Car Accident Liability: Types of Accidents and Who is Responsible
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Car Accident Liability


Who is Responsible in a Car Accident


If you are in a car accident that was not your fault and experience serious injuries, you need to understand car accident liability. With the help of experienced car accident lawyers, you can receive financial compensation to cover lost wages, medical bills, and damages for pain and suffering. But before your case can go to court, you and your attorney must figure out who is responsible for the accident. Car accident liability varies depending on the type of car accident.


car accident liability


Rear End Accidents


A rear end accident occurs when another car hits you from behind. This is one of the most common type of car accidents. Most of the time, the car hit from behind is never at fault for the accident. Part of safe driving includes leaving enough space between your car and the car in front of you, to allow for a safe stopping distance. In this type of case, it is usually easy to prove who is at fault for the accident. In fact, sometimes the Court will find in favor of the vehicle that was rear ended as a matter of law.


Additionally, liability can lie with the front car. If the front car has a broken tail light, for example, or a flat tire, the jury may find both cars liable for the accident. A jury can also hold the front car liable for a sudden and abrupt stop that caused the accident.


Left-Turn Collisions


A left-turn collision occurs when a car attempts to turn left through an intersection and crashes with another car. In general, cars driving straight through the intersection have the right of way. This means that the car making the left turn usually is at fault for the accident. However, if a car speeds through the intersection or runs a red light while the left-turning car has the right of way, that car may also be found to be at fault.


Side Impacts and T-Bone Collisions


A side impact crash, or a T-Bone collision, is when one car hits another car in a perpendicular direction. This is one of the most fatal types of car accidents. Again, liability depends on which driver was being negligent at the time of the accident. The most common types of negligence in these cases are:


  • Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign
  • Failing to yield to other drivers at a light
  • Turning across traffic lanes
  • Not looking at oncoming traffic when making a turn at an intersection
  • Reckless and aggressive driving
  • Talking on cell phones and texting
  • Driving while intoxicated or impaired

These are all illegal, unsafe, and can result in a driver being found at fault. Bad weather or a car malfunction can also cause a collision, but the liability may be more complicated.




Generally pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the street. Drivers have an obligation to keep a proper lookout. Drivers are also required to stop when a pedestrian is seen crossing the street. It is not enough for a driver to claim that he did not see the pedestrian crossing before the accident. The law imposes on the driver the obligation to “see that which is there to be seen.” This means that a driver must always be aware of pedestrians in the vicinity of where the vehicle is being operated. In fact, when a driver claims that he did not see the pedestrian, although the pedestrian was there to “be seen,” the driver is at fault.


Multiple Vehicle Accidents


About one third of all car accidents involve more than two vehicles. This is called a multi-vehicle accident. This means that there are many parties that could potentially be liable. Tired drivers, intoxicated drivers, distracted drivers, and drivers involved in a police chase cause many multi-vehicle accidents. So, determining the cause of the accident is very important when determining liability. Usually, when these accidents happen, investigators try to see if they can figure out which driver or drivers were being negligent. Sometimes drivers share liability. If the cause of the accident was the weather, then the jury must consider whether the drivers were careful under the existing weather conditions.


Comparative Negligence


In some cases, there is the possibility for all parties involved to share fault and responsibility. This is called comparative negligence. Basically, when multiple parties are found to be at fault for the accident, the jury is asked to decide the percentage of fault of each person involved. For example, one driver could be found to be 25% at fault, while the other found to be 75% at fault. As a result, one driver pays 25% of the total verdict, while the other pays 75% of the total verdict.


Contact the experienced car accident attorneys at today if you have any questions. Focus on your injury, and let our dedicated team recover the compensation you deserve. Call today, or fill out this free online form.



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