Who's At Fault When...

1 Hitting an Animal Read More
2 Multi Car Accident Read More
3 Hitting a Parked Car Read More
4 Backing Up Car Accident Read More
5 T-Bone Car Accident Read More
6 Car Hits a Pedestrian Read More
7 Sideswipe Accident Read More
8 Open Car Door Is Hit Read More
9 Head-On Collision Read More
10 Rear End Collision Read More
1. Hitting an Animal
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2. Multi Car Accident
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3. Hitting a Parked Car
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4. Backing Up Car Accident
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5. T-Bone Car Accident
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6. Car Hits a Pedestrian
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7. Sideswipe Accident
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8. Open Car Door Is Hit
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9. Head-On Collision
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10. Rear End Collision
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1

Who is at Fault When Hitting an Animal?

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Who is at Fault When Hitting an Animal?

There are a lot of variables in determining who is at fault for hitting an animal. The most important issue is what type of animal is involved. The three basic types of animals are wild animals, livestock, and domestic animals. In general, there is no legal fault if you hit a wild animal. Wild animals would include deer, Elk, and other smaller animals.

In most states, if you hit livestock, there are special laws that control. In free range states the livestock owner is not responsible. In states that require fencing, the livestock owner is resp

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There are a lot of variables in determining who is at fault for hitting an animal. The most important issue is what type of animal is involved. The three basic types of animals are wild animals, livestock, and domestic animals. In general, there is no legal fault if you hit a wild animal. Wild animals would include deer, Elk, and other smaller animals.

In most states, if you hit livestock, there are special laws that control. In free range states the livestock owner is not responsible. In states that require fencing, the livestock owner is responsible when they were negligent in allowing the animal to roam free. Livestock include cows, horses, sheep, and goats.

If you hit a domesticated animal, the owner of the animal is usually liable because most states have a leash law that requires the pet owner to keep the animal from running free. Pets include dogs and cats.

WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN YOU HIT A DEER?

A deer is a wild animal. They are unpredictable and they are fast. They can dart into the road so quickly that they can be impossible to avoid. For this reason, car insurance companies do not consider hitting a deer with a car the fault of the driver. Instead, hitting a deer is considered an unavoidable accident.

Will Your Rates Go up if You Hit a Deer?

Because hitting a deer is usually unavoidable, most insurance companies will not raise your rates if this happens. But some insurance companies may. So you should definitely check with your carrier to see what they will do.

Do Not Swerve

Many people do their best to swerve to try and avoid hitting the deer. Most experts will tell you not to do this. The reason is that swerving can put you and other drivers at a greater risk. Your split second decision to swerve may end up causing you to run off the road and hit a tree. Worse yet it may cause you to over react, head into on coming traffic, and cause a head on collision with another car.

Filing a Police Report is Recommended but Not Necessary if you hit a deer

Most insurance companies do not require you to report hitting a deer to the police. But doing so will make your claim process smoother. The documentation will prevent the insurance company from later claiming the event did not happen.

On course, hitting a deer is not without its consequences. They are big enough animals that hitting them will usually do a lot of damage to your car. So the most important question after hitting a deer is who will pay for the damage. The simple answer is that it depends on whether you purchased comprehensive coverage.

Who Pays for the damage to Your Car if You Hit a Deer?

Comprehensive insurance coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from random, unpredictable events like hitting a deer. So if you have comprehensive insurance coverage on your vehicle, your insurance company will pay to fix it. But you will still be responsible for paying whatever deductible you have. If you do not have comprehensive insurance coverage, you will have to pay for the damage to your car.

WHO IS AT FAULT IF I HIT A COW?

A cow is considered live stock. In most states, livestock like a cow should be kept fenced in and away from roadways. But in some states, cow owners are allowed to let their cows run free. As a result, it is impossible to give you a hard and fast rule.

Fault for Hitting a Cow Depends on the Law of the State You are In

Most states have specific laws that address livestock owner’s responsibilities. These statutes will generally apply to all types of livestock including cows, horses, sheep, or even goats. So, these statutes will address who is at fault when you hit a cow. As a result, deciding who is at fault will depend on the law of which state you are in.

Open Range Livestock States

In some states, the laws allow livestock to roam free. In these states livestock owners and farmers are not required to fence in their livestock animals. If you hit a cow in one of these states, no one is at fault for hitting the cow. But you still might have to pay for the cost of the cow.

States That Require Livestock to be Fenced

In Florida, like most states today, livestock, including cows, horses, sheep, and even goats must be fenced. Of course, the laws in each state are a little different. But in most states that have livestock fencing requirements, the general rule is that a cow owner is responsible if they were negligent in letting the cow out of its fencing. This means that if they failed to properly maintain the fencing or they forgot to properly latch the gate, then the cow owner would be at fault. On the other hand, if the cow got out into the road because someone cut their fencing, the cow owner may not be at not be at fault in most states.

File a Police Report if You Hit a Cow

Unlike a deer, a cow has an owner. So it is important to file a police report. In fact, in some states, if you do not file a police report, it might be considered a hit and run crime. But even if it is not a crime. It is the right thing to do. The police report will help ensure the cow owner is found and if the owner is responsible, it will help ensure the owner pays for the damage caused.

WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN A DOG IS HIT BY A CAR?

A dog is considered a domesticated animal. Every state has different laws that cover domesticated animals like dogs. Furthermore, the laws in different parts of a particular state may also be different in different areas of the state. In general, the law will either allow dogs to roam freely or they will require the owner to keep their dog on a leash. Because of the differences between states, it is impossible to give you a hard and fast rule.

States That Allow Dogs to Roam Freely

Some states allow dogs to roam freely. In states that allow dogs to roam freely, the owner of the dog will generally not be responsible if their pet is hit by a car. Whether the driver will be responsible will depend on whether the driver could have avoided hitting the dog.

States That Have a Leash Law

Some states require dogs to be on a leash at all times. In states that have leash laws, if the dog was not on a leash at the time of the accident, the owner of the dog will generally be at fault for the dog getting hit. Although the driver could also be comparatively negligent if the driver could have done something to avoid the accident.

Do You Have to Stop if You hit a Dog

If you hit a dog the right thing to do is stop and try to render assistance. It is also the law to stop in many states. In those states leaving the scene of the accident can be considered a hit and run.

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Who is at Fault in a Multi-Car Accident?

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Who is at Fault in a Multi-Car Accident?

Its not as simple as looking for the car with the most damage to determine who is at fault in a multi car accident.  Ultimately, fault must be determined on a case by case basis.  But there are some general principles that will help.  To start with you have to look at the individual drivers’ actions and the type of multi car accident that occurs.

There are many different types of multi car accidents.  The most common types of multi car accidents involve rear end accidents, head on collisions, Intersection crashes, and lane changes.  You

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Its not as simple as looking for the car with the most damage to determine who is at fault in a multi car accident.  Ultimately, fault must be determined on a case by case basis.  But there are some general principles that will help.  To start with you have to look at the individual drivers’ actions and the type of multi car accident that occurs.

There are many different types of multi car accidents.  The most common types of multi car accidents involve rear end accidents, head on collisions, Intersection crashes, and lane changes.  You will learn about all of them in this article.

WHAT IS A MULTIPLE CAR ACCIDENT?

A multiple car accident, often called a multi car accident, happens when more than one car, truck, or motorcycle is involved in an accident.  So whether it’s a 3 car accident, a 4 car accident, or there are more vehicles involved really doesn’t matter.  Its still a multiple car accident.

WHO IS AT FAULT IN A MULTI CAR REAR END ACCIDENT?

The most common type of multi car accident is the multi car rear end accident.  Its often referred to as a multi car pile up because the vehicles end up piling up behind each other.  Other times it is referred to as a chain reaction car accident because one car runs into the back of another in a chain reaction.

The First Car to Rear End Another Car is Usually at Fault

No matter what you call it, the principles of fault are the same as in the basic rear end car crash.  You have to start with the point that the first car to run into the rear of one of the other vehicles is usually at fault. This is because the rear vehicle has the most opportunity to avoid the crash.  The rear car can see what’s in front, drive at a safe speed, keep a safe distance between the vehicles, and take evasive actions if necessary.  Their failure to do any of these things is usually the cause of the accident.

For example, let’s say the lead vehicle and 3 other cars are able to come to a complete stop without hitting anyone.  Let’s also say the last vehicle does not stop in time, hits the car in front of it, and pushes that car into to all of the other cars.  In this multi car rear end accident, the fourth driver would be at fault for the entire accident.  This is because the first 3 cars were able to come to a complete stop without hitting any other cars while the fourth car could not stop in time.

More Than One Car May be at Fault in a Chain Reaction Accident

Sometimes in a chain reaction accident, more than one driver may be at fault.  To figure out who is at fault you may have to use a negligence principle called comparative negligence to help figure it out.  The law calls this comparative negligence because you have to compare the actions of each driver and assign a percentage of fault to each negligent party.

Example One: Comparative Fault in a Multi Car Pile up

For example, in a four-car crash, the lead car might stop in time but the car directly behind does not stop and hits the lead car.  After the first impact, the third car is able to stop but the fourth rear car does not stop and hits the third car pushing it into the rear of the second car. In this 4 car accident the second car and the fourth car may be comparatively negligent in causing the accident.

Example Two: Comparative Fault in a Multi Car Pile up

The lead car comes to a sudden stop and avoids hitting any other car.

The second car fails to stop in time and runs into the rear of the first car.  The third car fails to stop in time and runs into the back of the second car.  In this 3 car accident, the second and third car will each have fault because each of them were unable to stop in time.  The first car will generally have no fault because it was able to stop without hitting anyone.

Figuring out What Really happened in a Chain Reaction Accident

Sometimes everyone in the accident agrees what happened.  But that is not usually the case.  Most of the time people involved and the witnesses will have slightly different accounts.  To figure out what really happened will take comparing what all the witnesses say to the physical evidence at the scene.  Things to consider are the damage to each vehicle, the number of impacts each driver felt, and the timing of those impacts.  A good car accident attorney can help piece all this information together.

WHO IS AT FAULT IN A MULTI CAR ACCIDENT WITH A HEAD ON COLLISION?

In a head on collision, the driver that crosses into the other drivers lane is usually at fault.  Common situations where a head on collision causes a multi car accident involves a driver drifting into on coming traffic and hitting a car going the opposite direction.  One of these cars then hits one or more other cars.  In this situation, the car that drifted into on coming traffic would be at fault.

Sometimes, the car that crosses into oncoming traffic is not at fault.  For example, let’s say two cars are traveling in the same direction.  One car sideswipes the other car causing the other car to cross into oncoming traffic and hit another car head on.  In this situation, the car that sideswiped the other car and not the car that crossed into oncoming traffic will be at fault.

WHO IS AT FAULT IN A MULTI CAR INTERSECTION ACCIDENT?

Another common multi car accident scenario involves intersection crashes.  The most common types of intersection collisions involve left turns and or running a traffic control device like a stop sign or red light.

Multi Car Intersection Accident with Left Turn

This situation usually happens when a car is waiting for oncoming traffic to clear before making a left turn across an intersection.  The car makes the left turn and either hits or is hit by a car it crosses in front of.  One of these two cars then collide with another vehicle.  In this situation, which car is at fault will depend on whether or not the car making the left turn had the right of way.  If the car making the left turn had the right of way then the other car will be at fault.  If the car making the left turn did not have the right of way then it will be at fault.  Of course that does not mean the other cars are totally without fault.  Their fault will depend on whether they had an opportunity to avoid the crash or whether they were speeding.

Multi Car Intersection Accident with Running a Traffic Control Device

When a car at an intersection runs a traffic control device like a stop sign or red light, that car will always be at fault for causing a collision.  But Sometimes other cars may also have fault in this type of multi car accident.  For example, let’s say a car runs a red light and t-bones another car crossing in front of it.  Suppose another car is able to stop to avoid the crash but another car does not stop and runs into the rear of the stopped car.  The car that does not stop will also have some fault in causing this second crash.

WHO IS AT FAULT IN A LANE CHANGE MULTI CAR ACCIDENT?

Lets say two cars are traveling in the same direction.  One car changes lanes and clips the car in the other lane causing it to run into other cars.  In this situation, the car that changes lanes is responsible for causing this multi car crash.  Any of the other cars involved may in rare occasions also have some responsibility.  This will depend on whether they had an opportunity to avoid the crash by either driving slower or paying more attention to what was happening.

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Who is at Fault When Hitting a Parked Car?

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Who is at Fault When Hitting a Parked Car?

In most cases, it is very easy to determine who is at fault for hitting a parked car. The general rule is that the driver that hits the parked car is at fault for hitting a parked car. The reason the driver is usually at fault is because the car was parked and not moving. So, the parked car cannot move out of the way to avoid the accident. The driver that hits a parked car, on the other hand, usually does have the ability to move out of the way. The driver has a duty to pay attention to the road ahead and see what can be seen. Therefore, the dr

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In most cases, it is very easy to determine who is at fault for hitting a parked car. The general rule is that the driver that hits the parked car is at fault for hitting a parked car. The reason the driver is usually at fault is because the car was parked and not moving. So, the parked car cannot move out of the way to avoid the accident. The driver that hits a parked car, on the other hand, usually does have the ability to move out of the way. The driver has a duty to pay attention to the road ahead and see what can be seen. Therefore, the driver usually has the opportunity to see the parked car and avoid it.

Of course, every rule has exceptions. There are so many different possibilities that can occur when you hit a parked car that it is impossible to address everyone of them. But the general principle of comparative negligence can be used in most states to figure out who is at fault if you hit a parked car. This means you compare the actions of the owner of the parked car to the actions of the driver that hit the parked car and assign the responsibility to the one that had the ability to avoid the crash. If both had some ability to avoid the accident, then the law will assign a percentage of responsibility to both. So there might be some circumstances where it is fair to ask the question, “Can a parked car be at fault?”

WHO IS AT FAULT FOR HITTING AN ILLEGALLY PARKED CAR?

Deciding who is at fault if you hit an illegally parked car depends on why the car was parked illegally.

When the Reason it’s Illegal to Park has Nothing to do With Visibility

The general rule still applies in most cases of illegally parked cars that the driver has fault. But sometimes the illegally parked vehicle might also have fault. This will depend on why it is illegal to park in a particular parking spot. When the reason it’s illegal to park in a location has nothing to do with visibility of the car, then parking illegally does not make the owner of the parked car comparatively at fault for the crash. So if you hit a car parked in a fire lane or you hit a double parked car, you, the driver are probably still 100% at fault.

When it is Illegal to Park because of Visibility

But deciding who is at fault when hitting an illegally parked car is less clear when the reason it is illegal to park in a particular location is because it is difficult to see a parked car in that location. The reason is because the owner of the illegally parked car may have comparative fault for the crash. Examples include when a building or other object blocks the view of the parking space or the parking space cannot be seen at night.

Another common example involves a car that parks in front of a driveway and the driver backs out of the driveway and into the vehicle. In most places it is illegal to park on a street in front of a driveway. But the fact the drive was backing up does not mean the driver can’t see the vehicle. So, the driver would still be responsible. On the other hand, if it was dark out and the street was not well lit, the car may be hard to see. This may be a circumstance where the car owner is comparatively negligent. How much responsibility will be assigned to the owner of the parked car depends on how difficult it is to see the illegally parked car.

When it’s Impossible to See the Illegally Parked Vehicle

In some extreme cases, it is so difficult for a driver to see the illegally parked vehicle that the owner of the illegally parked car could be 100% responsible for the crash. For example, let’s say a car stops on the side of the road with part of the car in the lane of travel. Let’s say the location where the car stops is in the middle of a severe curve on the road. Lastly, let’s also say it’s a two lane road at night in the dark, the road has no lighting, and the car turns its lights off. It’s easy to see how a driver may not be able to see the stopped car as the driver rounds the curve in the dark. Under these extreme circumstances, the illegally parked car may be 100% at fault because the owner should be able to anticipate that a driver could not see them.

WHO IS AT FAULT FOR HITTING A PARKED CAR IN A PARKING LOT?

Parking lots are usually privately owned. But that doesn’t really change anything. The same rules apply to accidents in parking lots as apply on the roadways. This means that deciding who is at fault when hitting a parked car in a parking lot will be the same as when hitting a parked car on the roadways. The person or persons that have the opportunity to avoid the parking lot accident will be at fault for the accident. The following are common parking lot accidents:

  • Parallel parking;
  • Pulling into a parking space;
  • Backing out of a parking space; and
  • Striking a car with your door when opening it.

In all of these situations, the driver has the opportunity to see the parked car and avoid it, so the driver will most likely be at fault.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HIT A PARKED CAR?

Hitting a parked car is not a crime. But leaving the scene of an accident is against the law in every state and hitting a parked car is considered an accident. The right thing to do is to notify the owner of what you have done. You may think because the owner of the parked car is not around that it is ok to leave without saying anything. But its not. Furthermore, its not just the owner you have to worry about. There may be witnesses that report you and there may be surveillance cameras that record what you did.

Look for the Owner

In most states you are required to make reasonable efforts to find the owner and notify them of what happened. You may have to walk up and down the street and ask people if they are the owner. If it happened in a parking lot, you may have to go into the businesses in the parking lot to try and find the owner.

Leave a Note for the Owner

If you have looked around and there is no owner in sight don’t just leave. leave a note. The note should contain the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact phone number
  • Explanation of the accident
  • Your insurance information

Anything you put in the note is evidence that can be used against you. So, make sure the note is short and to the point. Put the note in a conspicuous place. Usually the best place in under a windshield wiper.

Gather Evidence from the Scene

The most important evidence will be photographs of the damage and the license plates. The photos are important to protect you from the owner trying to claim more damage than was actually caused and or claiming a different car was damaged.

Next you will want to see if there are any witnesses to what happened. If so, get their name and phone number as well. If they will let you video or write down their description of what happened.

Report the Accident to Your Car Insurance Company

You may be tempted to skip reporting the accident to your insurance company. The number one reason people do not report these events is to avoid their insurance rates to go up. This may happen if you report it. But the cost of paying for the repairs yourself is usually more than the rate increase. If you fail to report the accident immediately after the event and you try to report it later, you risk the company will not pay for the damage to the other car.

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Who is at Fault in a Car Accident When Backing Up?

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Who is at Fault in a Car Accident When Backing Up?

When someone backs into you, it most often occurs in a parking lot accident or when backing out of a driveway. This article will address both of these and more. But first you need to know the basics.

There are many reasons why determining who is at fault in a car accident when backing up can be complicated. The car that reversed often has limited visibility. Furthermore, other drivers do not always anticipate another car will be backing up or reversing. Lastly, each driver will have their own perception of time, distance, and the sequence of ev

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When someone backs into you, it most often occurs in a parking lot accident or when backing out of a driveway. This article will address both of these and more. But first you need to know the basics.

There are many reasons why determining who is at fault in a car accident when backing up can be complicated. The car that reversed often has limited visibility. Furthermore, other drivers do not always anticipate another car will be backing up or reversing. Lastly, each driver will have their own perception of time, distance, and the sequence of events leading up to the crash. Unless there is a surveillance camera that captures the events, there may be conflicting stories of what happened.

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN BACKING UP?

There are four basic things that can be used to determine who is at fault when backing up. You can use these things to help decide fault in every situation that involves one or more vehicles backing up.

1. Did the Driver Have the Right of Way?

Usually one car has the right of way under the law. In most cases, the car that does not have the right of way will be at fault. Of course, with every rule there are exceptions. The exception to the right of way rule when one or more cars is backing up occurs when the driver with the right of way is not paying attention to the roadway or is speeding. Under these circumstances, the driver with the right of way may have some fault in causing the car accident.

2. Was the Car Stopped or Moving?

If a car is stopped leading up to the accident, it would be difficult to say that car has fault. If a car is moving but stops with plenty of time, that car may have very little if any fault.

3. Location of the Damage

Sometimes the location of the damage to the vehicles can help establish who was at fault. Damage location can be important because it can help establish if one or the other vehicle could have avoided the accident. For example, if a car were able to back all the way out of a parking space and was just bout to start driving forward, the damage would be to the back of the backing vehicle and the front of the other vehicle. This suggests there was plenty of time for the car that initially had the right of way to see the car backing up and stop. It would also suggest that this driver was either not paying attention or was speeding.

4. Witness Statements

Many times, drivers have differing accounts of what happened. There differing accounts will often point the finger at each other. This is where witness statements can make the difference. A credible witnesses statements will usually believed over either driver because the drivers are biased.

WHO IS AT FAULT IN A PARKING LOT ACCIDENT WHEN BACKING UP

The most common place for a car accident when reversing is a parking lot. The most common parking lot accidents when reversing are listed below.

A Car Backed Out of a Parking Space into a Parked Car

This one is usually a no-brainer. The parked car is not moving. The driver is moving. The driver that backs up into a parked car is most often at fault because that driver should have been able to see the parked car and avoid hitting it. However, if the parked car is parked illegally, there are times when the illegally parked car will be at fault. This will happen when the reason it is illegal to park in that location is that it is difficult to see a car parked there.

A Car Backed Out of a Parking Space into a Moving Car

When one car is backing out of a parking space that car driver is supposed to look for cars before reversing. Since the car backing up was moving in reverse at the time of the crash, it will usually be at fault for the accident. On the other hand, the car moving forward has the right of way so that car usually will not be at fault unless there is evidence that driver was either not paying attention or was speeding. If so, then both drivers may have some fault.

Two Cars are Backing Up at the Same Time

Determining who is at fault in a car accident when both cars are backing up can be difficult. Neither car would really have the right of way if both cars were reversing at the same time. But both cars have an obligation to look before they back up to see if the roadway is clear. Since both cars began to move, they both must have missed the fact that the other car was either about to reverse or was already reversing. So, most times the fact that both cars were moving will make them both responsible.

WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN BACKING OUT OF A DRIVEWAY?

Another common car accident involving backing up occurs when backing out of a driveway. The car backing out of the driveway has an obligation to look before backing up. Since the car backing up was moving when the accident happened, the driver must not have been paying enough attention to see the other car. As a result, the car backing out of the driveway will usually be at fault. But the car driving down the roadway may also have some fault. This car has the right of way. But the driver can still have some fault if the driver was not paying attention, was speeding, and or could have taken evasive action to avoid the accident.

HOW TO AVOID A CAR ACCIDENT WHEN BACKING UP

You are in control of your vehicle when you are backing up. There is no need to rush because you have not yet entered the roadway. So before you begin moving you have plenty of time to assess the traffic behind you. If you have a back up camera, make sure you look into it before moving. But don’t let the back up camera be a substitute for actually turning you head and looking. Your peripheral vision will have a wider view of potential dangers. Take the time to look both ways for an extended period of time before moving. This will give you an opportunity to see vehicles that have the right of way and determine if you have enough time to back up safely. Once you begin to back up, do so slowly. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to inch out and stop several times to look. The important thing is to continue to look towards the direction of traffic to make sure you continue to have the right of way.

If you are the car with the right of way, you can’t just blindly drive. Continue to scan both sides of the roadway for vehicles that might back up. In addition, make sure you are driving a safe speed.

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Who is at Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident?

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Who is at Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident?

A t-bone accident happens when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. It’s also called a side impact accident or broadside accident because of the location of the impact. Most of the time a t-bone car accident is an intersection accident. But they can also happen any time a car crosses a roadway or street. The key is that the cars are going perpendicular to each other.

DETERMINING WHOS AT FAULT IN A T-BONE ACCIDENT

Who’s at fault cannot be determined by who t-boned who. Instead, fault in a t-bone accident depends

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A t-bone accident happens when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. It’s also called a side impact accident or broadside accident because of the location of the impact. Most of the time a t-bone car accident is an intersection accident. But they can also happen any time a car crosses a roadway or street. The key is that the cars are going perpendicular to each other.

DETERMINING WHOS AT FAULT IN A T-BONE ACCIDENT

Who’s at fault cannot be determined by who t-boned who. Instead, fault in a t-bone accident depends on which car had the right to be moving forward. This is called the right of way. Both cars cannot have the right of way. Instead, in a t-bone accident, one vehicle had the right of way and the other vehicle violated that right of way.

The car that did not have the right of way will always have fault in a t-bone accident. But the car that did have the right of way may also have some fault for not recognizing what the other driver was doing. Unfortunately, there is rarely evidence at the scene to help figure out which vehicle had the right of way. Who’s at fault in this type of side impact accident will almost always come down to what the drivers and the witnesses say happened. When the drivers both claim they had the right of way, it will come down to who sounds more credible.

WHOS AT FAULT IN AN INTERSECTION ACCIDENT?

Most t-bone accidents happen at an intersection with a traffic control device. One of the vehicles involved thinks they have the right of way when they don’t. As a result, that vehicles moves across the intersection into oncoming traffic. The most common t-bone intersection accidents are:

Left Turn Accidents

A left turn t-bone accident that happens at an intersection can be either drivers fault. Sometimes the driver making the left turn thinks a red light has turned green when it is really red. When the driver makes the left turn, it may do so in front of a vehicle going the opposite direction that actually has the green light. Other times, the reverse happens. The car making the left turn does have the green light and has the right of way to make the turn. However, the car traveling in the opposite direction thinks the light is green for them when it is actually red. Either way the impacts is usually severe because one or both of the cars will be traveling at a very fast speed.

Running a Red light

In this type of t-bone accident, the drivers are driving perpendicular to each other. They are destined to cross each other’s paths. They both think they have the green light and therefore they both think they have the right of way. As a result, both cars will usually be traveling at the full speed limit for the road. Whichever car did that actually had the red light will be at fault.

Running a Stop Sign

A t-bone collision can happen at a four way stop but they are not as likely. This is because one or both cars came to a complete stop before entering the intersection. This gives the drivers enough time to recognize what is about to happen and stop in time.
The most common type of t-bone collision involves one car having a stop sign while the other car has no traffic control device. In this type of t-bone crash its easy to determine who is at fault. The driver that had the stop sign will always have fault because that driver did not have the right of way.

WHOS AT FAULT IN A T-BONE CAR ACCIDENT WHEN THERE IS NO INTERSECTION?

Sometimes a t-bone accident can happen when there is no intersection at all. The vehicle crossing the roadway will always have fault in this type of accident because they do not have the right of way.

Leaving a Parking Lot

When a car is leaving a parking lot that does not have a traffic control device, the driver of the that car has an obligation to ensure the traffic is clear in both directions before crossing the street. When the driver does not see a car coming, they may pull out to cross the street and cause a t-bone accident.

Making a U-turn Across Traffic

Making a u-turn is not always a safe thing to do. If the driver making the u-turn fails to recognize a car coming the opposite direction they may pull into traffic and get hit on the side. The driver making the turn will have fault in this situation.

WHEN WILL THE CAR THAT HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY HAVE SOME FAULT IN A T-BONE ACCIDENT?

The car that does not have the right of way will have fault in causing the t-bone accident. But the car that had the right of way can also have some fault as well. That’s because the car with the right of way has a duty to pay attention to the road ahead and anticipate that a driver may cut across traffic. Common ways a car with the right of way may have some fault in a t-bone accident are:

  • When a car crosses many lanes of travel before the t-bone occurs. In this situation the car that has the right of way may have some fault because there was enough time to see the other car travel across so many lanes of travel.
  • Failing to have headlights on when it is dark outside. This can cause a vehicle to turn in front of the vehicle without lights because they are hard to see.
  • Speeding
  • Driving while distracted by the radio, texting or talking on the phone
  • Drunk driving or driving while high on drugs
  • Brake failure because the vehicle was not properly maintained

WHEN WILL THIRD PARTIES HAVE SOME FAULT IN A T-BONE CAR ACCIDENT?

Sometimes it’s not just the drivers involved in the crash that have fault in a t-bone accident. For example, a repair shop may not do a good job at fixing one of the cars brakes. Other times a repair shop may not do a good job in repairing a cars headlights. If this happens the repair shop may have some fault in what happened.

Malfunctioning traffic control devices may also play a role in a t-bone accident. Sometimes the lights totally shut down and give no signal at all. If this happens drivers might not realize they are about to enter an intersection. In this circumstance the crash may be the fault of the traffic control device and one or both drivers.

Sometimes it may not be either drivers’ fault. This can happen when the traffic control device malfunctions. This can happen when the traffic control device gives both drivers a green light. It can also happen when a traffic control device gives on driver a turn signal and the crossing driver a green light. While it is possible for these things to happen it is very unlikely.

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6

Who is at Fault When a Car Hits a Pedestrian?

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Who is at Fault When a Car Hits a Pedestrian?

Who is at fault when a pedestrian is hit by a car seems like a simple question to answer. In fact, most people think the pedestrian has the right of way. So, it must always be the driver’s fault. Many times this is true. But not all the time. There are times when the pedestrian does not have the right of way or did something wrong and the driver did everything right. This guide will help you make those determinations.

DETERMINING FAULT WHEN A PEDESTRIAN IS HIT BY A CAR

Determining who is at fault when a pedestrian is hit by a car requires loo

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Who is at fault when a pedestrian is hit by a car seems like a simple question to answer. In fact, most people think the pedestrian has the right of way. So, it must always be the driver’s fault. Many times this is true. But not all the time. There are times when the pedestrian does not have the right of way or did something wrong and the driver did everything right. This guide will help you make those determinations.

DETERMINING FAULT WHEN A PEDESTRIAN IS HIT BY A CAR

Determining who is at fault when a pedestrian is hit by a car requires looking at the actions of the car driver and looking at the actions of the pedestrian.

What was the Driver Doing?

First you have to look at what the driver was doing.  Things to look for are:

  • Was the driver legally driving where they were allowed to drive?
  • Was the driver going a safe speed for the circumstances?
  • Was the driver paying attention to the roadway?

If the driver was doing all of these things, the driver will have very little if any fault for causing the accident. If on the other hand, the driver was not doing one or more of these things, the driver will have at least some fault for hitting the pedestrian.  If the pedestrian was doing nothing wrong then the car driver will have all the fault for the accident.

What was the Pedestrian Doing?

Next you have to look at what the pedestrian was doing.  The questions to ask are:

  • Was the pedestrian where they were legally allowed to be?  This is what is commonly referred to as the pedestrian having the right of way.
  • Was the pedestrian doing what they were legally allowed to be doing?

If the pedestrian had the right of way and they were doing what they legally were allowed to be doing, they will very rarely if ever have any fault for getting hit by a car.  If, on the other hand, the pedestrian did not have the right of way, or was not doing what they were supposed to be doing, the pedestrian will usually have some if not all of the fault for the accident.

COMMON WAYS A CAR DRIVER MAY BE AT FAULT FOR HITTING A PEDESTRIAN

Car drivers have a duty to act reasonably and carefully under the circumstances.  This means they must pay attention to the road so they can timely react to pedestrian movement.  This is often referred to as defensive driving.  Car drivers must also drive a safe speed given the circumstances.  This means they must be driving a speed that will give them time to stop in locations where there are usually pedestrians hanging out.  The most common ways car drivers are at fault when a car hits a pedestrian are:

  • Speeding through a neighborhood
  • Failing to yield to a pedestrian
  • Failing to look for kids playing in the street
  • Failing to look for pedestrians standing on the corner at intersections
  • Failing to see a pedestrian walking in a crosswalk
  • Failing to recognize a special pedestrian crossing area not at an intersection
  • Failing to give a bicycle the right of way
  • Drunk driving

COMMON WAYS A PEDESTRIAN MAY BE AT FAULT

When a pedestrian does not have the right of way they are usually jaywalking.  Because jaywalkers do not have the right of way, they usually have some or all of the fault when they are hit by a car.  Jaywalking occurs when a person walks in the street in a place they are not supposed to be walking without being concerned about approaching traffic.  Common types of jaywalking include:

  • Crossing in the middle of the street
  • Walking outside a crosswalk

There are also common illegal or improper activities a pedestrian may engage in that may give them responsibility in an accident.  The most common are:

  • Walking in a crosswalk when the do not walk command is flashing
  • Entering a roadway, highway, or street while intoxicated, drunk, or on drugs
  • Walking in prohibited areas along bridges, causeways, or other roads
  • Wearing dark clothing at night
  • Failing to look before crossing the road
  • Looking at a mobile device while walking
  • Chasing after a ball or other object that fell into the street

WHEN BOTH THE CAR AND THE PEDESTRIAN ARE AT FAULT

Sometimes both the car and the pedestrian will have fault.  For example, lets say a car is speeding in a neighborhood and a pedestrian is jaywalking.  The car driver is driving too fast for the road conditions.  Had the car driver been driving slower, they could have stopped the car before hitting the pedestrian.  But the pedestrian was walking in a place that a driver would not expect.  So, the pedestrian will have some fault too.

Some people may think if a pedestrian is intoxicated the car driver cannot be at fault.  But that is not necessarily true.  Certainly the pedestrian will have fault if they are high on alcohol or drugs and that causes them to step into traffic.  But the driver can still have some fault if the driver was speeding or not paying attention.

CAN A PEDESTRIAN SUE IF HIT BY A CAR?

A pedestrian can sue the if they are hit by a car.  How the lawsuit will work out will depend on who is at fault and the laws of the state where the car accident happened.

States with Comparative Negligence

In most states, if a case is heard by a jury, the jury will be allowed to assign responsibility to both the car and the pedestrian.  The person bringing the lawsuit, the plaintiff, will have their damages reduced by their percentage of fault.  Insurance companies will do the same thing.

States with Contributory negligence

In a few states, if a jury assigns a certain percentage of fault to the person bringing the lawsuit, the plaintiff, will get nothing.  The percentage required to prevent the plaintiff from getting anything is different in each of these states.  The most common percentage is 50%.  In a handful of states, the percentage is only 1%.  In those states if the plaintiff has any fault at all, the plaintiff recovers nothing.

WHEN A PEDESTRIAN IS HIT BY A CAR CAN THEY GET A SETTLEMENT?

If a pedestrian is hit by a car and the car has fault for the accident, a settlement is definitely possible.  But the amount of the settlement will depend on many different factors.  As a result, it is really not possible to compare two different cases and expect them to settle for the same amount.

Common Pedestrian Injuries

The type of injuries a pedestrian has will greatly affect the settlement amount.  When a pedestrian has minor injuries that completely heal, if there is a settlement it will be quite small.  Overall, the more severe the injuries, the larger the settlement.  The most common pedestrian injuries are:

Factors that Influence Settlement Amount

Of course, the severity of the injuries greatly affects the settlement amount.  But there are plenty of other important factors as well.  The most common things that will influence the settlement amount are:

  • The severity of the injuries
  • The quality of the personal injury lawyer you hire
  • The competence of the insurance adjuster
  • The type of medical care and the amount of the medical bills
  • How much time was missed from work and how much work you will miss in the future
  • How the injuries affect your daily life
  • Whether you will have a full recovery
  • Whether the car driver was clearly at fault
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7

Who is at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

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Who is at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

A sideswipe accident occurs when two cars are going the same direction and the side of one car hits the side of the other car. Most of the time this happens because one car leaves its lane of travel and sideswipes the other car. This is commonly referred to as an unsafe lane change.

The car that leaves its lane of travel is usually the one that is at fault for causing the sideswipe accident. The two most common types of sideswipe accidents occur when changing lanes and when merging. This article will address who is at fault in a car accident wh

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A sideswipe accident occurs when two cars are going the same direction and the side of one car hits the side of the other car. Most of the time this happens because one car leaves its lane of travel and sideswipes the other car. This is commonly referred to as an unsafe lane change.

The car that leaves its lane of travel is usually the one that is at fault for causing the sideswipe accident. The two most common types of sideswipe accidents occur when changing lanes and when merging. This article will address who is at fault in a car accident when changing lanes. It will also address who is at fault when merging.

DETERMINING FAULT IN A SIDESWIPE ACCIDENT

All cars have a duty to stay in their lane of travel and not leave it unless it is safe to do so. It is easy to say the car that leaves its lane of travel and makes an unsafe lane change is the car that is at fault for causing the sideswipe accident. But it is not always easy to determine which car left its lane of travel. Sometimes the type of damage and the location of the damage on the vehicles can give you clues. Sometimes where the vehicles came to rest can also give you clues. But most of the time the determination of which vehicle entered the other vehicle’s lane of travel will be based on the car driver’s accounts and the witnesses accounts of what happened. Unfortunately, drivers and witnesses can have different accounts of what happened. For this reason, determining who is at fault for a sideswipe accident can sometimes be difficult.

WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN CHANGING LANES?

The driver that changes lanes is usually at fault. Before changing lanes, a car driver has the obligation to ensure it is safe to do so. What the driver needs to do will depend on the circumstances. In general, the driver must make sure there is enough room to enter the other lane. Most drivers will look in their mirror before changing lanes. But mirrors often have blind spots. Some drivers will not take the time to check their blind spots. Other drivers will not use a turn signal before changing lanes. Of course, none of this means the driver that does not change lanes has no fault. Sometimes the driver that does not change lanes can have some fault too.

When does the Driver that Changes Lanes Have Fault?

Common ways the car driver is at fault changing lanes are:

  • Failing to make sure there is enough room to change lanes
  • Failing to check blind spots before changing lanes
  • Drifting into another lane because of a distraction
  • Failing to put on a turn signal before changing lanes
  • Driving too fast for the road conditions or the weather
  • Failing to turn on headlights at night
  • Speeding
  • Intentionally cutting off another car because of road rage
  • Intoxication on alcohol or drugs causing a driver to swerve between lanes
  • Hydroplaning or spinning on wet or icy roads
  • Cutting off the other vehicle

When does the Driver that does not Change Lanes Have Some Fault?

The driver that does not change lanes usually will not be completely at fault for the accident. But they can have some fault when they do not fulfill their driving obligations. The driver that does not change lanes has an obligation to pay attention to the movement of the other cars and drive a safe speed for the conditions. When a driver fails to do these things, they can have some fault for an accident when another driver changes lanes. Common ways a driver that did not change lanes can have some fault in an accident when another car changes lanes include:

  • Speeding up as the other vehicle is changing lanes in front
  • Slowing down as the other vehicle changes lanes behind
  • Texting or talking on the phone. This is commonly referred to as distracted driving
  • Purposefully refusing to let the other car enter the lane of travel

WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN MERGING?

Merging occurs when a lane is about to end and a car driver must enter into a lane that will be continuing to go forward. Most of the time drivers that are merging during an accident are at fault because the other driver has the right of way. The merging driver is supposed to yield the right of way. When they fail to do so they are at fault. Of course the vehicle that is not merging can also have fault when there is something they could do to avoid the accident.

When is an Accident the Merging Drivers Fault?

It’s not possible to list all the ways a merging driver can be at fault. But there are some types of merging accidents that occur frequently. Common ways the merging driver is at fault include:

  • Merging onto the roadway to fast
  • Merging onto the highway to slow
  • Cutting off the other vehicle
  • Failing to use a turn signal
  • Hesitating when merging
  • Failing to check for cars in the other lane before merging

When does the Non-Merging Driver have Some Fault?

The non-merging driver has an obligation to recognize the lane next to it is about to end and anticipate drivers from that lane will be merging into their lane. When the non-merging vehicle fails to do so, they can have some fault in causing the accident. Common ways the non-merging driver can have some fault are:

  • Failing to adjust speed to allow the merging driver to enter the lane of travel
  • Failing to slow down
  • Purposefully speeding up so the merging driver cannot enter the lane of travel
  • Tailgating the vehicle in front so there is no room for the merging driver to enter the lane

WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN BOTH CARS ARE SWITCHING LANES?

When both cars are switching lanes, they probably both have some fault in causing an accident. This commonly occurs when there are three lanes or more of travel in one direction. A car in the outside lane attempts to move into the center lane at the same time a car in the inside lane attempts to move into the center lane. Some part of the side of each vehicle collides as they both enter the middle lane at the same time. Both cars will usually have some fault because neither car has the right of way to enter the middle lane. They both have an obligation to ensure the middle lane is clear before they switch lanes. Common reasons drivers fail to anticipate the middle lane is clear before switching lanes are:

  • Failing to look at the cars that are two lanes over before entering the middle lane
  • Failing to see the car two lanes over has their turn signal on and is already switching lanes into the middle lane
  • Attempting to cross multiple lanes at once without pausing between lane changes
  • Switching back and forth between multiple lanes to try and get ahead of traffic
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8

Who is at Fault When an Open Car Door is Hit?

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Who is at Fault When an Open Car Door is Hit?

If you hit an open car door, it does not matter if you are driving a bicycle, a car, or any other type of vehicle. It also does not matter if you are pulling into a parking space or driving in the inside lane. The law for who is at fault if you hit an open car door is the same. This article will discuss when the person that opened the door has fault and when the person that hit the car door has fault. It will also discuss special open car door accidents with bicycles called “Dooring Accidents”. It will also discuss pulling into a parking sp

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If you hit an open car door, it does not matter if you are driving a bicycle, a car, or any other type of vehicle. It also does not matter if you are pulling into a parking space or driving in the inside lane. The law for who is at fault if you hit an open car door is the same. This article will discuss when the person that opened the door has fault and when the person that hit the car door has fault. It will also discuss special open car door accidents with bicycles called “Dooring Accidents”. It will also discuss pulling into a parking space and hitting an open car door.

THE PERSON THAT OPENED THE CAR DOOR ALMOST ALWAYS HAS FAULT

The overwhelming majority of states have a law that assigns fault to the person that opens their car door. When you think about it this makes sense. The person that opens their car door is not moving and has the opportunity to look before opening their car door. On the other hand, the person that hit the car door is moving and depending on their speed may have very little opportunity to avoid hitting the door.

The law gives the person that opened the car door the following duties:

  • not to open a car door unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic.
  • not to leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

THE PERSON THAT HIT THE OPEN CAR DOOR MAY HAVE SOME FAULT

You will not have fault if you hit an open car door when there was no way to avoid doing so. But that is not always the case. Sometimes there may be an opportunity to avoid the collision with the open car door. If there is such an opportunity the person that hit the open car door will have some fault. This applies whether you are driving a motorcycle, a bicycle, a scooter, a car, a truck, or any other type of vehicle.

Assessing fault of the person that hit the open car door will depend on whether the person was traveling too fast for the road conditions and whether there was an opportunity to go around the open door by taking evasive actions.

Hitting an Open Car Door When Driving Too Fast for the Road Conditions

All drivers have an obligation to drive at a safe speed given the road conditions. This obligation exists regardless of the speed limit. This means that if the road conditions are such that you should be going slower than the speed limit, you have an obligation to do so.

In the situation where a driver hits an open door, if the road conditions warranted driving slower and driving slower would have given you the opportunity to miss the open door, then you will have some fault for doing so.

Hitting an Open Door After Failing to take Evasive Actions

All drivers have an obligation to take evasive actions to avoid a car accident when there is an opportunity to do so. For example, the driver that hit the open car door may have been able to move to the left and avoided hitting the car door. If they do not, then they may have some fault in the collision with the open car door.

WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN A BICYLCE IS HIT BY AN OPEN CAR DOOR?

Bicycle accidents that involve a cyclist hitting an open car door happen with so much frequency that is has been given a special name. It is called a dooring accident because the cyclist gets doored on impact.

The rules above apply to dooring accidents. But there are also some special circumstances when bikes are involved.

The Door Zone is the Death Zone

The door zone is the area within the width of a fully opened car door. Riding within the door zone is the surest way to get doored by an opening car door. This area varies depending on the length of the particular car door involved. Estimates range anywhere between 3 to 5 feet. As result, most cycling experts agree that riders should attempt to ride at least 5 feet away from parallel parked cars. Simply put, this is called riding in the safe zone. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to do so.

When There is No Bike Lane

When there is no bike lane, the cyclist is supposed to ride close to the inside curb. This puts them very close to opening car doors that are parallel parked. In fact, it may put them is the unsafe door zone because cars will often ride next to the bicycle rider. The end result is that the cyclist may have no real room to move to the left to avoid a car door that opens abruptly. Adding heavy traffic to the situation makes things even more difficult for the bike rider. Lastly, given all the things a cyclist has to pay attention to, there can be very little time to react. All of this is a recipe for disaster for the bike rider.

When There is a Bike Lane

There is a large push in urban areas to add bike lanes. This has been seen as an effort to make biking safer inside cities. Unfortunately, this effort may have increased the number of dooring accidents. The reason is that the bike lane is always between the inside traffic lane and the area where cars can parallel park. Often the bike lane is too narrow and as a result, the rider is forced to ride within the door zone. When a car door is opened into the bike lane, the bike lane is not wide enough to allow the rider to move to the left. The cyclist has no choice but to hit the open car door if they cannot stop in time.

WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN A CAR HITS AN OPEN CAR DOOR WHEN PULLING INTO A PARKING SPACE?

There are some special circumstances in determining who is at fault when a car hits an open car door when pulling into a parking space. The person that opens the car door will be under the assumption the parking space next to them is empty as they open the car door. In addition, the person that is pulling into the open car space is moving slowly and often will have plenty of time to see the car door opening. So, the person pulling into the parking space may have more fault.

But this is not always the case. If the car was most of the way into the parking space when the car door was opened, there would be no real way to avoid the crash. Under these circumstances, the person that opened the car door may have more fault.

The people involved will often have conflicting statements about the timing of the events. Sometimes, the damage to the car door and the location of the damage on the moving car can help decide the timing of the events.

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Who is at Fault in a Head-On Collision?

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Who is at Fault in a Head-On Collision?

Head on collisions happen rarely. But when they do happen, the tremendous forces involved upon impact means that the injuries are usually catastrophic or fatal. As a result, it is important to know what it is, how fault is determined, who is at fault, and how to avoid it. This guide will help answer those questions.

What is a Head-On Collision?

A head on collision (also called a frontal collision) occurs when two vehicles travelling the opposite direction collide into each other. If there is impact damage to the front of both vehicles, then the

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Head on collisions happen rarely. But when they do happen, the tremendous forces involved upon impact means that the injuries are usually catastrophic or fatal. As a result, it is important to know what it is, how fault is determined, who is at fault, and how to avoid it. This guide will help answer those questions.

What is a Head-On Collision?

A head on collision (also called a frontal collision) occurs when two vehicles travelling the opposite direction collide into each other. If there is impact damage to the front of both vehicles, then the chances are there was a head on collision. They can happen with a car, truck, or motorcycle. If the front of each vehicle crashes into each other, it is a head on collision or frontal collision no matter what type of vehicle is involved. They usually happen when one driver crosses the center of the road and drives into oncoming traffic. They also happen when a driver is simply driving the wrong way in traffic.

How is Fault Determined in a Head-On Collision?

Fault is determined in a head on collision, (also referred to as a frontal crash) just like fault is determined in any other type of car crash. The concept of negligence is used. Negligence is defined as the failure to use reasonable care to avoid causing injury to someone else. So, in a head on collision or frontal crash, negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to avoid causing injury while driving. Reasonable care means a driver is paying attention to the road ahead, paying attention to the road signs, not drifting into the oncoming lane of traffic, and not driving the wrong way on the road. When one or more drivers fail to do these things, it can be easy to determine who was at fault.

Causes of Head-On Collisions

There are many causes of head-on collisions. Most of them stem from a driver not using reasonable care while driving. Below are the most common ones:

  • Traveling the wrong way on the road
  • Crossing over the center line
  • Speeding
  • Falling asleep at the wheel and drifting into oncoming traffic
  • Failing to see, read, or follow road signs describing the direction traffic is supposed to be traveling
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Distracted driving by doing things such as texting, talking on the phone, or using a GPS
  • Passing a vehicle ahead on a two lane road by driving in the opposite lane of travel
  • Driving in dangerous weather conditions
  • Turning the wrong way down a one way street

The Driver Going the Wrong Way is Usually at Fault for Causing a Head-On Crash

The obvious answer is that the vehicle traveling in the wrong direction is usually at fault in a head on crash. For example, an intoxicated driver may begin weaving side to side. At some point the driver may then swerve so far to one side that the car enters the lane of oncoming traffic. Another example would be a driver new to an area does not realize a particular street is one way. The driver turns down the one-way street in the wrong direction and crashes into oncoming traffic.

But this is not always the case. Sometimes a crash between automobiles traveling the same direction sends one or more of them into oncoming traffic. In this case fault for the head on crash would be assigned to whichever vehicle bumped the other.

Other times, the head on crash is not the fault of any of the drivers. Examples of this include one of the drivers having a sudden unexpected medical emergency, a car has a tire blowout, a vehicle has a steering defect, a roadway is improperly constructed, or a road sign indicating the proper direction of traffic has been removed.

How Do You Prove Who is at Fault in a Head-On Collision?

Many times, the at fault driver will admit to they caused the front end collision. Other times, all drivers involved will have different recollections of what happened and or will lie about what happened in hopes of shifting the blame. Lastly, sometimes the impact is so severe that neither driver remembers what happened. In all of these circumstances the physical evidence at the scene may help prove who was at fault for causing the front end collision. However, it is not always easy to this figure out.

Unfortunately, law enforcement does not always concentrate their efforts on preserving all of the evidence at the scene. Furthermore, by the time you go to a injury lawyer, much of the evidence at the scene will be gone. As a result, if you are in a front end collision, you may be the best person to gather the evidence before it disappears. So, if you are physically able to do so, and you remember to do so, you should definitely gather what you can. Evidence to gather will include photos of the front end damage to the vehicles, photos of the resting points of the vehicles, photos depicting the location of debris from the crash, and photos of skid marks. Names, addresses, and phone numbers of eyewitnesses will also be important.

An experienced auto accident attorney may be able to gather whatever evidence you are not able to collect yourself. In addition, once everything has been collected, an attorney can also analyze everything, compare it to what the drivers are saying, and come to a conclusion about which driver was driving on the wrong side of the road and why.

Sometimes, however, you may need the help of an accident reconstruction expert to figure who is at at fault for a front end collision. This type of expert is trained to look at the evidence and reconstruct what happened. But in the end, it may be one drivers word against the other. If this happens it may come down to who is more believable regarding which driver caused the head on collision.

Common Injuries That Occur in Head-On Collisions

Because of the forces involved in head on crashes, they usually cause severe injuries and even death. The most common injuries that occur in this type of crash include:

  • Abdominal injuries
  • Foot, ankle and lower extremity injuries and fractures
  • Pelvic fractures
  • Chest and rib fractures
  • Head trauma, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Whiplash, neck pain, and back pain
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Who is at Fault in a Rear End Collision?

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Who is at Fault in a Rear End Collision?

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) nearly half of all traffic accidents involve a rear end accident.  Given the sheer number of times a rear end car accident occurs, it is important to know what it is, how fault is determined, who is at fault when it happens, and how to avoid it.  This article will help answer those questions.

WHAT IS A REAR END AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT?

A rear end automobile accident, also called a rear end crash, happens when a vehicle in back (the rear vehicle) hits the back of the vehicle in front of

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According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) nearly half of all traffic accidents involve a rear end accident.  Given the sheer number of times a rear end car accident occurs, it is important to know what it is, how fault is determined, who is at fault when it happens, and how to avoid it.  This article will help answer those questions.

WHAT IS A REAR END AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT?

A rear end automobile accident, also called a rear end crash, happens when a vehicle in back (the rear vehicle) hits the back of the vehicle in front of it (the front vehicle). It does not matter if either vehicle involved is a car, truck or motorcycle. If one runs into the back of the other, it is considered a rear end auto accident. It also does not matter how many cars, trucks, or motorcycles are involved. In fact, many times rear end crashes involve more than just two vehicles. This type of multi car crash is more common on highways and freeways.

HOW IS FAULT DETERMINED IN A REAR END CAR ACCIDENT?

In a rear end auto accident, just like any other type of car accident, the concept of negligence is used to determine fault. Negligence is usually defined as the failure to use reasonable care to avoid causing injury to another person. So, in a rear end auto accident, negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to avoid causing injury while driving. Reasonable care means paying attention while driving, not posing a risk to other drivers, and anticipating that vehicles in front of you may have to come to a stop. Although either the front driver or the rear driver can fail to use reasonable care, there are certain reasons that make it overwhelmingly likely that the accident will ultimately be the rear driver’s fault.

THE REAR DRIVER IS USUALLY AT FAULT IN A REAR END CAR CRASH

Drivers have a duty to pay attention to the road conditions, weather conditions, and traffic patterns of the vehicles ahead. After taking into account all of the above, a driver must drive at a speed that leaves enough room between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead to stop and or avoid a crash. This is commonly referred to as keeping a safe distance.

The reason most rear end auto accidents are the fault of the rear driver is because the rear driver can see what is ahead and take defensive measures to prevent the crash.  Simply put, in most circumstances, if the rear driver is paying attention to the weather conditions, the road conditions, and the traffic ahead, they should be able to keep the proper distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them so that they can stop in time.  In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded that 87% of rear end crashes were caused at least in part by the rear driver failing to pay attention to the traffic ahead.
This can occur for many reasons including distractions like texting, talking on the phone, or sending emails.  It can also happen because the driver is drunk or taking drugs. Other times it simply day dreaming.

WHEN IS THE FRONT DRIVER AT FAULT FOR A REAR END CRASH

The front driver is supposed to be paying attention to the road ahead of them. As a result, the front driver usually has no idea an accident is about to happen and has no way to prevent the rear driver from hitting their car. This is especially true when the front driver is stopped. But there are a few times when the actions of the front driver make it impossible for the rear driver to stop in time even when the rear driver is paying attention and keeping a proper distance. In those circumstances, the front driver may be responsible for causing the accident. The following circumstances make it more likely that the front driver is at fault:

  • A sudden abrupt stop at a time and location that is not foreseeable
  • The front driver begins to accelerate in reverse
  • The front driver’s tail lights are not working
  • The front driver pulls into traffic from a side street without leaving enough room for the rear car to slow in time to avoid the crash

Under these circumstances, the law will usually assign some if not all of the responsibility for causing the crash to the front driver.

WHEN WILL NONE OF THE DRIVERS BE AT FAULT IN A REAR END AUTO ACCIDENT?

Believe it or not, there are some rare occasions when a rear end collision might not be either driver’s fault. Sometimes there is simply nothing that either driver could have done to avoid the collision. The law usually considers the following circumstances not the fault of either driver:

  • The rear driver has a sudden unexpected and unforeseeable medical emergency
  • The rear driver’s vehicle has a design defect or manufacturing defect that creates a sudden inability to stop the rear car. (In this circumstance, the car manufacturer may be at fault)

HOW DO YOU PROVE WHO IS AT FAULT IN A REAR END AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT?

Sometimes both drivers agree about the sequence of events leading up to the impact. In this case it is not difficult to determine who is at fault. But many other times, however, drivers have different recollections of the events. The differing recollections may point to differing beliefs about who is at fault. As a result, drivers may have to prove their account of the accident is correct. Since there is important evidence at the scene that may disappear by the time you hire an attorney, you might be the best person to gather evidence while you’re still at the scene. It is often difficult to do so because you may be too pumped up to remember or you may be too hurt to do so. But if your physically able, gathering this evidence before you leave the scene can often provide tremendous help in determining fault. Evidence to gather will include photos of the vehicle resting points at the scene, photos of the damage to the vehicles, skid marks, and photographs depicting the location of debris from the crash. Eyewitness testimony will also be important. So if you can, get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone that saw what happened.

An experienced car accident attorney can help gather any evidence you were not able to collect yourself. Once all the evidence is gathered, an auto accident attorney can also analyze it and compare it with what each of the drivers is saying and see which version of the events makes the most sense.

In cases involving catastrophic injury, your attorney may need the help of an accident reconstruction expert to help analyze the evidence and come to a conclusion about what happened. This type of expert is specially trained to look at the evidence and render opinions about what happened. For example, if the lead driver says they came to a gradual stop, but the rear driver says there was a sudden and abrupt stop, skid marks, crush damage, the final resting place of the vehicles and the location of debris may give the accident reconstruction expert clues to what happened.

In the end, there may be very little evidence to support what either driver is saying happened. If this happens it may come down to the credibility of the drivers. In other words, it may come down to which driver is more believable. When this happens, the driver that is more believable may ultimately prevail.

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