Who Is Liable in a Tennessee Work Zone Merging Accident?

cars in line in road work zoneMerging accidents are unnecessary and often cause serious injury. In a work zone, they can often be fatal. Tennessee implemented a new law to help reduce work zone merge accidents. Understanding how the law works and obeying it can help you to avoid being involved in this type of collision.

If you were injured in a merging accident, we encourage you to discuss the specifics of your accident with one of the experienced Knoxville auto accident attorneys at Greg Coleman Law. Our knowledgeable lawyers can explain how the merge law applies and how other factors may affect your claim.

Why Merging Accidents Happen

Merging accidents often happen when a driver is distracted, fails to obey posted signs or ignores the rules of the road. Some common merging accidents include:

  • Side-swipe accidents – An often-severe accident caused by a merging driver who does not see another motorist beside him until after he or she begins to merge. The motorist hits the side of the vehicle in the established lane of traffic.
  • Braking collisions – Large trucks on a construction site may get in front of oncoming traffic while workers are trying to complete their work, and an approaching motorist may not have enough time to stop before hitting the back of the truck. In other instances, passenger vehicles try to merge in front of a truck and the truck does not have time to brake to avoid an accident.
  • Rear-end collisions – A common collision that occurs when the driver who is merging misjudges the distance he or she needs to safely complete the lane change and hits the back of the vehicle in front.

What Is Tennessee’s Merge Left Law?

Tennessee’s merge left law requires drivers to merge left and merge early:

  • Drivers should start merging left at the first highway sign that says a work zone is upcoming.
  • All drivers must complete the merge before reaching the sign that says, “Do Not Pass in Right Lane,” which is placed 1,500 feet before the lane is closed.
  • Drivers must get into a single line of traffic, along with other vehicles in the left lane.
  • Drivers must remain in the single lane of traffic until after they are through the work zone.
  • After the work zone, drivers can merge back into the other lanes of traffic when it is safe to do so.

Drivers who ignore this law may be ticketed for merging late, following too closely, speeding, failing to use lanes properly or failing to obey a required traffic control device. It is important to note that on occasion, drivers may be directed to merge right, and the same laws apply.

Who Is Liable for a Merge Accident?

In most merging accidents, the driver who is maneuvering into another lane is responsible for yielding the right of way to the vehicle already in the lane. Some other reasons a driver could be liable in a merging accident include:

  • Driver in the other lane was driving aggressively, so he or she may share liability
  • If another vehicle crossed over the line of traffic into the path of the driver preparing to merge, he or she may be liable for the accident
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving while impaired
  • Waiting too late to merge
  • Changing lanes at unsafe speeds
  • Disobeying flaggers

Call a Lawyer for Help with Your Claim

Unfortunately, even if you do everything possible to avoid a merging accident, someone else’s careless actions may cause you to be involved in this type of car crash.

If you are injured in a merging accident, our experienced accident attorneys at Greg Coleman Law can guide you through the legal process and advocate for your interests, if you have a valid case.

Contact us today at (865) 247-0080 to schedule a free case review.

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