Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident? | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC Hurt in a Car? Call KNR.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
December 14, 2022

After a car accident occurs, one of the biggest questions drivers will face is sorting out who was at fault. Determining liability isn’t always a straightforward process and is dependent upon a variety of factors, such as:

  • Who had the right of way?
  • The type of accident (i.e., left turn or rear-end collision)
  • Driver negligence, recklessness, or carelessness (i.e., texting while driving, running a red light, or “blowing a stop”)
  • Causes of the accident (a tire blowout, rollover, or other vehicle malfunction, for example)

How Is Fault Determined in Ohio Car Accidents?

Ohio is a fault state. This means a driver at fault for an accident will be responsible for paying for repairs and damages through insurance liability coverage. Usually, the person at fault for the accident – and thereby responsible for paying damages – is determined by negligence.

Negligence describes a person who has failed to act responsibly or reasonably. When irresponsible or unreasonable actions lead to an accident that causes injuries or property damages, that person is said to have acted negligently.

When talking about auto accidents, negligence is usually assigned if a driver committed a traffic violation that caused the accident, such as driving under the influence, speeding, or illegally turning or changing lanes.

Comparative Negligence Rule Could Affect Your Recovery

Ohio is also a comparative negligence state. This means that a person’s ability to recover damages can be reduced by their own negligence. For example, if a victim is 10% liable and suffered $10,000 in damages, they would recover $9,000 in damages.

Recovery is not allowed if a victim is over 51% responsible for the accident; that’s why establishing car accident fault is essential to ensure fair recovery of damages.

How Can Evidence Help Determine Who Is at Fault?

Insurance companies and Ohio courts usually determine fault in car accidents. Determining fault shouldn’t come down to your word against the other driver’s — their insurance company might try to assert that you share more blame for the accident than you really do. Evidence from the scene of the accident can help support your case and establish fault, such as:

  • Police reports
  • Video from traffic cameras
  • Medical reports
  • Witness statements
  • Photos of damages

All of this evidence can help indicate who might be at fault for the accident. Your attorney will investigate the accident and use this evidence to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance and litigate your case in court, if necessary.

Liability in Common Types of Accidents

Car accidents can occur in many ways. Liability may seem obvious in some, but other types of accidents can complicate the question of who is liable for damages.

Liability in a Right-of-Way or Rear-End Collision

One of the most common types of accidents is the rear-end collision. Typically, the motorist who did the rear-ending is the one who’s liable for any damage and is at fault for the accident.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If the rear-end collision was a result of the other motorist’s negligent actions, such as performing an illegal lane change, for example, then the motorist who was rear-ended may be responsible.

Failure to Yield Liability

Another common type of accident in Ohio is that caused by a motorist’s failure to yield properly at a stop sign or stop light. According to Ohio Code 4511.41, “the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right” when two vehicles approach an intersection simultaneously from different directions. If a person fails to yield the right of way to another driver, and if the failure causes an accident, that driver will typically be liable for damages.

Right-of-way rules are also important for left turns – the driver planning to turn left must yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, according to Ohio Code 4511.42.

Your Car Accident Attorney Can Help Determine Fault

If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you may be concerned about recovering compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and expenses related to property damage. At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, our attorneys are experienced in investigating accident cases and negotiating the compensation clients are entitled to from the insurance company. Our team guides clients through the personal injury claim process and advocates for their best interests.

To speak with an attorney today, call 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free legal consultation or complete our online contact form.