Car Accident Scenarios: Who’s At Fault?

Car Accident Scenarios: Who’s At Fault?

Each year in the United States, more than 4.4 million motor vehicle accident victims need medical attention. Experts estimate that their economic impact is $871 billion annually. In fact, the U.S. has the highest number of car crash fatalities among the high-income countries, including Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan.

In one recent year, 931 people lost their lives on roadways in New York State, and nearly 11,300 serious injuries resulted from motor vehicle accidents. According to information provided by the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, serious injuries and deaths caused by car crashes are trending downward when looking at the five-year rolling average. Yet, these numbers are still far too high. All types of accidents can cause severe and fatal injuries, even ones that might seem minor or occur at slow speeds.

No matter what kind of car accident you were involved in, it’s imperative that you speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. They can also help identify who is responsible for causing the accident and hold them liable. With a reputable car accident lawyer on your side, you can rest and recover from your injuries with the assurance that they will fully maximize your compensation.

Understanding the different types of car crashes and their causes help injured parties and their attorneys discover who is at fault for an accident. If the legal system blames the wrong party for an accident, the injured party won’t receive the compensation they deserve. Determining who is liable and pursuing compensation from every possible party will lead to the best outcome in your case.

Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision happens when the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of another. Depending on the speed at which the vehicles were traveling, rear-end collisions can cause serious injuries.

Three potential parties could bear fault:

  • Rear driver: The rear driver is at fault for most rear-end collisions. Maybe they were distracted, following too close, or speeding.
  • Front driver: If the front driver applied their brakes suddenly or put their car in reverse for whatever reason, they might be at least partly at fault.
  • Third party: Sometimes, neither the rear nor front driver is at fault for these accidents. Third-party causes could involve bad road design, lack of road maintenance, malfunctioning traffic lights, or a mechanical defect, such as faulty brakes. Often, third-party liability isn’t readily apparent, so it’s critical to have a knowledgeable car accident attorney who can thoroughly investigate your accident.

Sideswipe Crashes

A sideswipe crash occurs when two cars are traveling in the same or opposite directions, and the side of one car crashes into the side of the other vehicle. Sideswipe collisions most often happen when two cars collide while changing lanes.

Determining fault can be challenging to determine.

Evidence of negligence for either party might include:

  • Not signaling before changing lanes
  • Failing to check blind spots before making a lane change
  • Distracted driving such as texting or reaching into the backseat
  • Suddenly speeding up or slowing down when changing lanes
  • Recklessly weaving in and out of or between lanes

In some accidents, multiple parties can have liability. For instance, if two other drivers caused your accident, or a commercial driver hits you making their employer liable as well. In these cases, courts assign each party a percentage of fault, and each at-fault party must compensate the injured party the apportioned amount of their percentage of fault.

Shared liability can happen in many different car accident scenarios. You need a lawyer who can identify all liable parties to ensure you receive full compensation.

Backing/Parking Lot Accidents

A crash while backing up in a parking lot might seem like the least dangerous of all car accidents due to the lower speeds at which they occur. However, severe injuries, damages, and fatalities can still result, especially if the accident involves bicyclists or pedestrians.

Determining liability in a car crash within a parking lot will depend on how the crash happened. One of the most common parking lot collisions occurs when a vehicle backs up from a parking spot and backs into another car that is driving in the through lane. Most of the time, vehicles that are traveling in the through lane have the right-of-way. In this scenario, courts will most likely assign the car backing up fault for the accident.

Another common parking lot accident occurs when two cars collide backing from their parking spots on opposite sides of the same lane. Both motorists must ensure safety before moving their cars. If one car is already backing out, other vehicles must wait for them to move before moving out of their spot. The second vehicle to back out or move will typically be at fault in this case.

Rollover Crashes

When a vehicle’s tires leave the road, causing it to land on its side or upside down, a rollover accident occurs. Rollover crashes can happen for many reasons but typically involve severe or catastrophic injuries and fatalities. They are one of the most severe accidents you can be involved in. Vehicles with a higher center of gravity, such as trucks, busses, vans, and SUVS, are more likely than others to be in a rollover accident.

Frequently, rollovers only involve one vehicle, but that doesn’t mean that other parties can’t be liable. Tripping, when a car’s tires hit a curb, bump, or soft soil, can cause rollover accidents. Sometimes defective tires are to blame. Overcorrecting or trying to swerve suddenly to avoid colliding with another vehicle or object can also lead to rollover crashes.

T-Bone Collisions

A T-bone collision is one of the most dangerous motor vehicle accident scenarios, primarily due to the lack of side protection in cars. Fault for these types of accidents mainly depends on the cause of the accident.

Usually, the main contributing factor of a T-bone collision is one driver failing to give the other driver the right-of-way. For instance, a motorist running a red light or a stop sign at an intersection and then crashing perpendicular into another vehicle occurs when one driver fails to yield the right-of-way. Fault goes to the driver failing to yield the right-of-way to the other car.

However, in some cases, courts can also assign liability to both parties. Besides the driver who failed to give the right-of-way, the other driver might have been distracted or speeding at the time of the incident, which also contributed to the crash.

Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions are one of the most injurious and deadly types of crashes. They occur when two vehicles are traveling in opposite directions, and the front of each vehicle collides with the other. These types of accidents are rare but can cause fatalities and catastrophic injuries.

Often, a head-on collision results from one driver driving on the wrong side of the road, possibly due to intoxication, distraction, or falling asleep at the wheel. They may also be confused by on and off-ramps or swerving into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid another crash or obstacle in the road.

The at-fault driver will always be the driver who was driving the wrong way, although, in some scenarios, another party may have some liability. For example, if Driver A switched lanes without properly looking and caused Driver B to swerve into oncoming traffic, Driver B would not be solely to blame.

Chain Reaction Crashes

Suppose a chain-reaction crash involves three or more vehicles. In that case, determining fault can present quite a challenge due to the multiple motorists involved.

A chain-reaction crash happens when an accident occurs between three or more vehicles. For example:

Car Z → Car Y → Car X | Red Light

Both Car Y and Car X are stationary at a red light. Car Z approaches the red light behind Car Y.

However, the driver of Car Z was texting and didn’t slow down enough, causing them to hit Car Y in the rear. The first impact to Car Y pushes it into Car X, causing another collision. Without Car Z's negligence, Car Y never would have hit Car X.

In this scenario, the most apparent offender would be the driver of Car Z since they were texting and didn’t slow down enough. It’s unlikely, but partial fault could also be attributed to Cars X and Y if a court finds them to be negligent in causing the accident.

Hit And Run Accidents

Hit and run accidents can happen in nearly any type of accident scenario. The crash occurs, and one party immediately leaves the scene. This often happens if the driver is drinking or under the influence of drugs while driving. It could also happen if they were doing something else illegal—for example, driving a stolen vehicle or if they don’t have insurance coverage. No matter their reasoning, not stopping at the scene of an accident they were involved in is illegal. Whenever property damage or injuries occur, drivers must remain at the scene. If they aren’t sure if either has occurred, they need to stop to find out.

Suppose you are involved in a hit-and-run accident. In that case, you must hire a seasoned car accident lawyer. They can help you recover your damages to the fullest extent possible. Even if you can’t locate the other driver, you may still be able to receive compensation for your injuries if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy.

Impaired Driving Accidents

Any accident scenario can involve a driver impaired by alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs. No matter what type of accident occurred, driving while under the influence of these substances is illegal and will result in some degree of liability. The amount of liability assigned to them will depend upon the circumstances and the actions of the other driver(s) involved.

It’s crucial to note that even though impaired drivers face criminal charges, you can still file a civil case to pursue compensation. Criminal and civil cases are entirely separate, and the outcome of one doesn’t necessarily reflect the outcome of the other. Even if a drunk driver is found not guilty in criminal courts, they could still owe you compensation for your injuries.

How A Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

With the frequency of motor vehicle accidents and their resulting injuries, the contested issue of who is liable comes to the forefront of many legal battles. Determining who is at fault in an accident and how the accident occurred can be a complex and time-consuming process. It often requires the expertise of an accident reconstructionist and other professionals.

However, it is necessary to help you win your case and to maximize your compensation. When you hire an experienced Bronx car accident lawyer, they can take care of this for you. You don’t have to make these determinations on your own, hoping you seek compensation from the right party.

Your attorney can handle all your accident-related legal matters while you focus on recovering from your injuries. You won’t need to speak to insurance adjusters because your lawyer will do that on your behalf. If you must speak with them, your attorney can attend to protect you.

Typically, car accident victims who have legal representation for their claim experience less stress than those who don’t. Studies also show that they generally receive more compensation than injured parties who handle their claim independently.

Why Hire an Experienced
Attorney Like Ivan Diamond

If you want to recover the maximum compensation that you deserve, you need an experienced personal injury attorney like Ivan Diamond on your side.

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If you want to recover the maximum compensation that you deserve, you need an experienced personal injury attorney like Ivan Diamond on your side.

Someone who understands the tactics insurance companies and opposing lawyers sometimes use to avoid liability and paying settlements.

Insurance adjusters, in particular, know that you’re going through a difficult time. They may try to take advantage by offering you a lowball settlement, hoping you’ll jump at quick money before you talk to a lawyer. Don’t help them out. Instead, let an experienced attorney handle the negotiations.

The same goes for preparing your claim. A skilled, knowledgeable litigator like me understands what facts and arguments are most important to prove your claim to a judge and jury, if it comes to taking a case to trial. I know how to guide my clients through depositions, discovery, and efforts by opposing lawyers to trap them into saying things that might undermine their case.

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