As a Los Angeles accident lawyer, this is a common scenario I deal with.
Several times per month, I’ll receive a phone call from someone who was minding their own business in their own lane, when suddenly, BAM! The driver in the next lane crossed over and merged into the next lane, causing a side impact where the two cars scrape against each other.
In my experience, there are several intersections in Los Angeles where this occurs. I’m talking to you, San Vincente and Olympic!
Maybe the other driver was distracted on his phone as his car veered into your lane. Regardless, what is the law in this scenario?
The Vehicle Code makes it illegal to change lanes unless it’s reasonably safe to do so, and only after using the appropriate turn signal.
This is commonly known as an illegal lane change, and I’ve recently discussed a similar issue here.
Often what happens, at least in my experience, is that the offending driver will be apologetic at the scene of the collision. This usually doesn’t last, and by the time he or she reports the collision to the insurance company, the story changes. What seemed like a straightforward case turns into one with disputed liability, with the at-fault driver trying to blame the other for the accident.
Each situation is different, and the facts of your particular case may vary. If you find yourself in this scenario, be sure to take down the offending driver’s information, and take as many photos of the accident scene as you can. Often, the point of impact and the evidence at the scene does not match up with the offending driver’s version of events.
If there are witnesses, get their contact information. In a case of he-said/she-said, the objective testimony of a third party can make or break a case.
For questions about your particular matter, remember that the Rabbi Lawyer is just one phone call away!