Georgia is home to over 7.5 million drivers and over 50,000 miles of roads. Accidents are bound to happen with so many drivers on these roads at once. Unfortunately, too many accidents could be avoided if drivers followed the rules of the road. For example, a driver might change lanes improperly and collide with another car.
The skilled Conyers car accident lawyers at MG Law are here to help if you’ve been in an improper lane change accident in Georgia. We understand the laws regarding traffic safety and fight hard for our clients to hold at-fault drivers accountable after accidents. Please get in touch with us via our online contact form or by calling our office at (770) 988-5252 today to arrange your free consultation.
What Is Improper Lane Change?
An improper lane change occurs when a driver fails to follow specific procedures when transitioning from one lane to another. These procedures notify other drivers of the lane change, allowing them to navigate the road safely.
Georgia law, outlined in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), instructs drivers on how to change lanes. OCGA § 40-6-123 requires drivers to use a turn signal before changing lanes. It also states that drivers cannot suddenly slow down and change lanes.
Even if a driver signals and slows down properly, the law states that the driver cannot change lanes until the lane is clear.
When Are Improper Lane Change Accidents Most Common?
Improper lane change accidents typically occur when drivers are not aware of their surroundings. Some drivers simply don’t pay attention to the road and recklessly cause a collision. Other drivers may check their mirrors, but something prevents them from seeing another vehicle.
Some typical situations that lead to improper lane change accidents include:
- Rain and snow that reduce visibility,
- Curved roads that create blindspots,
- Roadway obstructions, and
- Lane closures due to construction.
Take note that these situations do not excuse drivers from OCGA unsafe lane change laws. Drivers who commit an improper lane change due to reasons like these can still be liable for not safely changing lanes.
Fines and Penalties for Improper Lane Changes
Under the OCGA, failure to maintain a lane may lead to a misdemeanor offense. Violators may need to pay a fine of up to $1,000 or even spend up to 12 months in jail.
Additionally, those guilty of committing an improper lane change can get three points on their license. The Georgia Department of Driver Services states that a driver who gets 15 points in a two-year period will have their license suspended. However, violators can attend a Driver Improvement course to reduce their points.
Compensation for Victims
Victims can receive money for the damages they suffer due to an improper lane change accident in Georgia.
Damages can include:
Georgia also allows for punitive damages for collisions that show malice or willful misconduct. A jury can award these damages to punish the driver’s actions. For example, punitive damages might be available if the driver made an improper lane change intentionally as a result of road rage. The law places a cap of $250,000 on punitive damages awards. However, most traffic accidents don’t rise to this level.
How an Attorney Can Help
It helps to speak with a personal injury attorney after being in a car accident. Their guidance can make a significant difference in your physical and financial recovery.
Attorneys understand the complexities of Georgia’s traffic laws, liability regulations, and insurance practices. They can assess your case and figure out which facts are most favorable to you. After this review, they can advise you on the best strategy for getting compensation.
Evidence can help you win a lawsuit by demonstrating liability, but it takes a trained eye to know what matters most. Your lawyer will review everything from accident reports to witness statements to find relevant evidence. They will then present this evidence in a way that best supports your claim.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Even if someone is at fault, their insurance company will often try to pay as little as possible. They might make lowball offers that don’t fully compensate for your damages. Your attorney will know how to negotiate with these companies to get you a fair settlement offer.
Taking Your Case to Court
While it is rare, some improper lane change claims might go to court. Going to court can be a stressful process, but your attorney will be beside you every step of the way. They will use all the evidence to show how you deserve compensation for your damages.
Contact a Georgia Car Accident Attorney
The attorneys at MG Law primarily handle personal injury claims like car accidents. We know all the tactics insurance companies use to try to underpay plaintiffs. Our award-winning attorneys have received honors like Top 40 Under 40 and Legal Elite, so you can count on us to always deliver outstanding service.