Atlanta, GA asked in Personal Injury, Traffic Tickets and Insurance Defense for Georgia

Q: What is the Georgia state law or Fulton county law that states or implies that a driver is at fault for a lane merge.

I was in a accident where the lanes merged from 2 lanes into 1 lane (the right lane merged into the left lane). I was in the left lane, but the driver in the right lane sideswiped me trying to cut me off. The driver that hit me was cited with a warning, I of course received no ticket. My insurance is saying that I’m 25% at fault and the other driver is at 75% though the driver failed to yield. I’m trying to find the Georgia or Fulton County law that closely talks about my situation. I’ve located law § 40-6-72 but it doesn’t seem specific enough to my situation. It’s talks about intersections and this accident didn’t occur at intersection. Is there a law more geared to my situation or a law that states something along the lines of “when merging, a driver must yield to vehicles already in the lane” , that way I can prove to my insurance that I am not at fault.


3 Lawyer Answers
Michael W. Horst
Michael W. Horst
  • Alpharetta, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: Based on the fact pattern you presented, I believe O.C.G.A. 40-6-42 is applicable to your situation. I suggest you Google it and see if that does not help you in your fight with the insurance company.

1 user found this answer helpful

Morris  Margulis
Morris Margulis
  • Traffic Tickets Lawyer
  • Duluth, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: There are a number of bases that your insurer could rely upon to make this determination. Maybe you were distracted (OCGA 40-6-241(b)) or driving too fast for the conditions at the time (OCGA 40-6-180).

Rather than guessing what your insurer is using to avoid liability for the wreck or providing them with an argument to make against you, ask them to specify their grounds for making their determination, particularly in light of the fact that the responding officer did not issue any citation or warning to you.

If you believe your insurer is acting in bad faith, please contact me for additional assistance.

Zainab Major Brown agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

A: Georgia has a statute in place that specifically addresses changing lanes, signaling turns, and turning movements. Georgia Code Section 40-6-123(b) states that, when changing lanes, a driver must give a continuous signal of intention to sufficiently alert other drivers. Failing to use a turn signal when trying to merge to the left or right constitutes a breach of this statute, and could be grounds for the driver to receive a traffic violation citation. If a driver causes an accident from failure to signal his/her intent to merge, that driver could be liable for damages. Other actions that could constitute an improper lane change include:

Failing to check mirrors for other vehicles

Failing to look in known blind spots

Merging when there isn’t enough space

Swooping in front of a vehicle and hitting the brakes

Driving on the line between lanes for an extended period

Ignoring traffic or weather conditions while changing lanes

Changing lanes in a Do Not Pass area, on a hill or corner

Speeding while making a lane change

Any of these unsafe practices could cause a collision between two or more vehicles in Atlanta. Merging or changing lanes incorrectly can make it impossible for other vehicles to maneuver out of the way in time to prevent a collision. Checking if the coast is clear, signaling intent to switch lanes, and merging slowly can give other drivers plenty of warning in advance. Improper lane changes can cause side-swipe accidents, rear-end collisions, and lane departure accidents.

Call the other driver’s insurance company as soon as you can to report the crash. Explain that the driver made an improper lane change, and for this resson you are seeking benefits for your damages. The insurance company will investigate the accident and either accept or deny your claim. If you get a claim denial, or the company won’t offer what you think your case is worth, you may be better off filing a personal injury lawsuit in the Atlanta civil court. Talk to an Atlanta personal injury attorneys for more recovery information.

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