Are You Fault if You Hit Someone Who Pulled Out in Front of You?

if someone pulls out in front of you and you hit them is it your fault

Being hit by another vehicle that failed to yield the right of way is one of the most frustrating types of car accidents. In the split-second aftermath, adrenaline is running high, and tempers can flare over who was actually at fault. Was the other driver negligent for pulling out when it wasn’t clear? Or were there other factors at play that could make you partially liable as well?

In California, determining fault in a car accident case goes far beyond a simple “he said, she said” back-and-forth. Our state uses a pure comparative negligence model to apportion liability based on each party’s actions. This makes understanding the rules of the road and hiring an experienced car accident attorney absolutely crucial after an accident like this occurs.

Right of Way Laws and Driver Negligence in California

In California, we have definite rules about which driver has to yield in different situations on the road. If you were proceeding through an intersection with a green light, for example, then any motorist turning onto that road had the legal obligation to wait for you to go first. Their failure to do so could be considered negligence.

The same goes for stop signs, merging lanes, and that kind of thing. There’s an established flow of traffic and a driver who disrupts that by not following the rules could be deemed negligent. That negligence then becomes the basis for establishing their fault in causing the accident.

Some common examples include:

  • Failing to yield to oncoming traffic before turning left at an intersection
  • Entering a roadway from a stop sign, private drive, or parking lot without yielding
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Improperly changing lanes without signaling or checking blind spots

Ultimately, whichever driver failed to follow these basic right of way protocols and obey traffic signals can be established as negligent and therefore at-fault for any resulting collision and damages. Their disregard for traffic laws aimed at keeping all motorists safe is the primary grounds for liability.

Comparative Negligence — When You’re Partially At-Fault

Under California’s pure comparative negligence standard, both drivers involved in an accident can be assigned a percentage of fault based on their conduct.

So even if the other motorist was clearly negligent in pulling out in front of you, there may have been contributing factors that made the crash worse:

  • If you were traveling over the speed limit
  • If you were driving while distracted or impaired
  • If your vehicle’s brakes were faulty and prevented you from stopping
  • If you failed to take evasive action to avoid the collision

In such cases, the court would determine your percentage of fault for the accident and injuries based on these additional negligent actions. Your compensation awarded from the other driver would then be reduced by that same percentage.

For example, if the other driver ran a red light but you were also cited for speeding, the court could find you 20% at fault for failing to drive at a proper speed. If the total damages award was $100,000, you would only receive $80,000 after your 20% share of negligence is deducted.

This makes establishing and minimizing your percentage of fault absolutely vital to recovering full compensation after a serious accident. Having an experienced California car accident attorney on your side is the best way to protect your rights.

Protecting Your Rights and Seeking Compensation

The actions you take after a car accident can make or break your ability to recover damages down the line. Be sure to:

  • Never admit fault or make any incriminating statements at the scene
  • Collect contact and insurance information from the other driver
  • Get the names and numbers of any eyewitnesses
  • Take photos/video of the vehicle positioning, road conditions, injuries, etc.
  • Seek medical attention right away for any potential injuries
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident within reporting periods
  • Avoid providing a statement or signing anything from the other driver’s insurer

From there, our attorneys can launch an investigation into the accident. We’ll go over the accident scene with a fine-toothed comb, interview any witnesses, analyze the vehicle damage, and, if needed, bring in accident reconstruction experts. We leave no stone unturned in building up a case to prove you had little or no fault whatsoever.

Because at the end of the day, you should be compensated for an accident that wasn’t your fault – from the repairs to your vehicle, to your medical costs, to any wages you lost from missed work. You shouldn’t have to pay a dime out of pocket. That’s on us to make sure the negligent party is held fully accountable.

Contact DP Injury Attorneys for Right of Way Accidents in San Diego

Determining fault and dealing with insurance companies after any car accident is incredibly complex. When the other driver carelessly pulls out in front of you, the situation becomes even more high-stakes.

Having the right personal injury law firm representing you from the very start gives you a tremendous advantage. At DP Injury Attorneys, we have years of experience holding negligent drivers accountable and getting our clients the money they need to recover and move on with their lives after serious accidents. If you were injured because another driver pulled out in front of you, our legal team will fight tirelessly on your behalf every step of the way.

Don’t try to take on this battle alone against aggressive insurance companies. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review to go over the details of your accident, injuries, and legal options. With a San Diego personal injury lawyer from DP Injury Attorneys on your side, you’ll have the fearless advocates you need to get justice and full compensation.

Author Bio

Arthur Paul D’Egidio is the Managing Partner of DP Injury Attorneys, a San Diego personal injury law firm. With more than 12 years of experience in California injury law, he has dedicated his practice to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury matters, including car accidents, workers’ compensation, slip and falls, catastrophic injury, and wrongful death cases.

Arthur received his Juris Doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California as well as the San Diego County Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named a Super Lawyer for seven straight years by Thomson Reuters and a “Top 40 Under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers.

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