You are driving carefully, planning on getting to your destination without incident when suddenly, out of nowhere, you are hit by another car at an intersection. Perhaps the other driver didn’t see that you were at a four-way stop and ignored the stop sign.
Maybe someone missed the red light. Maybe you didn’t see the stop sign in the road. Whatever caused the accident, the results are almost always the same.
You are not only faced with a damaged car, but are faced with severe pain and suffering, time missed from work, and medical treatments that cause your bills and expenses to quickly spiral out of control.
Fortunately, when such a disaster occurs, there may be legal options to help you deal with the fallout after such an incident occurs.
Injuries Common to Drivers and Passengers When Hit in a Car at an Intersection
When someone is in a car at an intersection and is hit by another vehicle, there are injuries that are commonly associated with such an accident. The most common injuries include whiplash, bruising, and soft tissue damage.
More severe injuries can include fractures and broken bones, head injuries, back injuries, and even spinal cord injuries. The more serious the injury, the more medical treatment will be necessary to treat the injuries and more time will be lost from work due to the accident.
Accidents That Can Happen At an Intersection
Intersections are a common location for car crashes. There are many ways that an accident could happen at an intersection. For example, a car may not yield right-of-way and run a stoplight or a stop sign.
It could be a three-way stop or even a four-way stop, and two or more cars may go at the same time causing a collision. Speeding is also a contributing cause to collisions at intersections. Also, distracted driving can cause accidents at intersections.
As an example, a driver may be texting or could be messing with his or her stereo when they end up quickly approaching a vehicle stopped at the intersection. It could lead to a rear-end collision that causes serious damages and injuries.
Sometimes a vehicle may try to merge or change lanes when going through an intersection, and if that is the case, a merging accident or a side-swipe crash may occur. These accidents may cause a driver to lose control and hit another vehicle or crash into inanimate objects.
Anytime you are in an accident at an intersection, be sure to call the police. If you are physically able to do so, get photos of the scene of the accident and of the damages and/or injuries. Ask witnesses to provide written statements as well as provide and photos or videos they may have taken.
Remember, evidence and documentation are essential to the success of your personal injury claim. Be sure to check to see if a nearby traffic camera or a surveillance camera may have caught the crash on video as well.
Who’s At Fault When You’re Hit at an Intersection
Getting hit at an intersection is one of the scariest moments of your life. You may be wondering who’s at fault after you’re involved in an auto accident in an intersection. When you’re hit at an intersection, the driver who’s at fault for the crash will be the one who drove negligently. For example, if another driver failed to yield to oncoming traffic while turning left and t-boned your vehicle, that driver would be at fault for the crash at the intersection.
Many intersections have cameras recording 24-7, so you may have video evidence proving you’re not at fault when you’re hit at an intersection. You can also speak with a personal injury lawyer to help determine if you’re eligible for a claim against the other driver’s insurance.
Stop signs are established not only to help regulate the traffic at an intersection but they occasionally help keep the speed of moving vehicles down in areas that have a high pedestrian population, such as inside of a neighborhood or subdivision.
If you drove through a stop sign, you are going to be responsible to some degree, even if it was an accident. If the other driver had the right of way it would make you fully liable. However, there may be a scenario in which you and the other driver share the fault. In this case, it may take some time to determine liability and compensation.
When you are hit in a car at an intersection it is crucial that fault is determined at the time of the accident. There are a number of ways one can be hit in a car at an intersection. Someone coming from the oncoming left or right lane may miss a red light or a stop sign.
Someone driving behind you may fail to stop at the turn and rear end you. You may turn without the right of way and get hit by a car in the process. Who is at fault will determine the outcome of what happens after the accident.
It is crucial that you determine who is at fault as soon as possible and get proof of such fault, such as police reports and witness statements.
Different Types of Fault
There are different types of fault when being hit in a car at an intersection. For example, if someone’s brakes fail they may be at fault, but it does not mean they were careless in driving.
On the other hand, someone who was reading a text and rear ended you at the intersection or someone who wasn’t paying attention to the light and hit you while making a turn is at fault for an entirely different reason and negligence comes into play.
State laws indicate the kind of fault that is pursued and how liability is affected. There are different kinds of fault, and most states have laws enacted regarding which kind of fault they use when personal injury claims come into play.
- Comparative negligence – This kind of fault is where the plaintiff – the person filing the claim – is partially to blame for the accident themselves. Depending on the plaintiff’s involvement, they may be held responsible for part of the damages. As an example, in California, a plaintiff could be as much as 95 percent to blame for a crash but still ask for the other 5 percent of damages from the other driver.
- Contributory negligence – Very different from comparative negligence, contributory negligence is where if the plaintiff has any fault or responsibility for the accident, it will bar him or her from receiving compensation for their damages. In this case, the plaintiff wouldn’t be owed anything by the defendant for any damages received if the defendant can show that the plaintiff contributed to the crash.
- Gross negligence – This kind of negligence comes into play when a person has no concern for anyone else’s safety. They would be held 100 percent responsible for any losses and damages that occurred. This kind of negligence is usually only applicable to acts of violence or medical malpractice.
- Contributory and comparative negligence – This kind of negligence is for cases in which the injured party is responsible to a specific extent and would have the compensation they recover reduced or completely eliminated depending on the situation.
- Vicarious liability – Vicarious liability is used when the defendant is held accountable for the actions of another person that they are considered to have a responsibility for, such as a minor. As an example, the parents could be held responsible when a minor has violated laws and caused serious injuries. It can also be when an employer is held responsible for the actions of their employees. A trucking company may be held liable for the actions of their commercial drivers.
What To Do If You’ve Been Hit at an Intersection
If you have been hit at an intersection, as mentioned above, one of the first things you need to do is determine fault. If the other driver was at fault, you will want his or her contact information and insurance information. You will need to call his or her insurance company to report the accident and file a claim.
It is very important that you have proof the other driver was at fault when you do this. You may want to consider retaining a personal injury attorney to represent you.
He or she will ensure the claim is filed properly with the insurance agency and will ensure that proof of fault is provided and that you receive all of the compensation you may be entitled to, including:
- Damages for damage to your vehicle
- Medical bills
- Damages for lost wages due to time missed from work
- Damages for pain and suffering
If you deal with the insurance company directly, you may not get all of the damages you are entitled to as it is in their best interests to pay you as little as possible.
If you were the driver at fault, you may want to consider a defense attorney, as you may be liable for damages that your insurance provider does not cover.
As such, you will want an attorney to represent you in court to help prove that you were not at fault due to negligence, which could result in higher damages than if you were at fault due to reasons beyond your control.
Evidence For a Personal Injury Claim After an Accident At an Intersection
When you have been involved in a crash at intersection, it is important to maintain evidence and documentation to support your claim and to prove what damages you suffered because of the crash. Always call the police so an accident report can be completed an officer will come out to the scene and investigate the accident.
If you are physically able to do so, get photos of the accident scene from all angles. Also, be sure to get photos of the damages and of any visible injuries. You will want to ask any witnesses to provide you with written statements. Be sure to get the names of any witnesses along with their contact details because your personal injury attorney will want to talk with them later.
Establish medical care right away. Be sure to do this so you can show that your injuries were directly related to the car crash. Keep copies of medical bills, medical records, and medical excuses. You will want to maintain documentation to show missed work and lost wages. Also, be sure to take your vehicle to a qualified automotive repair facility so you can get a written estimate for fixing the damages.
You will also need to keep any tow bills and any receipts for a rental vehicle that is used while your vehicle is in the shop and/or inoperable. You will want to add up all your costs, so you can ask for fair compensation to cover the damages. You will want to make sure the liable party pays for the damages that he or she is held responsible for according to your state laws.
Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been hit by a car at an intersection, you will want to file a personal injury claim to recover your losses. Enlist the help of a personal injury attorney who handles auto accident injury cases in your area. Personal injury lawyers take cases on the contingency basis, which means you will not need pay for your lawyer’s services and assistance upfront.
Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to share the details of your case with a law firm who handles intersection crash claims in your state. Your attorney can help investigate the accident and gather the supporting evidence and documentation that your claim needs to proceed to the next level.