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ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2

Hypothetical accident caused by third driver

Nothing happened but I was thinking about this as I watched all the idiots on the roads today. Let's say car B is following car A. Car C turns illegally out of a parking lot right in front of A. Driver A slams on the brakes to avoid hitting C and is rear-ended by B, who we'll assume wasn't tailgating. Driver C has an undamaged car but caused the accident.

Would C be considered at fault by the insurance companies? Would his insurance company be involved even though his car sustained no damage? Is he legally required to stay at the scene? What happens if he leaves, like 95% of people probably would? Could he be charged with anything other than an illegal turn?


davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none
usually car B would be judged at fault as in order to hit car A he had to be following too closely or not paying attention. Car C could be held to blame IF he stuck around, but those usually keep driving off.
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guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:4
reply to ctggzg
And in Florida, most likely its an uninsured driver so its all pointless as there never going to pay


Cabal
Premium
join:2007-01-21
reply to ctggzg
It is B's responsibility to leave enough room to stop or turn safely, regardless of the actions of drivers around him. Only B at fault.
--
If you can't open it, you don't own it.


Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN
reply to ctggzg
said by ctggzg:

Driver A slams on the brakes to avoid hitting C and is rear-ended by B, who we'll assume wasn't tailgating.

Driver C, other than being an idiot (and lots of his buddies are on the road), there is nothing to be done about Driver C.

Driver B is at fault in the accident, take your ticketing reason: following too close, failure to maintain control, driving too fast for road conditions.

Replace Driver C with a dog, deer, or rug in the road and the results are the same, Driver B is at fault.
--
"Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something." - Robert A. Heinlein


anonome

@verizon.net
reply to ctggzg
Driver A should let off the brakes just enough to be sure to run into Car C--because the person who causes the crash(es) should at least be involved in the crash(es).

ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to ctggzg
I was trying to concoct a scenario where B isn't tailgating. I couldn't come up with anything and just threw in the no-tailgating assumption instead. But there must be some situation where the third party is at fault and neither of the drivers of the damaged cars could have done anything. I get what Kilroy said about it being an animal or other road hazard, but there should be some way a third DRIVER would be held accountable for causing an accident.


Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN
I think the only way you could make it happen would be to have a death or major property damage involved. Reminds me of this accident. The driver of the car that cause the crash was found, but his fine was less than $1,500, far less than the 1.7 Million it cost to repair the bridge.
--
"Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something." - Robert A. Heinlein


anonome

@verizon.net
reply to ctggzg
The only such scenario (where B isn't "tailgating") is where B is no longer following a moving vehicle, such as when A is suddenly stopped by C (a crash, w/braking distance suddenly becoming a non-factor)--"following distance" would no longer be relevant. This effectively puts a "wall" suddenly in front of B.

InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5
reply to ctggzg
said by ctggzg:

there should be some way a third DRIVER would be held accountable for causing an accident.

If A was able to stop before hitting C but B wasn't able to stop before crashing into A, there is no doubt that B failed to maintain a safe distance and A's insurer won't give much of a damn about C since they have a clear-cut textbook case against B: if A could brake in time, B should have been able to do so as well since the distance between A and B should have given B enough time to start braking before reaching the point where A started braking.

I can imagine one possibility where B might not be to blame: B's car was in perfect condition with proper braking distance and force confirmed using the crash computer's logs; it just turns out that A had far superior braking power than an average car. If A concedes that B could not swerve around him due to cars in other lanes then A's insurer might drop the case against B's and no blame gets assigned.

If someone caught the whole thing on tape as proof that C did trigger the accident, there is a slight chance that A and B's insurers might try to do something but unless C incriminates himself, that would probably be the end of it.


Caddyroger
Premium
join:2001-06-11
To the west
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to anonome
said by anonome :

Driver A should let off the brakes just enough to be sure to run into Car C--because the person who causes the crash(es) should at least be involved in the crash(es).

Here in Washington state even if A hit C B would be at fault for hitting A.
--
Caddy

wolfy339

join:2005-04-30
Edmonds, WA
Just a quickie, I think this is similar to the situation that the OP is describing: Driver trying to turn into a parking lot from a four lane (two lanes each direction) road. Driver in question is in the inside southbound lane, driver in inside northbound lane waves her through and she is hit by a driver in the outside northbound lane. Driver in inside northbound lane (who waved the turning driver through) is at fault.

Note: Inside lane is the lane closest to the center line, outside lane is the lane closest to the curb.
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OldCableGuy

@communications.net
In a rear end collision the vehicle at the back is almost always found at fault. Regardless of why the front vehicle stopped. So even if the vehicle in front just slammed on their breaks to avoid missing the turn, the vehicle behind them should have stopped. IANAL YMMV

wolfy339

join:2005-04-30
Edmonds, WA
In the situation I described in my last post, and I am sorry if I did not make this clear, the turning car got broadsided by the car in the outside lane.

BoulderHill1

join:2004-07-15
Montgomery, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T DSL Service
reply to ctggzg
said by ctggzg:

I was trying to concoct a scenario where B isn't tailgating.

If B is not tailgating then why is it he can not stop to avoid hitting A?

said by ctggzg:

But there must be some situation where the third party is at fault

There really is no situation like this. Even in the scenario anonome describes where car A suddenly stops due to impact with C, driver B should still be able to stop safely without hitting car A.

Basically it boils down to what is required of you as a driver. When driving a vehicle you are required to maintain enough distance in front of you to safely stop your vehicle from what ever speed you are traveling to avoid hitting any vehicle in front of you.

Reality is that pretty much none of us actually maintain this distance when on the road. One could almost argue that it is sometimes a nearly impossible thing to do given the amount of cars on the road. Take an expressway in any city at rush hour. Cars may be traveling at speeds of 50 mph in tight formations like on the race track with only a single cars length between them. DOT guidelines would dictate a distance of almost 250 feet for that speed.

BoulderHill1

join:2004-07-15
Montgomery, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T DSL Service
reply to wolfy339
Am I to understand that the broadsided car is making a left into the parking lot?

Driver in inside northbound lane has no authority to "wave" southbound driver through. Inside northbound may be just trying to help but this driver can not know or speak for the outside north lane's actions and therefore should not try to direct southbound drivers movements.

Additionally southbound driver should not accept the wave through because they most likely do not have a clear line of sight of outside northbound lane's traffic.


Cabal
Premium
join:2007-01-21
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to ctggzg
said by ctggzg:

But there must be some situation where the third party is at fault and neither of the drivers of the damaged cars could have done anything.

The only accident is a meteor strike. Everything else is driver error.
--
If you can't open it, you don't own it.

mocycler
Premium
join:2001-01-22
kudos:1
reply to ctggzg
Basically, who (if anyone) is at fault would be at the discretion of the police and/or the insurance company.

To your point, I cannot think of a way Driver C would be at fault legally. He could possibly be the subject of a civil suit if one of the other drivers could prove Driver C was negligent, even if Driver C was not directly involved in the accident. This would be a very long reach. Driver C is not obligated to stay at the scene unless asked to by the police, nor is he/she obligated to report the matter to insurance unless they are indeed found to be at fault (again, a long shot).

The police are not going to buy the "that other idiot made me do it" defense.

Some states require drivers to remain at the scene when they could reasonably believe they were a factor in an accident, even if their vehicle was not damaged.

The real loser here is Driver B. He would likely be found 100% at fault. There are very, very few situations where a motorist would not be on the hook if they rear ended someone, regardless of why the guy in front of them slammed on the brakes. As we all learned as teenagers, it is your responsibility to maintain a safe braking distance behind the car in front of you.

By the way, there is no firm legal definition of "tailgating" in any state. Police will usually assume that if you rear end someone, you failed to maintain a safe distance and, by default, were tailgating. It's not the leading car's job to stay safely ahead of you. It's your obligation to stay safely behind him. Police will not give much wiggle room on this.

mocycler is a corporate counsel attorney, and by most accounts, a decent guy


Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

2 edits
reply to ctggzg
said by ctggzg:

Nothing happened but I was thinking about this as I watched all the idiots on the roads today. Let's say car B is following car A. Car C turns illegally out of a parking lot right in front of A. Driver A slams on the brakes to avoid hitting C and is rear-ended by B, who we'll assume wasn't tailgating. Driver C has an undamaged car but caused the accident.

Would C be considered at fault by the insurance companies? Would his insurance company be involved even though his car sustained no damage? Is he legally required to stay at the scene? What happens if he leaves, like 95% of people probably would? Could he be charged with anything other than an illegal turn?



If I was car A I would have just hit car C..

good reason to buy a dash cam if you are that worried.



mixdup

join:2003-06-28
Birmingham, AL
Reviews:
·Bright House Net..
·Charter
reply to ctggzg
Driver B is always at fault. In rear-ending accidents, whoever does the rear-ending is always at fault no matter what caused the car in front to be stopped. If the car in front of you stops instantaneously, you must still be able to stop your car and not hit them. Otherwise, you were following too close and you will be responsible for repairs. I cannot think of a single incident in which you wouldn't be at-fault.

Now, there may be extenuating circumstances like mechanical failure or wet roads (wet roads isn't 100% an excuse, though, because you should be going slower and give even more distance) but even so, it will be judged your fault.

My mother was in an accident some years ago in Atlanta where 5 or 6 cars were in a chain of rear end collisions. She was the next to the last car, and I don't know what the disposition of the other cars were, but the last car, which had hit her, had to fix her car for sure, and if I remember correctly the car in front of her. This was even though she hit the car in front of her before the car behind hit her.


Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
said by mixdup:

Driver B is always at fault.

that incorrect if you back into someone that driver is at fault. (if both are backing up then it's 50%/50%)

there is some limitations on the backing into someone you do have alert the person backing up if you are passing by

such as using horn...


mixdup

join:2003-06-28
Birmingham, AL
If Car A backs into Car B, then Car B didn't rear-end Car A, did they?

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to ctggzg
I've been adjusting claims for about... 25 years now. I can say that Driver C _can_ be held liable for pulling out in front of Driver A which in turn caused Driver A to make a sudden and unreasonable stop which in turn created the hazard for Driver B. With that said, it would be difficult to be able to show this. How I'd look at it is that Driver B would start out being 100% at fault and then I'd see if some of this liability could be shifted over to Driver C. For example, if Drivers A gave a statement making it clear that Driver C pulled right out in from of him/her and that Drivers A needed to slam on his/her brakes then I'd probably look to put some liability against Driver C.

If Driver C did not stop then other things, such as Joint and Several liability would come into play. In some states if a person is 1%, 10%, 15%, etc. (it can differ in different states) then they can be held 100% liable even if another party contributed to the accident.

Would Driver C need to stick around? Certainly not if they did not know about the accident. If they left and were tracked down I doubt they would be cited for leaving if they could convince an officer that they did not think they had anything to do with the accident.

But yes, Driver C _could_ be held liable for at least partially for what you mentioned above. It happens all of the time.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to ctggzg
I can give you a real life example of this. Not 100% like you describe but very close, and it happened to me.

I was driving back to school (went to a different school half day in Junior and Senior year) in the afternoon and had just gotten off the interstate on a very busy road near downtown Atlanta (Clairmont at 85 for those familiar with the area). I'm in the inside lane and another truck is in the outside lane, we're both doing like 35-40 or so. Out from a side street pulls this little old lady in a white car, I don't remember if she even stopped or not.

Now, the truck in the other lane, was a 60's Chevy, not something that is going to lose in a fight with a car (or my 95 Ram lol). To avoid a t-bone collision with this little old lady, the driver of the Chevy swerves into my lane. I didn't get out of the way in time and our front fenders meet. No damage that I remember to the Chevy and it just caved in my fender a little bit. The little old lady? Didn't get hit and drove off as if nothing happened.

The police arrived, accident report done, insurance involved, whole nine yards. Everyone agreed that little old lady was 100% at fault but because the driver of the Chevy did technically hit me, they were nice enough to pay for the damages (actually developed a bit of a friendship with them before we moved). It ended up going through their insurance I think, don't remember exactly now. We were not able to get the tag of the white car the little old lady was but a witness stopped and said they got it, though I don't know if the insurance company or police went after her.

wolfy339

join:2005-04-30
Edmonds, WA
reply to BoulderHill1
said by BoulderHill1:

Am I to understand that the broadsided car is making a left into the parking lot?

You are correct in your understanding.


drslash
Goya Asma
Premium
join:2002-02-18
Marion, IA
reply to ctggzg
Another real life example of the B driver not cited for rear ending driver A. I was driving on a snowy/icy 4 lane street and I left more than enough room in front of me up to the next car. Along comes driver A by me on the inside lane and immediately changes lanes in front of me (basically cut me off). Driver A swerves in the slippery road and locks up his brakes. I do the same and rear end him. This was the story told by both of us to the responding officer. I was not cited. We both had collision coverage so our insurance companies paid for each of our damage. That's the story I told my insurance company and presumably that's what he told his insurance company. I asked the officer if the same thing happened on dry roads, if driver A cut off driver B and then stops immediately for any reason, would driver B get cited? He said probably not.
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InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5
reply to wolfy339
said by wolfy339:

Driver in inside northbound lane (who waved the turning driver through) is at fault.

AFAIK, ensuring your own safe crossing is always your own responsibility regardless of any waving others may give you - you are the one making the decision to trust others' advice instead of verifying things for yourself.

At most, north inner might get cited for obstructing traffic since he is not supposed to stop on the left/fast lane unless he is either turning left or on a stop sign/light.

Blind left turns through oncoming traffic lanes are scary. One of my closest calls was when the driver behind a truck waiting on a left turn decided to change lanes in the middle of the intersection just as I was passing by the truck, half-way into my own left turn.

billydunwood

join:2008-04-23
united state
kudos:2
reply to Cabal
said by Cabal:

It is B's responsibility to leave enough room to stop or turn safely, regardless of the actions of drivers around him. Only B at fault.

I would disagree. I would say they are both at fault. B was probably following too close, however the contributing factor for the rear ending to even happened was Car C illegally pulling out. They will each be assessed a percentage of liability.
--
No Victim=No Crime

billydunwood

join:2008-04-23
united state
kudos:2
reply to OldCableGuy
said by OldCableGuy :

In a rear end collision the vehicle at the back is almost always found at fault. Regardless of why the front vehicle stopped. So even if the vehicle in front just slammed on their breaks to avoid missing the turn, the vehicle behind them should have stopped. IANAL YMMV

That is false, they are not always at fault. If a car in front of you purposely hits the brakes and you hit them, your not always going to be at fault. Like in a road rage situation, the person changes lanes to get right in front of you and slams on their brakes, how is that your fault?
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No Victim=No Crime


Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to mixdup
op is just describing insurance fraud
called swoop and squat

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG_W6B3x ··· W6B3xmzs


21:36