Whose Fault Was the Accident?
I Just got a call from an old friend. He was in a car accident yesterday and was concerned about liability. This is to say that he was not sure who was at fault in the accident. My friend has been a lawyer for 20 years so I was a bit concerned when he was not sure who caused the collision. I began by asking him how the accident happened. It occurred at the entrance of a parking lot in front of a large grocery store in Ventura, California.
My friend said he was entering the parking lot when a plumbing truck came from the side of the lot and crossed in front of him at a high rate of speed. There were not passengers in either car and no witnesses to the accident. The police refused to come out as there were no physical injuries. My friend said the plumber called his boss to the scene and the boss came quickly to see the damage. Next, I asked about any statements that were made. The driver of the plumbing truck told his boss that my friend "T-boned" him at the entrance to the lot. The boss responded by saying, "Why were you driving so fast across the lot"?
That's when I knew we were going to win on the issue of liability. Even the truck owner knew by looking at the damage that his driver was driving too fast for the conditions. In a parking lot we need to drive with caution and we should expect other people to be coming into and going out of the lot. That's what people do in parking lots…they park and they leave. The reason to drive slowly in a lot is to avoid crashing into other cars which are going into and out of the lot.
My buddy may be partially responsible for the accident, but certainly less than 50% responsible. The moral to the story is that after an accident, the things that people say and do can be very helpful in resolving the issue of who is at fault. When people say they are sorry after an accident, this can often be used as an admission of fault. When someone says, "I didn't see you", that usually means they were not paying enough attention. When someone involved in an accident was going backwards, that usually means they are at fault.
Sometimes it's hard to determine who caused an accident. This can be especially true in a parking lot where there may not be arrows and stop signs and other indications of right of way and directions of travel. We must be very careful in these situations. Unfortunately, some accidents can't be avoided. In these cases, pay close attention to what happened, and where. Take photos of the scene and notes about what each party or witness says. Don't hesitate to talk to a lawyer before you consult with your insurance company and especially the other sides insurance company. And remember, if you have been injured in an accident, get medical attention as soon as possible.
If you have been injured in an auto accident or any other accident which was not your fault and you need a lawyer to help you out, call me:
Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or email me at: email@example.com
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