According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over a third of all car accidents happen at intersections. These accidents account for half of all motor vehicle accidents and 25% of motor vehicle accident fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured in an intersection accident, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately so they can help you seek compensation. Determining who is at fault for motor vehicle intersection accidents can be challenging, and we explore the complexities of doing so below.
What Causes Intersection Accidents?
Negligent drivers cause an overwhelming majority of intersection accidents. These are drivers who do not pay attention to what is happening on the road, traffic lights, traffic rules, or other road users such as pedestrians, bikers, and cyclists.
Types of Intersection Accidents
One of the most common types of intersection accidents is a left turn accident. These are types of turns where a driver has to make a left turn against oncoming traffic. Some intersections where such accidents occur include uncontrolled intersections, stop sign intersections, uncontrolled t-intersections, and traffic light intersections.
Traffic Light Intersection Accidents
Drivers must come to a complete stop if they encounter a red traffic light. If they do not, they are likely to get into an intersection accident as other drivers who have a green light will be going through the intersection.
Complexity occurs when you have a driver who has a green light and is turning left and a driver is turning right into the same lane. In such a situation, the driver turning left should yield unless they also have a green arrow. In the latter case, the driver turning left has the right of way.
If the driver turning right does not yield in such a situation, they will be held liable for the intersection accident. However, if the driver turning right is already inside the intersection, the other driver has to yield as the driver turning right will likely not be able to stop in time.
In cases where there are flashing red or yellow, the driver has to yield and come to a complete stop. They will be held liable if they do not.
Stop Sign Intersection Accidents
At an intersection with a stop sign, drivers must consider who was at the intersection first, and should always come to a complete start if they were not there first.
Complexity occurs when two vehicles are at an intersection and a pedestrian crosses the road. Since both vehicles stopped, the drivers can have a hard time determining who has the right of way.
The driver turning left should yield to drivers turning right or those continuing straight on.
Uncontrolled Intersection Accidents
These are intersections that do not have traffic lights or stop signs. Here, drivers do not have to stop but should give the right of way to the driver who arrived first. While you might expect that the driver turning right has the right of way, it does not always work that way in uncontrolled intersection accidents. They would only have the right of way if they arrived at the intersection at the same time as a driver turning left.
Uncontrolled T-intersection Accidents
These are similar to uncontrolled intersections but occur where the road ends and a driver has to turn left or right into traffic. The driver on the road that has come to an end must yield to other drivers while also being mindful of other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. If they do not yield, they might be considered negligent drivers and be held liable for the accident that occurs.
Who’s At Fault in an Intersection Motor Vehicle Accident?
While drivers will encounter many intersections during their drives, laws governing the right of way determine who is at fault for these accidents, as discussed above. Because of these laws, drivers are the first party to be considered when determining who is at fault.
However, other parties could be at fault, including the mechanic, a local government that designed the intersection poorly, or even the driver’s employer who did not maintain the vehicle.
The key here is trying to prove negligence, and this is something that your lawyer will help with.
Proving Who Is at Fault
While a lawyer will help you determine who is at fault so you can get compensated, you can help by collecting evidence right after the accident after you get medical attention. The evidence should include video and photographs, witness testimony, and your own account of the situation.
If you have other electronic records such as dashcam footage, GPS data, security footage, or electronic logbooks, ensure you preserve them as they will be key in determining who is at fault.
Your lawyer will help with gathering available traffic camera footage and getting experts to reconstruct the accident. Reconstructions are very useful in cases where there is little evidence, with experts helping determine the speed of the other car, whether the driver used their turn signal, or even whether the driver was distracted.
You will also need to document your injuries to ensure you get compensated for all your intersection accident injuries, pain, suffering and damage caused by the accident.
You Will Always Be Blamed
Every driver should know that the other driver, their insurance company, and their lawyers will try to blame them for an intersection accident to avoid compensating them or to reduce the amount of compensation they offer.
The best thing you can do apart from getting medical attention and documenting the scene is to keep quiet. Do not talk to them or their insurance provider. Even something as small as “I am sorry” could be taken as admitting liability for the accident.
The only people you should talk to are the police, the doctors, your lawyer, and your insurance company to let them know what has happened. If you have to talk to the other party, only do this to exchange the details you need, such as their name and the name of their insurance provider.
Evidence will help you and your lawyer determine who is at fault for an intersection accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in such an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can start looking into the accident and its circumstances. You can also visit our offices for a consultation.
We have four main offices:
- Tupelo office: 2005 West Main St. Tupelo, MS 38801
- Oxford office: 406 Galleria Drive, Suite 7, Oxford, MS 38655
- Jackson office: 5548 I-55 Suite A, Jackson, MS 39211
- Memphis office: 5100 Poplar Ave, Suite 2700, Memphis, TN 38137
You can also contact us for a free consultation on (883) 626-2587.