The Blind Spot: Who Is At Fault in an Accident
Blind spot accidents account for approximately 840,000 accidents and 300 deaths every year. These types of accidents occur for various reasons and in a wide variety of circumstances but, in essence a blind spot accident occurs because one driver did not see another. Who, then, is at fault in such a situation? Is it the driver who failed to see the other vehicle, or is it the driver who knowingly or unknowingly entered the other car’s blind spot?
The answer to this question is not always straightforward. Generally speaking, the person who did not have the right of way at the time of the collision is responsible. Determining precisely who had the right of way, however, can be a little trickier, especially in a multi-lane situation.
It can be useful to take a look at some common causes of blind spot accidents and who, in each case, is typically responsible.
What Causes Blind Spot Accidents?
One of the most common causes of a blind spot accident occurs when one vehicle merges into another over the right or left shoulder. In these cases, the driver who merged into the blind spot is typically found at fault for an accident. This is because most state laws stipulate that a driver should not make a lane change unless they are confident they can do so safely. Drivers are expected to thoroughly check their mirrors and look over their shoulders before merging. Failing to do so is considered negligent.
There are some cases when the vehicle that was hit in the blind spot may be at least partially responsible. If the driver was illegally passing on the right, for example, he or she can be held liable for a collision in the blind spot. This is also true if the driver failed to yield to a vehicle on the left attempting to overtake them. This happens when a car signals to merge in front of another, starts to change lanes, and the vehicle behind them speeds up.
How to Prove Fault in a Blind Spot Accident
Proving liability in a blind spot accident can be complicated. In many cases, both drivers are partially at fault. Even if this is the case, comparative negligence laws in Colorado still allow you to claim damages provided you are less than 50 percent at fault.
If you are involved in a blind spot accident, your first priority should be safety. Make sure you are out of oncoming traffic and get medical attention as soon as possible for any injuries.
Once you are safe, obtain the other vehicle’s information*: license plate, insurance information, etc. Photograph the damage to your vehicle as well as any injuries you might have sustained.
If the police have been called, request a copy of the police report to provide your insurance carrier. Keep all other documentation, including medical notes and bills, to help build your case.
Call your insurance carrier as soon as possible after the accident. Provide them with all requested documentation and answer phone and email requests promptly.
*If the other car fled the scene, you may be looking at a phantom vehicle accident claim. This will still require careful documentation and a few additional steps. Read our article here for what to do if you are in a phantom vehicle accident.
When to Hire an Attorney for a Blind Spot Accident
If you are having difficulty proving your case to your insurance carrier, or you feel they have unfairly delayed or denied your case, contact a personal injury and accident attorney. An experienced lawyer will help you collect all available evidence in order to prove your claim. This includes information you may not have access to, such as video camera footage and witness interviews.
If you have been in a blind spot accident in Colorado, contact David Roth with the Roth Group. Dave is a dedicated and compassionate attorney with years of experience in personal injury and insurance. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation.