wolterman conference room

A decade of friendly,



Home » Blog » Car Accident » Who Is Liable for a Merging Car Accident?

Who Is Liable for a Merging Car Accident?

Our Cincinnati Car Accident Lawyers at Wolterman Law Office Represent Victims of Merging Car Accidents

If you are entering a busy highway, navigating a traffic circle, or trying to merge into another lane of traffic, there are merging laws in place that are meant to keep traffic moving smoothly and prevent car accidents. While merging onto a busy highway can be overwhelming, particularly during peak traffic hours, all motorists are responsible for understanding the rules of the road, including who has the right of way when merging. That includes entering a highway, navigating a traffic circle, or merging into another traffic lane.

Whether you are the merging driver or already in the traffic flow and another vehicle is trying to merge, all motorists are responsible for yielding to the right of way and paying attention to other motorists trying to merge. The following are some of the common scenarios where the merging driver is liable for a merging car accident:

  • Merging onto a highway too slowly.
  • Driving too fast when merging onto a roadway.
  • Cutting off another vehicle.
  • Failing to check for vehicles in the other lane before merging.
  • Failing to use the turn signal.
  • Hesitating when merging.

The non-merging driver may also be liable in a merging car accident. The following are examples of situations where the non-merging driver may be at least partially at fault for a merging car accident:

  • Purposefully accelerating so the merging driver cannot enter the traffic flow.
  • Failing to adjust speed allows the merging driver to enter the travel lane.
  • Failing to slow down.
  • Tailgating the vehicle in front, making it impossible for the merging driver to enter the lane.

If two vehicles attempt to change lanes at the same time, both motorists may share liability. This generally occurs on highways with three or more traffic lanes, where the car in the right lane moves to one of the middle lanes at the same time as a vehicle traveling in the left lane. The following are common reasons why motorists fail to make sure that the middle lane is clear before changing lanes:

  • Failure to look at the vehicles that are two lanes over before moving into the middle lane.
  • Failing to notice the car two lanes over has its turn signal on and is in the process of loving into the middle lane.
  • Trying to cross multiple lanes without pausing between each lane change.
  • Trying to get ahead of traffic by switching back and forth between multiple lanes.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Merging Accidents?

Merging accidents are generally avoidable if motorists pay attention to the other drivers in the vicinity and use extra caution when merging with other vehicles with the right of way. The following are some of the most common causes of merging accidents:

  • Lack of signaling: Whether you are entering a highway or changing lanes, you must always use your signal to alert other motorists that you are going to be changing lanes or merging into traffic. This gives other drivers the opportunity to move into another lane and allows you to merge safely.
  • Speed differential: When entering a highway where vehicles are already traveling at high speed, it can be difficult to find an opening in the traffic flow where you will have enough time to accelerate and match the speed of other vehicles. Generally, you should accelerate on the ramp to reach the speed of highway traffic, then merge into the right-hand lane when it is safe to do so.
  • Aggressive driving: Tailgating, cutting off other drivers, changing lanes without signaling, speeding, and road rage are all examples of aggressive driving. This driving behavior can make it more difficult to merge safely and increase the risk of a serious merging car accident.
  • Distracted driving: Talking on the phone, texting, checking social media, reaching for something in the back seat, and any other behavior that takes your attention away from the road can increase the risk of an accident. It also impairs your ability to safely merge or allow another vehicle to change lanes or merge into traffic.

What Should I Do If I Was Injured in a Merging Car Accident?

The moments following a merging accident can be overwhelming and chaotic, particularly if you suffered injuries. However, if you keep the following tips in mind, the situation can be much less stressful, and you are more likely to have a successful settlement outcome:

  • Move to a safe location. If the merging accident occurs on a busy highway, moving to a safe place out of the traffic flow is essential. Turn on your hazards to alert oncoming vehicles.
  • Call 911. Report the accident to the police as soon as possible, particularly if there are injuries and significant property damage.
  • Get immediate medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, you must be examined by a medical professional to correctly diagnose your injuries and get the necessary treatment.
  • Document the scene. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, your injuries, any debris or skid marks on the road, and any other evidence that will help support your claim.
  • Contact a car accident lawyer. If you are injured, an experienced car accident lawyer will help you recover the damages you are entitled to.

Our Cincinnati Car Accident Lawyers at Wolterman Law Office Represent Victims of Merging Car Accidents

If you were seriously injured in a merging car accident, do not hesitate to contact our Cincinnati car accident lawyers at Wolterman Law Office. We will walk you through every step of the claims process. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 513-488-1135 or contact us online. Our office is located in Loveland, Ohio, and we serve clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.