Types Of Auto Accidents And The At-Fault Concept

Someone who suffers serious injuries in an auto accident might need to file a lawsuit to get full compensation for their medical bills and loss of income. This is particularly true in states where the issue of who is at fault is critical to the outcome of a civil case. Most states are at-fault states, so if you are hurt in an accident, determining who is at fault will probably play a major role in whether you receive a damage award. The following article looks at several types of car accidents with the at-fault concept in mind. 


Rear-end crashes are quite common. Typically, barring unusual circumstances, the driver behind the other vehicle is going to be declared responsible for what happened. In some states, this is the default position of the law and the driver in the rear vehicle must show that exceptional circumstances were present in order to avoid liability.

A driver is not likely to be cleared of responsibility just because a car in front of them stopped short. The law expects that any car following another vehicle will allow enough space between the two automobiles to prevent this type of mishap. Some rare situations, such as the lead car swerving erratically due to an inebriated driver, or the lead car not giving the following car enough space when changing lanes, are exceptions to the general rule that places liability on the rearmost vehicle.

Left-Hand Turn

Another common type of car accident is when a driver making a left-hand turn and a driver going straight ahead crash into each other. Laws in at-fault states will typically favor the driver who was not turning, so the driver making the left-hand turn will usually be held responsible. It's up to the driver of the car turning to make certain that the way is clear, according to the rules of the road. A few exceptions exist, such as when the driver going straight through runs a red light.

4-Way Stops

Determining who is at fault when an accident occurs at a 4-way stop intersection is not always easy. The general rule is that whoever arrives at the stop first has the right of way. If two cars arrive at the same time, then the driver on the right has the right-of-way. If two cars arrive at the same time and want to turn onto the same road with one turning left and one turning right, the driver turning right has the right of way. A driver violating any of these rules will probably be held liable if an accident occurs.

To learn more about how at fault concept comes into play in car accident lawsuits, consult an auto accident attorney.