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Whose Fault is it Anyways?

Determining who’s at fault of an accident is one of the messiest ordeals of the situation. Fault determination rules are used to ensure that every accident is judged in the same way and against the same rules. What this ultimately means, is that every accident that occurs as a result of the same actions by the driver will have the same fault outcome. The first thing to always do in an accident, is to call the police, or an ambulance if someone is hurt, then call your insurance agent, and in some situations you want to go ahead and call a lawyer. Next, get all of the other persons information, insurance, license, number, email, card etc. Most important, take photos- lots of them- these can be used to determine the outcome of the case.

Some of the most common accident scenarios all have the same outcome based on the rules of fault determination. The weather is a factor that cannot be blamed in this process including ice, storms and poor visibility. These kind of accidents happen on a regular basis, most including merges and yields. Who’s fault is it anyway? The driver who is entering a lane of moving traffic and hits another car is always at fault in these scenarios. If you are traveling forward in your lane and another car enters that lane and strikes your car, you will not carry any fault. Here are a few examples:

  • When a car is pulling out of a driveway or private road and there’s no traffic light or signs and hits another car. The car pulling out of the driveway is at fault.
  • When a car is pulling out of a parking lot and hits a car that was moving forward through the lot, the car that was leaving the parking spot is at fault.
  • When a car is merging onto the highway from a bridge and hits/is hit by another car, the merging car is at fault.

How about if a car hits another one from behind, pushing the hit car into another car all while they are moving? These types of accidents are a chain reaction, involving three or more cars. In this scenario, who’s fault is it anyway?

  • The majority of the blame falls on the first driver who started the chain reaction from the beginning. Every driver that struck another driver has a responsibility of fault in this accident. A three-car pileup where all three vehicles were in motion at the time of the accident, the driver at the rear may be held fully responsible at fault by their insurance company. In the second collision, the car that struck the lead car may hold  half of the fault.
  • If the two front cars are stopped at the time of impact, only the rear car will face fault.
  • In all cases the car at the front of the line doesn’t hold fault in the accident.

Another very common scenario is the classic Sideswipe: If you sideswipe another vehicle, fault is determined by where the vehicles were when the accident took place and how they were traveling in relation to the painted lines on the road. So who’s fault is it anyway?

  • Anytime that you sideswipe another vehicle you are at fault, even if that car is illegally parked.
  • If two cars sideswipe each other when both have crossed the painted line, they will share the fault.
  • When a person fails to check before changing lanes or drifts over the center line, that person has made an error in judgment and driving ability that resulted in an accident. 

Lastly, intersections… Who’s at Fault?

  • The first person to enter an intersection will not be a fault.
  • If 2 cars enter an intersection at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right away.
  • The vehicle that fails to obey a stop sign, yield sign or a similar sign or flares or other signals on the ground will always be at fault.
  • If it cannot be established who failed to obey a stop sign, the driver of each automobile shall be deemed to be 50 per cent at fault for the incident.

When you get into an accident and you’re at fault, that will stay on your record for six years and your insurance rates will sky-rocket. If you need help taking care of a ticket you received from an accident visit Tad’s Tickets. If you have caused or been affected by a traffic accident, know what to do. Give the Law Offices of Tad Morlan a call today!

About the Author

tadmorlan@sbcglobal.net
tadmorlan@sbcglobal.net
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