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What to Know About Unsafe Lane Change Accidents in Colorado

Changing lanes is an action that must be taken with due caution, care and respect for Colorado’s related traffic laws. If a driver carelessly switches lanes on a highway in Colorado, it could result in a disastrous car accident. This type of accident can typically be avoided and may give a victim the right to file a claim against an at-fault driver.

What Are Colorado’s Laws on Lane Changes?

All drivers in Colorado have a responsibility to reasonably prevent automobile accidents. This legal obligation, known as a duty of care, requires drivers to pay attention to the road, obey all traffic signs and signals, and follow roadway rules when changing lanes. The main state law to help prevent lane-change, merge and sideswipe accidents is Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1007.

This law states:

  • Section 42-4-1007 – Driving on roadways laned for traffic
  • (1) Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic, the following rules in addition to all others consistent with this section shall apply:
  • (a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.

Drivers in Colorado only have the right to switch lanes when it is safe to do so. Drivers should change lanes by using a turn signal to indicate their intention, checking their rearview and side mirrors for vehicles in the destination lane, physically checking blind spots, altering their speeds to match the speed of traffic in the destination lane, and changing lanes smoothly only when it has been ascertained that the way is clear.

Common Causes of Lane Change Accidents

Lane-change car accidents often trace back to driver error. Drivers can make careless and reckless mistakes that greatly increase the odds of these collisions.

Examples include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Weaving in and out of multiple lanes
  • Driving under the influence
  • Failing to use a turn signal
  • Failing to check mirrors and blind spots
  • Misjudging the speed or distance of other vehicles

An investigation of the unsafe lane change accident will be necessary in many cases to identify the cause and name the liable, or legally responsible, party.

Who Is At Fault for a Lane Change Accident?

Typically, the driver who violated Colorado’s lane-change law can be held responsible for a related automobile accident. Determining liability during a car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit takes identifying which driver had the right-of-way at the time of the crash, which driver was making the lane change and whether the lane change was performed without due care.

Most unsafe lane change accident cases require proof of one driver’s negligence, or the failure to act with proper care for the situation. The injured victim must demonstrate using clear and convincing evidence that the other driver owed a duty of care to make a safe and prudent lane change, breached or violated this duty of care, and that this caused the collision.

Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state, which means both drivers involved in a lane-change accident can be allocated a percentage of fault and the victim can still recover a portion of damages (as long as he or she is less than 51 percent at fault). However, the victim’s financial recovery will be reduced by an amount proportionate to his or her degree of fault.

Learn More When You Contact a Car Accident Attorney

Determining liability in a lane-change accident can be difficult, especially if both drivers were attempting to change lanes at the same time. If you or a loved one was recently injured in an unsafe lane change accident in Colorado, discuss your legal rights and options with an experienced car accident lawyer at Cannon Law. We offer free case consultations. Call (970) 471-7170 or contact us online today.