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I Had A Car Accident When Merging Lanes – Who’s At Fault?

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 12th July 2023. Welcome to our merging traffic accident claims. Car accidents can be devastating, and you’ve been involved and injured in a road accident because of merging traffic, you may not be aware that you could claim compensation for your injuries. In many cases, depending on your injuries and who is at fault, you may wonder how to claim for damages. After all, this compensation could help you carry on after your merging vehicle accident injury. Please get in touch if you require any legal advice.

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A guide to accidents caused by merging traffic

Merging Traffic Accident

Merging Traffic Accident

One of the most common traffic manoeuvres is merging into traffic, but it can also be quite dangerous. Depending on the temperament of the road users, the speed of traffic or a split second lack of concentrate, what should be a simple movement into another lane could cause an accident that has far-reaching consequences.

Suppose you have been injured when a car merged into your lane, or when you merged into another lane, as either a driver or passenger, you may be able to claim merging accident compensation. Here, our definitive guide takes you through the rules on merging, best practice techniques and explains how to ascertain who is at fault for accidents. We also explain exactly what is required to make a claim for injury compensation for your merging injuries.

You can also watch our video below which explains the key takeaways from our guide:

What to do if you are involved in an accident caused by merging traffic

Whether it is on a motorway or other road, merging traffic accidents can be scary. However, it is important to remember to gather all the facts and evidence of what has happened. If you were to pursue a claim when you are ready, you have collected the important information needed to help strengthen your merging traffic accident claims. If you have been involved in a merging accident, try and remember to gather the following:

The other driver’s details – You must take down the other driver’s details, including the vehicle’s make, model, and registration and all the driver addresses, names, and telephone details. If a commercial vehicle is involved, then it is best to get company contact details as well.

Witness details – If other road users have witnessed the incident, which is highly likely in a merging traffic accident, it is important to get their contact details. They may be required to give a witness statement, and this could help your case.

Photographs – Whilst it may not cross your mind initially, you should take photographs of the scene, as well as visible injuries such as bruises, cuts etc., as soon as you can.

Other elements

Expenses documents – Whether receipts for prescription charges or bills from physiotherapists, you must keep all the proof of any out-of-pocket expenses you may have been subject to because of your injuries.

If you have any medical records or reports from after the accident, it would be wise to keep a copy of these too.

If you doubt the evidence you have so far or want to know if something you have can be used to strengthen a claim, then why not call our team. We will happily review your incident and advise on what you need to take a claim forward.

How to begin a merging traffic accident claim

To begin merging accident claims, all it takes is a phone call. We pride ourselves on making our service as stress-free as possible. And we will be happy to take our time to explain the process in full. At that point, you can decide on whether or not you would like to pursue a compensation claim. Firstly, we will offer you a no-obligation free consultation. Here, we will ask you all about the incident and gather together the facts about your case. We can also arrange a local medical appointment, where a professional will assess your prognosis. And we will detail your injuries in full, along with any other medical information you might need.

From here, we will be able to match you with the in-house solicitor that best meets your needs. We pride ourselves on having solicitors who specialise in many different personal injury categories. Once we match you with the best one, they will work hard to secure the maximum level of compensation. Please get in touch if you wish to file merging traffic accident claims.

The rules on merging traffic

Part of the Highway Code (rule 134) states that, in turn, merging is a recommended driving technique, but drivers should only do so, providing it is appropriate and safe to do so. This action must be completed while traffic is moving very slowly.

When this rule is implemented, it’s acceptable for the vehicle looking to move lanes to give way to those already in a lane.

However, the preceding rule (133) highlights how important it is to only proceed with a lane change with extreme caution, care and attention. Mirrors should be checked carefully and the driver glancing sideways to ensure that other drivers or riders are not forced into changing speed or course.

Putting the rules into practice

Each driver will usually assess any merging situation as it happens, relying on common sense to assess whether it would be a wise idea to merge in turn or whether they should prioritise vehicles in the already established lane.

A good example would be if traffic has slowed to a very low speed, and no vehicle would be forced to change speed by the merge, then taking turns may be the most appropriate method.

Sadly, however, in some cases, merging lanes can become somewhat of a tussle, with some drivers preferring to assert their own right of way by accelerating in the established lane. This will usually force the car trying to merge to speed up or slow down. This can lead to dangerous situations for other road users as well as the two drivers involved.

Accidents caused by merging traffic on the motorway

Your merging traffic accident claims may relate to an incident on a motorway. If you’ve been injured in an accident on a motorway involving a merging manoeuvre, then it is likely that you will have been travelling at a slightly higher speed than if you were merging on a road that is not a motorway. The faster you are travelling when merging, the more dangerous this move can be, and if you have been injured as a result of an unsafe merge that was not your fault, the likelihood is that you will be able to claim compensation for your injuries.

One of the most common motorway merge accident occurrences happens on a smart motorway. These types of motorways require different driving practices than those that require merge in turn maneuvres. If you are driving in a lane marked with an X in red above, you are driving illegally. However, more education is required to ensure motorway drivers are all working on the same procedures, depending on the type of road they are driving on and the situation that presents itself.

A car merged into me, can I claim compensation?

Simply put, with an accident while changing lanes, who is at fault depends on who is seen to acting negligibly or dangerously. As there is a certain lack of clear direction within the statute often, each case is assessed on its own merits. Establishing fault in these circumstances will often involve assessing how reasonable the action of each driver is seen to be. If one (or even both) drivers are seen to have acted unreasonably and put other road users in danger, that will imply negligence, and therefore fault on their side.

An example of this would be as follows: if driver A who was merging, did not give way to driver B, who was in the already established lane, and an accident occurred, the burden of fault would usually be on driver A. However, if driver X was trying to merge into an established lane and driver Y was driving aggressively and pulled ahead of driver X to assert their position, causing an accident, then driver Y would be at fault. And if neither driver gave way and the two cars collided, it could be found that both drivers are at fault.

If you are involved in a merging car accident and are not the driver at fault, you would likely have a compensation case, along with passengers in the car if they were injured. If you are not sure who would be seen to be at fault, then do not hesitate to call us. Ask us anything about merging accident fault claims, and we will be happy to help you find out if you could make a claim.

What can be claimed for after an accident caused by merging traffic?

There are several different portions of a claim for compensation after an accident in merging traffic. However, these boil down to a few categories, as follows:

Medical claim –Any medical expenses you will have incurred due to your accident can form part of your claim. Physiotherapy appointments, counselling sessions and prescription charges can all form part of a medical expenses claim.

Care claim – Similar to a medical expenses claim this must be submitted by the person who has had to care for you if you have required care at home whilst recovering from your injuries.

Loss of earnings claims– If you have been unable to work due to your injuries and have lost out on income because of this, it may be possible for you to submit a claim for loss of earnings.

Travel expenses claim– If you have incurred expenses for travel about your injuries, for example, if you have had to travel to a specific clinic, you may be eligible to claim for this.

General damages claim – This portion of your claim will attempt to compensate you for any suffering and pain you have encountered.

If you require any more clarification on what your claim will include or are unclear on what is involved in proving your claim, then our team will be happy to advise you. Simply call us, and we will explain anything you need to know.

The most common types of accidents caused by merging traffic

Whilst every accident is different, a few common types of accidents are more common than others. The most common questions we are asked and the most common types of accidents are listed below:

‘A car merged into my lane and hit me’ – This is an extremely common complaint. If the driver merging into your lane was not paying due care and attention to the road and the positioning of other cars or was trying to merge at speed, then they may be found to be at fault, and you may be able to claim compensation.

‘I was rear-ended while merging’ – This is another common incident. If a driver is not watching the road carefully or speeding up when trying to merge, they may be found at fault for the accident. If so, then you may be able to claim compensation.

I was injured in an unsafe lane change accident as a passenger – This is another common occurrence. If you were travelling as a passenger in a car that merged unsafely and caused an accident, and you wound up with injuries because of this, you may be able to make a change, as the fault was not your own.

Whether you have any questions about the ins and outs of a lane-changing accident, whose fault an accident was, or would like to start a compensation claim, then do not hesitate to call our team. We will be happy to explain how to start or answer any questions you might have.

How Much Are Injuries Caused By A Merging Accident Worth?

Settlements for successful road traffic accident claims may consist of two heads of claim: general and special damages.

General damages compensate for the physical pain and mental suffering caused by your injuries. When valuing this head of your claim, legal professionals may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document provides guideline compensation amounts for various types of injuries.

We’ve provided a few figures from the 16th edition of the JCG in our table below. The amounts are only intended as guidance.

Injury Type Notes Potential Compensation
Leg Amputation (iii) The claimant suffered an above-knee amputation of one leg. £104,830 to £137,470
Severe Neck Injuries (iii) The claimant suffers significant permanent disability and chronic conditions from fractures, dislocations, severe soft tissue damage or ruptured tendons. £45,470 to £55,990
Less Severe Brain Damage The claimant has made a good recovery, although may still have some persisting problems, such as with memory or mood, that interfere with lifestyle. £15,320 to £43,060
Moderate Pelvis and Hip Injuries (i) Although the claimant suffered a significant injury, there is not a major permanent disability. £26,590 to £39,170
Moderate Back Injuries (ii) This bracket includes various injuries, such as ligament and muscles disturbance causing backache and prolapsed discs. The award considers the severity, pain and treatment required as well as the impact the symptoms have on the claimant’s lifestyle. £12,510 to £27,760
Moderate Foot Injuries The claimant suffers permanent deformity and continuing symptoms from displaced metatarsal fractures. £13,740 to £24,990
Simple Arm Fracture (d) The claimant has suffered a simple fracture to their forearm. £6,610 to £19,200
Less Serious Leg Injuries (iii) This bracket includes simple fractures to either the tibia or fibula or soft tissue injuries. Up to £11,840
Whiplash Tariff Symptoms from whiplash along with a minor psychological injury last 18-24 months. £4,345
Whiplash Tariff The claimant suffers whiplash symptoms for 18-24 months. £4,215

Some settlements may also consist of special damages. This head of claim is awarded to compensate for financial losses caused by your injuries. To recover special damages as part of your claim, you should save evidence of your costs, such as bank statements, wage slips and receipts.

Examples of special damages you may be able to recover as part of a personal injury claim for a merging accident include:

  •  Your loss of earnings for time spent off work to recover from your injuries.
  • Medical expenses, including costs towards mobility aids and prescriptions.
  • Travel costs, such as taxi fares.

Whiplash Reforms 

The Whiplash Reform Programme may impact your claim. The Reforms changed how certain claims for road traffic accidents in England and Wales are made. They apply to passengers and drivers aged 18 or over who suffered injuries valued at £5,000 or less, such as whiplash.

A whiplash injury will now be valued in accordance with the fixed tariff amounts found in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. We’ve provided a few examples in our table above. Additional injuries that are not covered by the tariff will be valued traditionally.

Please get in touch with an advisor to learn more about how compensation could be awarded. They can also value your claim.

No Win No Fee merging traffic accident claims

You may have seen the words No Win No Fee before. And many claims companies indeed offer this service. So, we believe you should be able to seek compensation quickly after an accident. And you should not pay any money upfront for doing so. Additionally, we don’t believe you should pay out of pocket for a claim that is not successful. When it comes to our claims service, No Win No Fee means exactly that. You won’t pay any legal fees for your case if it’s unlikely to be successful.

This, we believe, benefits you in more than one way. Firstly, and most obviously, we will only take on cases that we believe to have a good chance of success. So, you will know from the beginning that if we take on your case, it should reach a satisfactory conclusion. If we do not think your case will be successful, we will explain this to you. And we will make you aware of the reasons why we think this way. You may face legal bills when you hire a solicitor charging by the hour, even if you don’t win.

Additionally, we will work as hard as possible to secure the largest payout for your specific situation. We don’t just go for any award. Indeed, we push hard for the highest claim award we can. That’s because we know only too well how this will help you after your accident.

Why choose us as your claims service for a merging traffic accident claim?

Aside from our No Win No Fee service, which we believe offers you the best chance of getting high-quality legal representation no matter what your current financial situation is like, we also pride ourselves on our fantastic reputation amongst our former clients. A lot of the enquiries we receive come from word of mouth recommendations. And we feel there is no bigger compliment than this.

We have assisted thousands of injured people in thousands of personal injury claims, whether on the road as part of a merging accident claim, in a car park, after an accident at work, or in many other situations where they have suffered an injury due to an accident that was not their fault. With this experience, we have built a reputation with our clients and within the industry as having a high success rate when it comes to compensation claims. Our professional and friendly team have been fully trained to deal with even the most sensitive of cases, and we pride ourselves on our ability to put you, the client, first at all times.

Call for free advice and to start a claim

You can begin your claim with a simple phone call to 0800 073 8804. One of our dedicated staff will answer your call. And we will be happy to take details from you and answer your query or start a claim.

Whether you are left confused after an accident while changing lanes about who is at fault in the UK, want to find out whether any evidence you have collated after your accident is useful, or simply want to get started with making a claim, we will be happy to assist you. The earlier you begin your claim, the earlier it could end, so don’t hesitate to call us today. And we will begin fighting for the compensation you deserve for your merging traffic accident claims.

Learn More About Car Accident Claims

Below, you can find more information on making a car accident claim:

Government’s guide to the highway code

The Government’s guide to road use for riders and drivers includes general rules. There is also advice on techniques for different road situations.

HSE road safety

The Health and Safety Executive has produced a page showing road safety legislation for road users. This particular page covers work-related road safety information.

Car Accident Claims

If you’re injured in a car accident that was not your fault, our car accident claims guide may help.

Whiplash Compensation Calculator

Whiplash is one of the more common types of injury after a car accident caused by merging. This guide deals specifically with whiplash claims, offering information and advice for this specific injury.

Other Useful Compensation Guides

Thank you for reading our guide on merging traffic accident claims.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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