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Determining Fault in Car Accident Scenarios

Who Is at Fault for Common Car Accident Scenarios?

After a car accident, determining who bears fault for the accident can quickly rise to the top of your priority list. By determining the fault for the accident, you know which insurance company should payout for the accident.

Take a look at these common scenarios and who likely bears fault for them.

Determining Fault in Car Accident Scenarios

1. A Rear-End Collision

A rear-end collision occurs when one vehicle strikes the other in the rear. Often, a rear-end collision occurs because of distraction – a driver who looks down at a phone or toward a conversation partner in another seat instead of the road. In other cases, the rear driver may follow too close to the driver in front, leaving him without enough time to bring the car to a safe stop.

Most of the time, the rear driver will bear liability for a rear-end collision.

However, in some cases, the front driver may bear liability.

  • The front driver backed up into the rear vehicle. Often, this occurs when the two cars stop at a red light or stop sign and the front car sits too far out into the intersection.
  • The front driver does not have working tail lights, and the rear driver had no way to know that the front driver planned to stop.
  • The front driver deliberately slammed on the brakes for no reason to cause a collision.

If the front driver took an action that led to a rear-end collision, working with an attorney can prove critical to establishing liability for the rear-end collision.

2. Drunk Driving Accidents

Driving while impaired can pose a substantial danger. Unfortunately, many drivers choose to get behind the wheel after “just one drink,” insisting that they feel fine to drive or can control the vehicle.

Most people assume that, after an accident with the drunk driver, the drunk driver bears liability. However, the drunk driver may share liability for the incident.

Sometimes, another driver may commit an error that leads to the accident, including driving while distracted or ignoring the rules of the road. A driver who drives aggressively around a drunk driver may also share liability for a drunk driving accident.

3. T-Bone Collisions

A T-bone collision most often occurs in an intersection, as one vehicle strikes another directly in the side. T-bone collisions frequently occur because one vehicle fails to yield right of way at an intersection, including running a red light or stop sign.

Generally, the driver that ignored the rules of the road, including failing to stop at an intersection, will bear liability for a T-bone collision. However, in some cases, a driver who sped into an intersection without looking, even with right of way, may bear liability for an accident: for example, a case in which a car had to stop in the middle of an intersection, or had not yet had time to proceed out of the intersection, despite having right of way.

4. Head-On Collisions

Because head-on collisions involve the combined force of both vehicles, they can mean catastrophic injuries, especially when speeding. Head-on collisions may occur in many scenarios: in intersections, for example, or if one driver drifts out of his traffic lane and into another.

In many head-on collisions, the driver that drifts out of his assigned lane, including a driver who drives while distracted, may bear liability for the accident.

5. Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving occurs all too frequently. Most often the distracted driver bears liability for an accident they caused, whether a distracted driver drifted out of his assigned lane or hit another driver from behind.

Proof of distracted driving can help indicate that a driver bears or shares responsibility for an accident, since a distracted driver may have a much more difficult time responding to potential hazards or dangerous scenarios out on the road.

6. Sideswipe Collisions

A sideswipe collision occurs when one vehicle rubs against the side of another, often because of distraction. Sideswipe collisions usually involve one vehicle entering the other vehicle’s lane. The vehicle that drifts out of its assigned lane will usually bear liability for a sideswipe collision.

7. Mechanical Failures

When a mechanical failure occurs, it can spell disaster for even the most skilled driver. Brake failures, steering control failures, and a host of other problems can all contribute substantially to accident risk out on the road.

The type of mechanical failure may contribute heavily to who bears liability for the accident.

  • The vehicle owner may bear liability for failing to take care of needed maintenance, especially in cases where the owner knew that the vehicle could have serious problems and failed to take care of them. In some cases, this may include corporate owners of vehicles.
  • A mechanic that recently worked on the vehicle and certified it as roadworthy, but who did not take care of the problems with the vehicle, may bear liability for an accident caused by that failure.
  • The vehicle’s manufacturer may bear liability for a mechanical error caused in the factory due to production errors.
  • The manufacturer of a specific part of the vehicle, like the tires, may bear liability when that part fails.

Following a mechanical failure, a lawyer can determine who bears liability for the accident.

Do You Need Help Determining Liability After a Car Accident?

Figuring out who bears liability for an accident can prove critical. Often, however, that process may involve a complex investigation. Contact a lawyer to learn more about who may bear liability for your auto accident and what steps you need to take next.

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