How to Tell Who’s at Fault in an Auto Accident
During an accident, there are some things that happen that are completely out of your control. One of these is what the other person does. Their decisions are theirs to make, and if they make the wrong one, it is not your fault. There are some things that happen to you, however, that are also somewhat out of your control. Your body may enter the fight or flight state. This can cause a spike in adrenaline, a quickened heart beat, and even a change in body temperature. When your body goes into this state, it can be easy to forget to take care of some of the side issues that come along when you get into an accident. One of these is figuring out who is at fault. While a car accident lawyer is able to help do this for you, it’s always a good idea to have an idea as to how fault is determined during a car accident. Here are a few tips to help you have an idea as to whether or not you are at fault.
Not your Fault: When You’re Hit from Behind
When you are struck from behind, it is generally true that the accident is not going to be your fault. This is because a driver has the responsibility of maintaining control over their vehicle whenever possible. Even though adverse driving conditions can sometimes make it hard, making sure you prevent your vehicle from striking another from behind is a reasonable expectation. Therefore, if you’re in traffic and you have to stop suddenly in order to avoid hitting someone or something, and someone hits you from behind, it is not your fault.
The logic behind this rule is fairly straightforward. Controlling a vehicle is about doing what you can to avoid accidents. The forward motion of your vehicle is very much under your control. If someone chooses to follow another driver too closely, that is a decision that makes it more difficult to prevent the forward motion of their vehicle from causing it to impact the driver in front. Therefore, they are required to be able to stop. If they cannot stop in time, not even a car accident lawyer is going to be able to alter the rules to excuse the mistake. If you happen to be the one who struck someone else from behind, you may still benefit from getting legal advice, and you should contact a car accident lawyer.
Not Your Fault: Hitting Someone Who Cut You Off
When somebody cuts you off, and an accident results, you should certainly contact a car accident lawyer. A driver has the responsibility to know for a reasonable certainty that another car is coming before he or she pulls out into an intersection. This includes driveways, parking lots, and any place where two roads meet. Unless there are mitigating circumstances such as if your car’s headlights were out and the accident occurred at night, it is not your fault if you hit someone who has cut you off. Even if the person pulls out, and you’re nearly able to avoid the collision but still strike the rear side of the car, it is still the other person’s fault for pulling in front of you. This is a sobering reminder for everyone to make sure the coast is completely clear before pulling out.
What to Do When You’re in an Accident
Before you contact a car accident lawyer, you should take a moment to get the facts of the accident. You may find it helpful to take notes or draw diagrams. If there is a police report made, you can get a copy at the station. This may help you get the facts straight before calling an injury lawyer. A Gainesville law firm is going to be able to give you great advice from the moment the accident occurs, so it’s never a mistake to call a personal injury law firm right away—as long as you know your health and that of others has been taken care of. If you need legal help, which most people do, particularly when an accident happens, don’t hesitate to reach out for it. It can make a big difference, whether you’re at fault or not.