Liability for Sacramento Collisions Involving Blind Spots

Close up of a vehicles side-view mirrorDrivers who fail to check for traffic before attempting a lane change or merging could cause a dangerous blind-spot crash. Despite advances in vehicle safety features, these warning systems are not perfect. Drivers are still responsible for checking their blind spots to avoid collisions.

Were you injured in a blind-spot accident? If so, we recommend you seek legal assistance from a knowledgeable attorney. Our lawyers have been helping car crash victims in California secure compensation for decades. There are no upfront costs for our legal services, and you do not pay our fees unless we win your case.

In this blog, our Sacramento-based auto accident lawyers explore more about these crashes, including who may be liable, the common causes of blind-spot accidents and how to prevent them.

Call (916) 777-7777 today for a FREE case review.

Who Could Be Liable for a Blind-Spot Crash in Sacramento?

In most cases, the driver changing lanes is likely to be at fault for a blind-spot crash. Some drivers involved in these collisions may try to shift blame by saying their vehicle’s warning system  failed to alert them. That may be, but it is important to recognize that driver warning systems, while useful, are not foolproof. Drivers changing lanes still have a legal obligation to check their blind spots before they move into your lane or merge into traffic.

Is It Illegal To Drive in Another Vehicle’s Blind Spot?

While it is unsafe to stay in another vehicle’s blind spot, it is not illegal to do so. It also does not get a driver off the hook for hitting your car while changing lanes if he or she failed to check for traffic. Drivers changing lanes are required to properly use a turn signal to warn other drivers they intend to merge or change lanes.

Is the Driver Changing Lanes or Merging Always To Blame for a Blind-Spot Crash?

Despite a driver having a legal duty to signal and check for traffic, determining liability for a blind-spot accident is not always straightforward. Sometimes the driver riding in the blind spot may be liable. An example of when this situation may occur is if a driver speeds up and deliberately moves into the blind spot of a vehicle that is already changing lanes or merging. Another serious situation that may result in shared liability is when two drivers merge at the same time from opposite sides of a lane and crash into each other’s cars.

Blind-spot crashes often require further investigation to determine how the incident occurred. Evidence that may help to clarify liability includes:

  • Photographs of vehicle damage and the crash scene
  • Video footage, if available, of events leading up to the crash
  • Electronic data recorder (EDR) information from all vehicles involved
  • The severity of vehicle damage, as this helps investigators to determine speed at impact
  • Witness statements from credible parties who saw the crash and/or events leading up to it
  • The police report

If you were injured in a crash while riding in another vehicle’s blind spot, we may be able to help you seek compensation for your damages.

What Common Errors Cause Blind-Spot Crashes?

Driver errors are almost always the cause of any crash, and collisions that occur in a driver’s blind spot are no different.

Blind-spot accidents are more likely to happen when:

Merging Onto Highways

Blind-spot collisions often occur when vehicles attempt to merge onto a busy highway. Drivers in passing vehicles are very likely to be speeding, distracted or not paying attention to merging traffic. The inattention of other drivers is a vital reason why you should always double-check for oncoming vehicles.

Not Noticing Motorcycles

Motorcycles are smaller and can easily hide in blind spots. Even though many of them have loud motors, these vehicles are hard to hear on a highway full of traffic. Drivers need to look twice for motorcyclists to avoid a potentially deadly collision.

Backing Up Out of Parking Spots

Some vehicles have audible motion sensors when backing up, letting drivers know when someone or something is in their blind spot. However, drivers should not rely on these tools. Studies show that no driver assistance or safety features are infallible. These safety features are not intended to replace a driver’s legal duty of care.

Abrupt Lane Changes

Changing lanes without putting on your turn signal could result in sideswiping the vehicle next to you. Turning on your signal at the last second does not count, as it does not give drivers around you time or distance to react. Turn signals, when used properly, let other drivers know you are about to change lanes.

Vehicle Design and Mirrors

Car designs, seat positions and mirror angles can contribute to blind-spot crashes. It is worth noting that mini-vans, pickup trucks and commercial trucks have larger blind spots. Drivers need to adjust vehicle mirrors and seat before getting out on the road. Properly adjusted seats and mirrors do not totally eliminate blind spots, but they do help make them smaller.

How Can I Prevent a Blind-Spot Crash?

Car safety devices help by alerting drivers when a vehicle or an object is in their blind spot. However, drivers can become so accustomed to these audible or physical alerts that they fail to notice them. Warning systems may not always work or may not work soon enough to prevent a crash. The thing to remember is that these alerts are not meant to replace a driver’s duty of care. Drivers are expected to stay focused on the road and not rely fully on technology.

To reduce the risk of being in or causing a blind-spot collision, you can take these preventative steps:

  • Always check your blind-spot zone twice to see if another vehicle is there before changing lanes.
  • Install blind-spot mirrors to enhance your visibility.
  • Avoid getting into or staying in another vehicle’s blind spot, especially if the other vehicle is a commercial truck.
  • Look for pedestrians, scooter riders and cyclists twice before turning in an intersection.
  • Look over your shoulder and honk your horn when backing out of parking spaces.
  • Use your turn signal properly before you attempt to change lanes.

Call Arnold Law Firm if You Have Been Injured in a Blind-Spot Crash

It is challenging to navigate the legal process of any car crash claim, especially without help from a lawyer. If you have questions and are unsure what to do next, we recommend speaking with an experienced attorney. He or she can help you determine your legal options.

Arnold Law Firm has been a fierce advocator for vehicle crash victims for many years. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our attorneys have the legal experience and knowledge to fully manage your case on. We are here to protect your best interests, and there are no upfront costs to pay.

Arnold Law Firm. We seek justice for you. (916) 777-7777