Car Accident Scenarios: Who Is Liable | The Levin Firm (2023)

Car Accident Scenarios: Who is Liable?

Car Accident Scenarios: Who Is Liable | The Levin Firm (1) Consider a recent six-vehicle crash that required police officials in Philadelphia to shut down the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. While the accident did not cause severe injuries to any vehicle drivers or passengers, it resulted in serious damage. This crash is just one of many common car accident scenarios in which a vehicle collides and incurs damages, requiring that the investigators determine fault.

Determining liability in a car accident is essential to filing a claim for damages. Those damages—pursued through the insurance company's claim process or a personal injury lawsuit—will only get paid out if the injured plaintiff can prove negligence. There are times when the blame is clear, such as in most rear-end accidents. However, there are other times when more than one individual is at fault. Scheduling a consultation with a car accident lawyer can help you determine the liability in your accident.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Common Car Accident Scenarios

If another driver hurt you in an accident, a car accident lawyer can help. Your car accident lawyer can identify who is at fault and all the insurance resources available for paying your claim. Here is a look at some common car accident scenarios and the process of evaluation that goes into determining fault.

(Video) CAM Legal Services Ltd (defendant/appellant) v Belsner (claimant/respondent)

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions are the most common type of traffic accident, accounting for 1.7 million crashes, around 1,700 deaths, and 500,000 injuries each year, according to a report from the Washington Post. This auto accident happens when one car collides with the back of another vehicle. Most of these collisions occur due to the rear car driver following too closely or ignoring the roadway ahead.

Conventional wisdom says that the rear driver is always responsible for the rear-end collision. Traffic laws state that drivers must leave enough space between their car and the vehicles ahead to come to a safe stop. While this is generally true, there are circumstances where both drivers may share liability or even a third party. Consider the following scenarios:

  • You're driving down the road, and another driver rear-ends your car. The driver of the trailing vehicle states that she had no idea you were turning, as you had not used your turn signal. During the investigation, it is revealed that your turn signal malfunctioned. While you may have some liability for operating your vehicle without a working turn signal, if it is discovered that the turn signal was defective, the manufacturer of it will likely share the liability.
  • While driving through traffic, you become distracted by a text. At the same time, a vehicle pulls out in front of you. You fail to react in time to avoid rear-ending that vehicle. You and the front driver may share liability in this car accident scenario. While you were negligent in driving while distracted, the other driver was also negligent in failing to yield the right-of-way.

Left-Turn Accident

Left-turn car accidents occur when one vehicle goes straight through the intersection while one car makes a left turn and collides with the side of the straight-moving vehicle. Like rear-end accidents, it is generally easy to determine fault in this car accident.

Left-turning vehicles have a lower priority in this scenario, meaning that—unless there is a green arrow—they must yield to those moving straight through the intersection. A study from the federal government discovered that the left-turning driver most often committed a critical error, such as "turning with an obstructed view," "misjudgment of gap or speed," "inadequate surveillance," or "false assumption of the other driver's intentions." These errors place liability for an accident at the hands of the left-turning driver. Are there ever cases where the other driver is at fault, though?

Yes. While rare, the driver of the straight-moving car may incur some liability for an accident. One such circumstance is when the driver of a straight-moving vehicle is speeding. Speeding makes it impossible for the turning driver to see them in time or calculate how much time they have to complete the turn. Here is another example:

  • You're turning on a green arrow when a vehicle goes straight through the intersection, and an accident occurs. The accident is the fault of the straight-traveling driver, as your green arrow gave you the right-of-way.

Head-On Collision

A head-on collision is one of the most deadly types of motor vehicle accidents. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, head-on collisions accounted for 56 percent of passenger vehicle deaths from traffic accidents in 2017.

These accidents, often known as frontal-impact collisions, occur when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide.

(Video) Profit, Pollution and Deception: USA's Largest Oil Spill | Deepwater Horizon | ENDEVR Documentary

Causes of head-on accidents include a driver who enters a wrong-way road, a driver who leaves their lane of traffic, or crashes that cause a car to roll or get pushed into an oncoming traffic lane. Fault for a head-on collision generally resides with the individual whose vehicle has departed the lane or has entered wrong-way traffic. However, there may be an additional liability in situations where the car left the lane due to another accident.

Some scenarios involving head-on collisions include:

  • A distracted driver rear-ends your vehicle, and the collision's force causes your vehicle to cross the median into oncoming traffic, where it hits another car head-on. In this scenario, the liability falls with the driver who caused the initial accident.
  • You become confused when exiting off the freeway and accidentally wind up going the wrong way in the lane for those merging onto the highway. In this case, the accident would be your fault, as you were driving in the wrong direction.

Side-Impact Collisions

Also known as T-bone accidents, a side-impact collision occurs when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of the other at a roughly 90-degree angle. Injuries to occupants on the side of the car that got hit are often quite severe, as there are no structural barriers, such as the steel frame, to protect the individual from the brunt of the crash.

This type of motor vehicle accident almost always occurs in an intersection. It is generally caused by one driver's negligence, including failure to yield the right-of-way, running a red light, drunk driving, or distracted driving.

Some examples of liability in a side-impact collision include:

  • A drunk driver runs a red light and T-bones your vehicle in the intersection. The liability will fall on the other driver, whose drunk driving and red light running caused the accident. If the drunk driver drank at a business establishment, such as a bar, the establishment might face additional liability. Dram shop liability occurs if a bar's employees continue to serve alcohol to a visibly drunk person. In circumstances where someone injured another due to drunk driving, the victims should discuss the situation with an attorney specializing in drunk driving.
  • You are waiting for an important call that arrives just as you're approaching an intersection that is marked as a 4-way stop. While distracted by answering your phone, you fail to stop at the stop sign and strike the side of a vehicle in the intersection that had the right-of-way.

Sideswipe Accident

A sideswipe accident is one where two vehicles traveling in the same direction make contact with one another while moving. This type of accident is hazardous on the freeway, where speeds are faster, and there is a chance that neither driver anticipated the collision. Liability for damages caused in a sideswipe collision depends on who had the right-of-way in the travel lane and what each driver's behavior was leading up to the crash.

Some scenarios involving sideswipe accidents and liability include:

(Video) Credit Rating Agencies and the Next Financial Crisis Part 1

  • While traveling on the freeway, you realize your exit is fast approaching, and you must change lanes quickly to make it over in time. You fail to check your blind spot when changing lanes and are involved in an accident with the vehicle already traveling in the lane you were attempting to enter. In this case, you are liable, as you failed to check your blind spot before changing lanes.
  • You're driving in a rainstorm and notice in your mirror that a vehicle is approaching in the lane next to yours at a high rate of speed. Just as the vehicle pulls up alongside you, it hydroplanes on a puddle, causing the driver to lose control and his vehicle to sideswipe yours. In this situation, the other driver is liable for the accident, as he was driving too fast for the conditions.
  • While driving on the freeway, you signal to change lanes from the right-hand lane to the center and wait for a car in the center lane to pass. As soon as it passes, you begin changing lanes, only to collide with a vehicle that was in the left-hand lane and changing to the center lane at the same time. In this scenario, liability is unclear, as neither driver anticipated that the other driver would be changing lanes simultaneously. Technically, both drivers would be at fault, as basic traffic rules dictate that you can only change lanes when you are sure it is safe to do so.

Single-Vehicle Accident

Single-vehicle accidents are those in which only one vehicle sustains damage, even if other vehicles are involved. In 2017, 40 percent of passenger vehicle deaths in traffic accidents occurred in single-vehicle crashes, as did 53 percent of occupant deaths in SUVs and 58 percent of occupant deaths in pickup trucks.

While it is often assumed that the driver of the single vehicle involved in the crash is de facto at fault, this isn't always the case. There are many ways in which a single vehicle accident can be caused by the actions or negligence of others.

Here are some single vehicle accident cases along with potential sources of liability:

  • You're driving down the road when someone suddenly pulls out in front of you. To avoid a collision, you veer to the side and crash into a utility pole instead. The other driver is liable for your accident, as he or she pulled out in front of you.
  • While driving on the freeway, the brakes suddenly go out in your car. To avoid having an accident with someone else, you swerve off the road and go into a ravine. If your brakes were defective, liability for your accident may rest with the vehicle manufacturer of the brakes. If you recently had work done on your vehicle, the liability could fall on the shop where you had the work done.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Car Accident Scenarios: Who Is Liable | The Levin Firm (2)

As you can see, there are many ways that an individual or entity can be held liable during an accident. An experienced car accident attorney will help you to identify all potentially liable parties, which will provide you with the best chance to recover damages in accidents caused by the negligence of others. Proving negligence is key to a successful outcome to your personal injury claim.

To establish negligence, you must prove the following:

  • The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. This duty is often as simple as operating his or her motor vehicle in a safe and lawful manner.
  • The at-fault party breached this duty, and the breach resulted in an accident.
  • The accident caused damages to you, including medical expenses and damage to your car.

By contacting an experienced car accident lawyer, they can help you understand your legal options, including whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit. Call the Levin Firm today for a free consultation.

(Video) Duty To Defend And a Liability Policy

Schedule a Free Consultation


Learn More

(Video) Chicagolawyerjulystudio


Who is responsible for most car accidents? ›

Men cause about 6.1 million accidents per year and women cause 4.4 million accidents per year, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.

Who is liable in a crash? ›

Generally, any vehicle that hits a car ahead of it is liable for that specific collision. So, in the case of multi-car accidents, there can be several cars held accountable.

Who is liable in a car accident owner or driver Philippines? ›

Generally there is only one liable party: the driver who caused the accident. However, liability for the accident may extend to one or more additional parties in certain circumstances. For this reason, it is crucial to find out not only who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident but also who owns the car.

Who is responsible if you hit an illegally parked car Philippines? ›

The general rule is that the driver that hits the parked car is at fault for hitting a parked car. The reason the driver is usually at fault is because the car was parked and not moving, so the parked car could move out of the way to avoid the accident.

What happens if someone jumps in front of your car and dies? ›

If a pedestrian runs out in front of the driver from behind a parked car, for example, they could be held liable. Even if the driver is going over the speed limit, they might not be held fully responsible. If the pedestrian jumps out so close to the car that the driver has no time to react, they might be at fault.

Do slow drivers cause more accidents? ›

Driving slower than the surrounding traffic is more likely to cause an accident than speeding, according to research. Driving too slowly can make other drivers around you constantly brake and speed up. It can be frustrating for other drivers, cause confusion and could lead to an accident.

Is a company liable for a drivers negligence? ›

In addition to distractions, employers may be liable for faulty brakes, worn tyres or other vehicle failings. The best advice for employers is to be able to show that you have taken steps before the event to try to avoid an accident occurring in the first place.

Who is responsible for a company vehicle? ›

Duty of care regulations dictate vehicle is place of work

And companies have a duty of care responsibility to their drivers to make sure that vehicles are fit for purpose and that they are as safe as possible while out on the road, with adequate and appropriate insurance.

What happens if you crash into a company car? ›

When your employer owns the car you're driving, the company carries the insurance on it, so that insurance company will pay for it if you are at fault. But keep in mind that there are limits to your employer's liability.

What happens if someone else crashes your car? ›

Most state laws require drivers to have their own insurance. Further, if someone causes an accident in your car, the borrower's own insurance and your insurance will be available to pay for covered losses. If the borrower does not have insurance, your policy limits could be exhausted in the event of a serious accident.

Is an employer liable for an employee's car accident Philippines? ›

Employer: The employer will have to pay for the damages if the actions of the employee fall under the doctrine of vicarious liability which states: The employee's actions fell under the scope of employment. The accident occurred while the employee was on job.

What happens if someone else is driving my car and gets in an accident Philippines? ›

If the driver is not at fault, then the other car or driver will be the one liable for the damages. His/her insurance will be the one to cover the repairs and even the injuries of the other party. Now, if the driver of your car is the one at fault then the conditions will be the other way around.

Who crashes more females or males? ›

Many more men than women die each year in motor vehicle crashes. Men typically drive more miles than women and are more likely to engage in risky driving practices, including not using seat belts, driving while impaired by alcohol, and speeding.

Which gender causes more car accidents? ›

Men caused 264,078 accidents during the 10 years, and women caused 171,343 accidents. Out of the drivers who are registered in California, 51% are men, and 49% are women.

Who has the most car accidents in the US? ›

California had the most fatal crashes in the country, 3,558, and Washington D.C. had the least, 34. The five states with the most fatal crashes in 2020 were California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.
List of car accidents by state.
Fatal crashes3,558
51 more columns
20 Sept 2022


1. Tales of a Body Man: What It’s Like to Staff the President
(Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School)
2. Peter Lynch: How to Invest During High Inflation
(New Money)
3. LIVE w/ LEAH REMINI - for Aaron Smith-Levin's Clearwater City Council Campaign
(Growing Up In Scientology)
4. 2019 12 18 11 56 Negotiate Like a Pro – Professionalism Matters
(Upchurch Watson White & Max Mediation Group)
5. Lenore Skenazy | Helicopter Culture
(Exploring Minds with Michele Carroll)
6. Using Events to Turn Consumers Into Superfans (Episode 188)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Margart Wisoky

Last Updated: 03/10/2023

Views: 6176

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Margart Wisoky

Birthday: 1993-05-13

Address: 2113 Abernathy Knoll, New Tamerafurt, CT 66893-2169

Phone: +25815234346805

Job: Central Developer

Hobby: Machining, Pottery, Rafting, Cosplaying, Jogging, Taekwondo, Scouting

Introduction: My name is Margart Wisoky, I am a gorgeous, shiny, successful, beautiful, adventurous, excited, pleasant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.