Were You Following Traffic Laws?
You can be held partially at fault when you don’t follow the rules of the road and the other person didn’t either, so both of you created a dangerous situation. For example, someone could be using the right shoulder to pass other cars and you could be making a left turn and get hit by the person using the right shoulder to pass cars. These are difficult cases, because even though traffic may have stopped for you to make your left turn, the person using the shoulder may have been unaware that traffic was stopping for you and that’s why they ended up crashing into your car. The person using the right shoulder often will say that they were intending to make a lawful right turn and that’s why they were on the right shoulder, or they may lie and say they were in the lane closest to the curb and they were not using the right shoulder to pass other cars. In this situation, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault, so this often leads to both parties assuming some degree of liability.
Ways to Prove that Someone Who Turned in Front of You is at Fault
Making a left turn in front of other traffic is a dangerous thing to do, no matter how fast your vehicle is. The best thing to do is to wait for traffic to pass before making a left turn, unless you have a left turn arrow.
California Vehicle Code 21804 (a) states “The driver of any vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from any public or private property, or from an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all traffic, as defined in Section 620, approaching the highway close enough to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that traffic…”
How do you prove that the other driver committed an illegal turn? Witnesses are an excellent first start. If anyone was present when the other driver pulled in front you, which then led to the accident, their statements provided to the court can help to back up your personal injury claim, leading to a win in your favor.
Using a camera in your car to capture everything in front of your vehicle while your driving is also a good way to prove the other driver was at fault.
Obtaining camera footage from nearby stores, office buildings, houses in the area, an apartment complex, city buses, and sometimes from cameras on the traffic signals.
If you can prove that you had the right of way, then generally, California Civil Jury Instruction, 452 Sudden Emergency, can be used to show that you were not at fault for the accident. This jury instruction states that the person who acts reasonably in an emergency situation is not negligent. It is reasonable for a driver who has the right of way to crash into someone who turns in front of them all of a sudden, since the driver with the right of way had no reason to think that the other vehicle would take such action.