Car Accident Scenarios: Who’s at Fault?

Whos At Fault After an Accident

While car accidents happen every day, you can only hope that you are not in one of those accidents. If you are, you should know who is at fault.

In some cases, it’s difficult to determine who is at fault, such as in a rear-end wreck or when one driver causes another driver to hit you. Since insurance companies will do anything to get out of paying a claim so they can put more money into their own pockets, you should at least have a good idea of who is at fault. A car accident lawyer can help you determine who is at fault and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Running Traffic Control Signals

Red lights, yield signs, stop signs—drivers running any traffic control signals endanger others. If these accidents do not cause severe or catastrophic injuries, they cause fatalities. Running a traffic control sign often causes T-bone accidents, though this action could cause sideswipes and other accidents, depending on the circumstances.

T-bone accidents are often severe or deadly because that part of the vehicle does not have as much protection—at least in older vehicles. Some newer vehicles have enforced steel beams and airbags to help protect the vehicle occupants.

The driver that runs a traffic control signal is usually the at-fault driver. However, if a driver is waiting at a traffic control signal and another driver rear-ends the driver at the light, pushing him or her into another driver in the intersection, the fault typically lies with the second driver.

Rear-End Accidents

Many people assume that when one person runs into another from behind, the trailing driver caused the crash. However, that is not necessarily the case. Either party or a third driver could be at fault.

In some cases, the leading driver could be at fault. For example, if the leading driver brake checks the trailing driver, the leading driver is usually at fault. Or, if a third driver hits the trailing driver who then hits you, the third driver must pay for your injuries and other damages and those of the driver behind you.

If you are the trailing driver and the front driver caused the crash, whether by brake checking or because of car trouble that caused a stall, a car accident investigation should find that you were not at fault.

Rear-end wrecks can happen anywhere, including in parking lots, at traffic control signals, and even while traveling down a highway.

Parking Lot Crashes

Parking lot accidents rarely cause fatalities because of the lower speed. However, if someone speeds through a parking lot, either to avoid the police or beat a red light, they could kill someone. Additionally, if a vehicle hits a bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian, even at a slow speed, the accident could result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.

Some common parking lot accident scenarios include:

  • Someone hits a driver backing out of a parking spot. Usually, the driver backing out is at fault since the driver moving forward has the right of way.
  • A driver pulls through one space into another instead of backing into or out of a space. The driver in the parking spaces is usually at fault. If the driver is pulling through an empty space in front of them to leave, technically, the driver is going the wrong way. If a driver pulls into a space and then pulls through to the space in front and another driver pulls in because the driver pulling in didn’t see the driver pulling through, the driver pulling through is usually at fault since they are going the wrong way.
  • When two drivers wreck trying to beat each other into a space, the person who did not have the right-of-way is at fault.
  • Wrecks at the end of an aisle. This is akin to T-boning someone because the driver did not stop at a traffic control signal. The driver in the aisle must treat the intersection as an intersection with no signals. Since the driver in the aisle is the one pulling into the main throughway, the person in the aisle who did not stop is usually at fault.

It’s hard to determine fault in parking lot accidents, so seek legal advice right after a car accident. If injuries prevent you from contacting a car accident lawyer, your spouse or another close relative can contact the attorney for you.

Accident Variables

Even though the rules of the road state that one driver is at fault, that is not always the case. For example, in a rear-end crash, if the leading driver is distracted by a text, happens to look up, and slams the brakes on because he thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye, causing the trailing driver to rear-end him, the first driver is more likely at fault.

You just never know in certain circumstances who is at fault. Thus, never admit fault, even if you believe you are at fault for an accident. Contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible and let the attorney’s investigative team determine who is at fault.

Other circumstances can put another driver at fault, even if the accident looks like your fault—for example, if the other driver was under the influence or driving while drowsy or distracted. The other driver’s vehicle might malfunction, causing an accident.

Let accident investigators determine fault, especially if your injuries are severe or catastrophic or if the accident caused the death of one of the drivers.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, contact a vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

  • Avvo Rating
  • The National Trial Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers Rising Stars
  • Best Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2020
  • Avvo Clients Choice Award 2019

Schedule a Free Consultation

We are a young, energetic law firm with the experience, resources, and most importantly, personalities to connect with our clients, understand what is most important to them, and achieve their goals. * Required Field