PDA

View Full Version : Accident fault question


bigmike82
07-10-2009, 5:28 PM
I was wondering if someone of you guys wouldn't mind weighing in on who is at fault in the following scenario. I understand none of this is given in official capacity, and I'm simply seeking opinions. :)

Vehicle 1 is driving down a street. At the end, said street splits into a right turn lane, and into a left turn or go straight lane.

Vehicle 2 is following vehicle 1. Neither vehicle is speeding, and vehicle 2 is not tailgating vehicle 1.

After proceeding down the street, and after getting close to the end, Vehicle 1 veers right. Vehicle 2 remains in the lane to go straight.

Vehicle 1 suddenly and without signaling veers left directly into vehicle 2's path. Vehicle 2 slams on the brakes, honks and veers left to attempt to avoid impact, but fails.

Vehicle 1's turn brings it into contact with vehicle 2.

The damage on vehicle 1 is on the rear lower left body panel, aft of the wheel well. The damage on vehicle 2 is predominately on the front right side; the damage broke the turn signal, but not the bulb, nor the headlight. Most of the damage is limited to the side of the body, rather than the front.

Who is at fault? Or, what percentage of fault would you assign, and why?

Thank you!

97F1504RAD
07-10-2009, 5:38 PM
Vehicle 1 is 100% at fault for making a unsafe lane change

Fjold
07-10-2009, 5:47 PM
It depends on if when vehicle 1 moved to the right whether it actually left the straight through lane and crossed into the right turn only lane and then came back into the straight through lane. If vehicle 1 never left the original lane, then vehicle 2 might be at fault.

If the accident occurred before the lanes were actually marked with lane lines and vehicle 1 did all this in its own lane, then vehicle 2 could be at fault as vehicle 1 was merely changing its position in its own lane.

peekay331
07-10-2009, 5:48 PM
when vehicle 1 veered back onto the the go-straight lane, were the lanes divided by a line?

If so, I think vehicle 1 is 100% at fault, especially if the line was solid.

bigmike82
07-10-2009, 5:51 PM
The accident occurred before the lanes were fully marked; however, the entire lane had expanded to accommodate two vehicles side by side.

Thanks again for the responses. :)

tyrist
07-10-2009, 5:54 PM
The accident occurred before the lanes were fully marked; however, the entire lane had expanded to accommodate two vehicles side by side.

Thanks again for the responses. :)

If it's only one lane vehicle two in that case would be at fault.

peekay331
07-10-2009, 5:56 PM
The accident occurred before the lanes were fully marked; however, the entire lane had expanded to accommodate two vehicles side by side.

Thanks again for the responses. :)
in light of that information, I think vehicle 2 could be partially or even entirely at fault. If I was vehicle 1, I would argue that even though it was physically two lanes wide, it was legally one lane. As such, vehicle 1 has the right to that entire lane.

FLIGHT762
07-10-2009, 6:00 PM
If the front car got into the rt. turn lane AND there is markings on the pavement and or signage indicating the lane is a right turn only lane, the driver is required to turn, not turning and veering back straight would be a violation of 22101(D),required or prohibited turn, failing to obey the signs. Another catchall is 21461(A), failing to obey a sign. If there are no markings and if the car put their rt. signal on, veered to the right, then veered back left to go straight and struck the second car(going straight), The first car would be making an unsafe turning movement(turning back left into the second car), a violation of 22107.

It's hard to say who is 100%at fault without seeing the scene and questioning the first driver if they saw the second car before they veered back to the left and if they were intending to turn right , but changed their mind at the last second. It also depends on the speed limit and determining that the second car was not following too close.

With the limited amount of information, I would go with the first driver being at fault. There is always two sides to a story and uninvolved witnesses are important. I've found at accident scenes, it important to speak to both drivers immediately to get their statements and uninvolved witness statements. Many times after taking statements and writing my report based on the statements and evidence, the driver at fault later tries to rebut what I wrote after speaking to them. No one wants to be at fault. The longer one waits to speak to the drivers, the story changes.

Good luck.

peekay331
07-10-2009, 6:09 PM
If the front car got into the rt. turn lane AND there is markings on the pavement and or signage indicating the lane is a right turn only lane, the driver is required to turn, not turning and veering back straight would be a violation of 22101(D),required or prohibited turn, failing to obey the signs. Another catchall is 21461(A), failing to obey a sign. If there are no markings and if the car put their rt. signal on, veered to the right, then veered back left to go straight and struck the second car(going straight), The first car would be making an unsafe turning movement(turning back left into the second car), a violation of 22107.

It's hard to say who is 100%at fault without seeing the scene and questioning the first driver if they saw the second car before they veered back to the left and if they were intending to turn right , but changed their mind at the last second. It also depends on the speed limit and determining that the second car was not following too close.

With the limited amount of information, I would go with the first driver being at fault. There is always two sides to a story and uninvolved witnesses are important. I've found at accident scenes, it important to speak to both drivers immediately to get their statements and uninvolved witness statements. Many times after taking statements and writing my report based on the statements and evidence, the driver at fault later tries to rebut what I wrote after speaking to them. No one wants to be at fault. The longer one waits to speak to the drivers, the story changes.

Good luck.
I think the threshold question is whether there legally is even two lanes at the point where vehicle 1 veered back. If there is, then vehicle 1 is at fault. If not, vehicle 1 has the right to be anywhere in that lane, even if it is wider than normal.

bigmike82
07-10-2009, 6:14 PM
What impact does vehicle 1's illegal u-turn (well...attempted illegal u-turn) have on vehicle 2's fault (assuming, for the sake of argument, that vehicle 2 is at fault as the lanes had not been marked)?

Fire in the Hole
07-10-2009, 6:34 PM
Here's the answer: FLIGHT762 and peekay331 are correct, with the limitetd information available.

Added information. If the lanes at this point are divided by hyphenated white lines without signage or painted pavement arrows; Veh. #1 is at fault for a primary collision factor of 21658(a) V.C. (Unsafe lane change).

If there the lanes are divided by hyhphenated white lines with signage mandatating a right turn; then Veh. #1 is at fault for a primary collision factor of 22101(d) V.C.

If the lane are still extremely wide, and undelineated, but wide enough for two vehicles to drive adjacent to eachother; the lead vehicle (Veh. #1) still has the right-of-way, and Veh. #2 must stay back and not second guess Veh. #1's intententions.

LE never ascribes a percentage number to a collision. This is the job af an actuary employed by the insurance companies. In many cases a secondary V.C. violation is assigned by the LEO as a contributinf factor. Again, without a specific percentage number assigned to it.

Fire in the Hole
07-10-2009, 6:36 PM
What impact does vehicle 1's illegal u-turn (well...attempted illegal u-turn) have on vehicle 2's fault (assuming, for the sake of argument, that vehicle 2 is at fault as the lanes had not been marked)?

Now you have changed the scenario from a unsafe lane change to a U-turn. This changes things completely. So which scenario are we going to go with?

bigmike82
07-10-2009, 6:43 PM
"This changes things completely. So which scenario are we going to go with? "
The way vehicle 1 ended up, it was an attempted u-turn.

GuyW
07-10-2009, 6:51 PM
Without an adequate scene diagram (including marks/gouges/debris) and testimony to examine (or adequate responder investigation), these sort of "hypotheticals" can go either way. Attorneys are usually trying to establish the % fault, but experts don't often IMHO try to establish that (purview of the jury or fact-finder).

((ACTAR))
.

Fire in the Hole
07-10-2009, 6:52 PM
"This changes things completely. So which scenario are we going to go with? "
The way vehicle 1 ended up, it was an attempted u-turn.

The allegation of an attempted U-turn would be nearly impossible to prove strictly by an examination of the vehicular crush damage, and highway design. Driver #1's statement here will be the key, as to whether he/she actually intended and was attempting to turn 180 degrees, and proceed in the opposite direction. A whole different set of laws come into play regarding U-turns. Specifically as to when a driver can make one. ie. mid-block, vs at an intersection, prohibitave signage, median dividers, in a residential district, in a business district, in front of a fire station etc.

tyrist
07-10-2009, 7:28 PM
The allegation of an attempted U-turn would be nearly impossible to prove strictly by an examination of the vehicular crush damage, and highway design. Driver #1's statement here will be the key, as to whether he/she actually intended and was attempting to turn 180 degrees, and proceed in the opposite direction. A whole different set of laws come into play regarding U-turns. Specifically as to when a driver can make one. ie. mid-block, vs at an intersection, prohibitave signage, median dividers, in a residential district, in a business district, in front of a fire station etc.

He needs to do a scale diagram with all sign locations and exact position of the vehicles. We also need exact statement from party 1 and party 2.

Fire in the Hole
07-10-2009, 7:35 PM
He needs to do a scale diagram with all sign locations and exact position of the vehicles. We also need exact statement from party 1 and party 2.


Yeah i agree. That would have been my next post. The question has been answered fairly consistently by the forum members via the English language. I pre-impact sketch showing the highway design, signage, lane dividers, and vehicle position proir to any turning movement, and if possible a similiar diagram at post-impact will be necessary to go any further with this thread.

Then driver, passenger, and witness statements would be a bonus.

But I can tell you what happened by way of the diagrams, and who is principally at fault.

Redchevyman
07-10-2009, 7:44 PM
vehicle 1 passed into the path of vehicle 2 and caused the accident regardless of where the lanes are marked at.

yzernie
07-10-2009, 7:54 PM
What were the driver statements?

Jonathan Doe
07-10-2009, 9:11 PM
Maybe the vehicle 1 should get a ticket for unsafe lane change.

peekay331
07-10-2009, 9:21 PM
Maybe the vehicle 1 should get a ticket for unsafe lane change.
that would be true, except based on OP's info, legally, there was only one lane. Thus, no lane change.

However, to a certain extent, I do emphathize with vehicle 2 since there are many situations where the lane widens to almost two vehicles wide and it's common for the vehicle in the back to pass the vehicle in the front, e.g. where vehicle 2 goes towards the right of the lane, slows down, and is about to turn right. In that instance, it is common for the rear vehicle to pass vehicle 2 without waiting for vehicle 2 to actually turn.

taloft
07-10-2009, 9:31 PM
The initial premise is flawed.

Neither vehicle is speeding, and vehicle 2 is not tailgating vehicle 1. If this were true, vehicle 2 wouldn't be in a position to hit vehicle 1 simply because he wouldn't be there when vehicle 1 veered back.

Given the information, it sounds as if vehicle 1 veered and vehicle 2 took that as an indication of an intent to turn right and started to accelerate. Could be that vehicle 1 began applying brakes before veering back to the left.

Question, was there a turn signal that indicated vehicle 1's intention to turn right or was it just assumed? Maybe vehicle 1 dropped his pop tart and veered right while recovering said treat. After retrieving his treat he discovers that he is headed into a dedicated right and veers to the left to correct his deviation from the intended path. Whatever the reason, vehicle 1 is entitled to use all of the available lane space. Had there been a line of any type dividing the lane, then it would only matter if vehicle 1 had crossed all four wheels into the right lane prior to veering back to the left.

As it stands, sounds like it could go either way. I agree with the other posters, we need more information.

1911su16b870
07-11-2009, 3:06 PM
IMO call your insurance company with the story and see what they say. I am guessing it will be either a 50-50 or all vehicle 2 (failure to yield, driving to fast or close for current conditions).

bigmike82
07-12-2009, 1:21 AM
Driver in vehicle 1 told her insurance company vehicle 2 rear-ended her. I don't have diagrams, but when the impact occured, vehicle one was more than 45 degrees to the left relative to the direction of traffic.

Everyone, thanks for your perspective. We shall see what the insurance companies hash out.

FLIGHT762
07-12-2009, 7:36 AM
Driver in vehicle 1 told her insurance company vehicle 2 rear-ended her. I don't have diagrams, but when the impact occurred, vehicle one was more than 45 degrees to the left relative to the direction of traffic.

Everyone, thanks for your perspective. We shall see what the insurance companies hash out.
That is one of the points I made in my earlier post. After people get home and have time to think, they come up with a different view as to how the collision occurred. Driver 1 tells her insurance she was rear ended, pretty simple.

A friend of mine was stopped at a red light when she was rear ended. The driver apologized at the scene, said she would pay for the damages etc. When my friend contacted driver 1's insurance company, driver 1 changed her story and said my friend backed up into #1's car!

It's always a good to have a witness(another driver or pedestrian that doesn't know either party)or have the Police come by. Unfortunately, many Departments no longer will respond to property damage only collisions. Where I worked, we went to them. Even if there was not an official report taken(CHP 555) I would attach notes to the call in CAD as to what happened. I would occasionally get a call from an insurance company asking me a question about what I saw/heard. The drivers would change their story.

Good luck with your accident.

tyrist
07-12-2009, 12:52 PM
That is one of the points I made in my earlier post. After people get home and have time to think, they come up with a different view as to how the collision occurred. Driver 1 tells her insurance she was rear ended, pretty simple.

A friend of mine was stopped at a red light when she was rear ended. The driver apologized at the scene, said she would pay for the damages etc. When my friend contacted driver 1's insurance company, driver 1 changed her story and said my friend backed up into #1's car!

It's always a good to have a witness(another driver or pedestrian that doesn't know either party)or have the Police come by. Unfortunately, many Departments no longer will respond to property damage only collisions. Where I worked, we went to them. Even if there was not an official report taken(CHP 555) I would attach notes to the call in CAD as to what happened. I would occasionally get a call from an insurance company asking me a question about what I saw/heard. The drivers would change their story.

Good luck with your accident.

Myself and many of my coworkers don't believe we should take any reports for traffic collisions unless it involves some type of crime. No crime no report..if the insurance companies want to know what happened they can send out an investigator instead of costing the tax payers money. It's all civil law and we shouldn't be involved.

FLIGHT762
07-12-2009, 1:10 PM
Myself and many of my coworkers don't believe we should take any reports for traffic collisions unless it involves some type of crime. No crime no report..if the insurance companies want to know what happened they can send out an investigator instead of costing the tax payers money. It's all civil law and we shouldn't be involved.

I agree with you. I've said that many times to my co-workers, but it is not Department policy. We still had to take 11-82's.

GuyW
07-13-2009, 12:04 PM
Myself and many of my coworkers don't believe we should take any reports for traffic collisions unless it involves some type of crime. No crime no report..if the insurance companies want to know what happened they can send out an investigator instead of costing the tax payers money. It's all civil law and we shouldn't be involved.

Except that collisions can be due to, or substantially contributed to, by defective roads, signage, signals, etc. Recording collisions gives a database to work from to incrementally make the road system better. Don't you want the public (aka your wives and kids) using the safest roads "possible"?

.

Lancear15
07-13-2009, 12:07 PM
It depends on if when vehicle 1 moved to the right whether it actually left the straight through lane and crossed into the right turn only lane and then came back into the straight through lane. If vehicle 1 never left the original lane, then vehicle 2 might be at fault.

If the accident occurred before the lanes were actually marked with lane lines and vehicle 1 did all this in its own lane, then vehicle 2 could be at fault as vehicle 1 was merely changing its position in its own lane.

Agree:thumbsup:

tyrist
07-13-2009, 10:14 PM
Except that collisions can be due to, or substantially contributed to, by defective roads, signage, signals, etc. Recording collisions gives a database to work from to incrementally make the road system better. Don't you want the public (aka your wives and kids) using the safest roads "possible"?

.

You are right about that...a quick survey should be done by the transportation department or street maintence. Still not a law enfrocement function.