorneys.