How is fault determined in a car accident?

If you have been in a car accident, you know that the person who was determined to cause the accident is legally responsible for the damages. To put it mildly, determining “fault” is a rather big deal.


Unfortunately, determining fault is a rather complicated and sometimes nebulous process. Here are some general rules that are usually considered, but it is important to know that things aren’t always black and white.


  1. A driver might be at fault if he or she didn’t follow traffic laws.

The rules of the road are made to keep drivers and pedestrians safe. If a driver does not merge when instructed or ignores speed limits, he or she may be determined to be at fault if an accident occurs.


  1. The rear driver may be at fault if a car is hit from behind.

Distracted drivers, or drivers following too closely to the vehicle in front of them, may be determined to be at fault if they hit another car from behind. Even if the lead car brakes suddenly, the rear driver should be ready for this and do what is necessary to avoid an accident.


  1. The driver making a left-hand turn may be at fault if he or she hits an oncoming vehicle.

Drivers making left-hand turns are supposed to yield to oncoming traffic. Not doing so may cause you to be assigned fault.


Sometimes determining fault is not a simple process.

For example, what if a driver makes a left-hand turn and hits an oncoming vehicle that was speeding or that ran a red light? What if the car that was hit from behind did not have working tail lights?


If you find yourself in an accident, the less you say, the better. We aren’t encouraging drivers to be deceitful, but you may not know all of the relevant information in the accident. What if the other driver was under the influence or was driving erratically?


For assistance in sorting through the facts of your case, contact Woods Law KC.

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