Car accident liability

Car Accidents: Never Assume Liability is Obvious

Car Accidents happen all too often.  If you drive regularly you are bound to see a car accident or the aftermath of one on at least a weekly basis.  And, of course, if you drive often enough you are almost certain to be involved in a few during your lifetime.  To most people, the cause of the car accidents that they have been involved in is obvious.  “It was the other driver’s fault because he hit me from behind” or “It was my fault because I pulled out and never saw the other car coming.”

Common sense analysis applied in a sensible way.  Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t practice common sense the same way people do.  Insurance companies are motivated by one desire: to pay as little as possible regardless of the facts of the case.  This can lead them to taking outrageous positions in cases where the fault of their insured is obvious. Why? The insurance companies hope that by denying the obvious some injured people will simply decide to give up and go away.  This allows them to either pay nothing or far less than they should be legally obligated to pay.  Either way they consider it a success.  Here are two recent examples that we have actually seen.

Scenario #1 – Denying Liability When Their Insured Rear-Ends the Other Car and Admits He was at Fault.

Recently, our office represented an individual who had been seriously injured when the car he was operating was rear-ended on the highway by a vehicle traveling at an admittedly high speed.  During the discovery process, we were able to get the other driver to admit that he was traveling at approximately 40 mph when his car crashed directly into the back of our client’s vehicle.  A classic rear end collision.  Further, the driver admitted to be “distracted” and failing to pay attention to the traffic ahead of him.  Additionally, the driver acknowledged he looked away for several seconds before looking back at the road because he wanted to change lanes but the car next to him would not let him over.  Finally, under oath the other driver stated clearly that he knew the accident was “my fault.”

Pretty straight forward?  Not to the insurance company for the driver. They initially denied liability and argued to the jury that their driver was not negligent at all and that, therefore, they shouldn’t have to pay anything to the person who their insured injured and sent to the hospital.  The insurance company decided they would rather contest the obvious than willingly pay what they owe.

Scenario #2 – Denying Liability When Their Insured Exited a Parking Lot and T-Boned a Car that was Properly Waiting at a Red Light.

Another client of ours recently suffered serious injuries when his car was t-boned by another vehicle while he was waiting at a red light.   The car that hit him was driven by a woman who was looking down when she exited the parking lot and tried to merge onto the road. Our client’s car was stationary and waiting at a red light.  The other driver immediately got out of her car and apologized for not paying attention.

Cut and dry, right? While most people would quickly and correctly reach the conclusion that the other driver was negligent and at-fault in causing this crash, the other driver’s insurance company came to the opposite conclusion.  The insurance company, in a blatant attempt to avoid paying for the injuries that their insured’s actions caused, denied responsibility all together.  Why?  The insurance company’s position is that our client “failed to maintain a proper look out.”  Again, our client was t-boned from the passenger side of his vehicle while he stopped and waited at a red light.

If you are in an accident never assume that since it is “obvious” that the other driver is at fault, that everything will be simple and straightforward.  It is important to immediately retain an experience attorney who can fight for your rights against insurance companies who will do virtually anything to avoid doing the right thing.

Have questions?  Need representation?  Contact Us.