Q Who’s liable if I get hit by a car while turning out of a driveway?
You and your wife just had a lovely date night downtown. You had a semi-romantic dinner at The Harlequin, and then saw a special showing of “Gone with the Wind” at Cinemark 348. The night was absolutely stress free and delightful; however, you knew that was going to change as soon as you got in the car to go home.
You absolutely hate trying to turn out of the theater’s parking lot onto Prien Lake Road. Every time you attempt it, you wind up sitting in the driveway for 10 minutes—until you can make your way into traffic. Well, not tonight. Tonight, when you see an opportunity, you’re going to take it.
Like an eagle, you trained your eyes on the line of traffic—trying to hone in on a possible break. Remarkably you found one. As the space got closer you inched out onto the road. As soon as it approached you quickly slid part way into it. You only managed part way, because as you were 3/4 of the way in to the lane, a car on Prien Lake decided to change lanes into the exact same spot, even though you were already partially in it. The following crash sent both you and your wife into your dashboard.
You manage to pick your head up to see what had happened, and noticed that both you and your wife were bleeding and she was rubbing her neck.
The driver of the other vehicle got out of his car and started screaming. Instead of attempting to get out of your car, you called 911 and decided to wait for help to arrive before trying to determine who was at fault.
Are you to blame, or is the other driver liable?
Determining Fault in Driveway Accidents
Liability and fault is the most important aspect of filing an injury claim. In order for your claim to be reviewed and taken seriously, you must be able to prove that your negligence or mistake didn’t cause the accident. Unfortunately, this can be hard to prove, especially in driveway accidents, as the other party involved will most likely try to further his claim by blaming you. However, liability is usually determined by three things: right of way, damage location, and witness statements.
- Right of way. In most cases, the driver on the roadway will have the right of way over the driver in the driveway; however, if the driveway driver is more than halfway out of the driveway, and the roadway and the driver had ample enough time to stop or maneuver around the driveway driver, he may be considered at fault.
- Damage locations. The secondary factor that helps determine fault is the location of the impact damage. If the driveway driver suffered most of the damage to his front or rear, while the roadway driver suffered damage to his side, most likely the driveway driver will be at fault. The same goes for the roadway driver—if his front suffered the most damage, he obviously hit the driveway driver—however, depending on who had the right of way, the damage location may not matter.
- Witness statements. Another determining factor is the witness statements. Many times, both drivers have different opinions or recollections of what truly happened. Witness statements can be extremely helpful in discovering the truth behind the collision and who is to blame.
The Other Driver Is at Fault. Now What?
Once you have determined who is at fault, you can then file an injury claim for compensation. This process can be extremely frustrating, confusing, and drawn out when pursuing it alone. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through it by yourself. If you’ve recently been injured in a driveway accident, contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case.
We know how ruthless insurance companies can be—especially to those who don’t know their full rights and responsibilities. We also know how to beat them at their own game. Let us fight for you, and we’ll show you how our experience, dedication, and know-how can help you and your family get the damages you need and the justice you deserve. Call now!
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