Who is at fault in a car accident?

Oct 10, 2014 Car Accidents    Uncategorized

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

After a car accident occurs, one of the biggest questions drivers will face is “who is at fault?” Determining who is at fault 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 Fault is Determined in a Car Accident

Ohio is a fault state. What this means is that 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 one of the big three listed below.

  • Drinking while driving
  • Performing an illegal turn or lane change
  • Speeding

Ohio is also a comparative negligence state. This means that a person’s ability to recover damages can be reduced by his or her own negligence. So if s/he’s 10 percent liable and suffered $10,000 in damages, s/he’d recover $9,000 in damages. If s/he is at least 51 percent responsible for the accident, then recovery is not allowed. Thus, establishing car accident fault is essential to ensure fair recovery of damages.

Determining Fault in a Right-of-Way or Rear End Collision

One of the most common types of accidents is the rear end collision, which accounted for 75,440 accidents in Ohio in 2013, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. 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.

Another common type of accident in Ohio is that caused by a motorist’s failure to properly yield 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 at the same time 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.

How an Attorney Helps

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, simply call1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free legal consultation, or complete our online contact form.