Who Is at Fault for an Accident at an Intersection?

Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Involved in Accidents at Intersections.

Car accidents at intersections happen with tremendous frequency. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, more than half of all serious collisions are intersection related. Yet it can be challenging to figure out who was at fault after an intersection accident. Often, it takes a team to deconstruct what happened and determine where negligence lies.

Why Are Intersections So Dangerous?

If you drive, you likely go through several intersections every day. Intersections are where roads converge at a single spot. Sometimes, intersections use stop signs to control the flow of traffic. Other times, they rely on stoplights. However, even with these precautionary measures in place, drivers still get into accidents regularly.

What makes intersections such dangerous places when it comes to the potential for crashes? One answer is the sheer number of vehicles moving in and out of the intersection. Another may be confusing signage or drivers unaccustomed to navigating complicated intersections. Sometimes, the underlying issue is a malfunctioning stoplight.

It is worth mentioning that pedestrians and cyclists can be an additional reason for intersection confusion. In both urban and suburban areas, many intersections include walkways marked on the pavement. Traffic should always yield to foot traffic and bicycle riders, which adds another layer of complexity into the mix.

What Are Common Types of Intersection-Related Accidents?

Car accident lawyers frequently see the same types of accidents coming from intersection collisions. These include the following:

  • Rear-end collisions: These happen when a following car hits a leading car. Often, the leading vehicle does not accelerate as quickly as the following car expects it to. Or, the leading driver may put on the brakes suddenly, causing the following car to crash into it.
  • T-bone collisions: The T-bone collision occurs when a car hits another car in its midsection. T-bone crashes are quite common at intersections because vehicles may be turning. A T-bone collision can be very dangerous, especially if the striking car is traveling at high speed.
  • Head-on collisions: A head-on collision involves two cars hitting each other squarely. The hood-to-hood impact can lead to excessive vehicle damage as well as serious injuries or fatalities.

What Are the Most Frequently Cited Injuries from Intersection Accidents?

A driver or passenger can experience any type of personal injury after an intersection accident. A few more common injuries include whiplash, concussion, broken bones, internal damage, spinal cord injuries, mild and deep bruising, lacerations, and amputations.

It is critical for you and your passengers to be evaluated by a medical professional after any kind of intersection accident. Some injuries are not obvious until later. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can undergo proper treatment.

How Can You Determine Fault at an Intersection Accident?

You were involved in an intersection accident. Now, you want to file a claim. However, who is at fault? You may want to talk with a car accident lawyer before taking your next step.

Pinpointing who was negligent might not be as clear as it seems. For instance, you may have been rear-ended at a stoplight. The light turned green, you waited to accelerate, and the driver behind you hit your vehicle in anticipation that you would move. In your mind, the fault was the driver behind you. Yet what if you were checking your text messages instead of paying attention to the stoplight? A video at the intersection could reveal that you were distracted, which would mean that you might have contributed to the accident.

Many intersection accidents are complicated. They require a little investigation to analyze what occurred and why it occurred. Maybe the stoplight was green to all drivers, leading to a pile-up in the middle of the intersection or a T-bone collision. Anything is possible.

This is the reason it is important not to assign blame to anyone directly after your accident. Remember that the concept of negligence can be complicated. Consequently, figuring out who was at fault may take more time than you assumed.

Can Two Drivers Share Fault in an Intersection Accident?

What if you contributed to your intersection accident in some way? Can you still make a claim against the other driver? In Washington DC or Virginia, the answer is no.

Both Washington DC and Virginia follow some form of contributory negligence. Put simply, if you contributed to the accident in any way, you cannot win a claim against another party. You may still be able to receive some money from your personal auto insurance policy to cover some repair bills or medical expenses. However, you cannot file a claim against the other driver.

What Should You Do after an Intersection Collision?

There are many notorious intersections in and around Washington DC that are known for being the sites of accidents. If you get involved in a crash at any intersection, remember to follow a few simple rules:

  • Pull your car to a safe location if you can.
  • Do not move if you think you might be severely injured. The exception is to escape your vehicle if you believe it would be more dangerous to stay inside.
  • Call 911. Never assume that someone else has taken this step.
  • Exchange information such as your insurance policy number, your name and phone number, and your license plate number with all drivers involved in the accident.
  • While waiting for first responders, take pictures and video of the accident site.
  • Get the names and phone numbers of anyone who saw the incident.
  • When the police interview you for your report, state only the facts. The report the police generate can be used later to help determine fault.
  • See a medical professional to rule out any injuries.
  • Contact your insurance carrier to inform your agent of the incident.
  • Keep documentation of any bills associated with your accident, including repair shop bills, medical invoices, and even the cost of third-party rideshare trips you had to take because you were without a vehicle.
  • Consider making an appointment with a car accident lawyer before submitting any claims, including any claims to your insurance carrier. That way, you can get advice before moving forward.

Intersection accidents tend to be sudden and may be violent and catastrophic. Figuring out fault may be the last thing on your mind. Availing yourself of the assistance of a car accident lawyer to take over your case can give you room to get your life back on track.

Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Involved in Accidents at Intersections

If you were involved in an accident at an intersection, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced team will investigate the cause of the accident and will be your advocate so that you receive full and fair compensation. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.