What Is a Right of Way Accident?
A right of way accident occurs when two or more vehicles meet at the same intersection, and one of the drivers fails to properly yield the right of way. Even if the driver legally had the right of way, he or she still needs to cautiously proceed through the intersection, exercising reasonable care for the other occupants of the vehicles at the intersection.
Let’s look at an example of how to proceed upon reaching a four-way intersection, typically one with stop signs and perhaps a flashing light. If there are other vehicles in the intersection upon your arrival, you must yield the right of way until they have all proceeded through the intersection. If you reached an intersection at the same time as another vehicle, the vehicle on the left must yield the right of way. In other words, if the other car is on your right, you must allow that driver to proceed before you.
Even when you understand the law and know how to determine the order in which each vehicle should proceed through the intersection, you cannot assume the other drivers understand the law. They may totally disregard the rules and force their way through the intersection when it is not their turn.
We’ve all seen them: those drivers who proceed as if the rules don’t apply to them.
Often, however, all it takes is a bit of eye contact with the other driver and a friendly wave of the hand to agree on who will go first.
How to Obtain Evidence for Determining Fault
No matter how cautious you are, there may come a time when you are involved in a right of way accident. If you are sure that you were in the right as far as your actions when entering the intersection, you need to share factual information with the police officer who is determining fault.
While you are waiting for the police to reach the scene, see if there were witnesses to the accident. Ask them to wait for the police officer to arrive, but if that is not possible, try to get their contact information. Share this with the investigating officer, your own insurance company as well as your attorney.
Before you leave the scene, take photos of the accident as best you can. Note the damages to all vehicles, especially where impact took place. Photograph any skid marks on the roadway. If you use a cell phone that has video capacity, you can even video the scene.
If the accident ends up in a dispute, your attorney will want this valuable evidence for use at trial. Your attorney may need to hire an accident reconstruction expert in order to recreate what occurred at the scene, and this information may prove to be invaluable.
Damages that May Be Claimed by All Parties
If you have been involved in a serious right of way accident, injured individuals involved in the accident may end up suing for compensation.
Typical damages can include medical expenses, loss of income, and property damage. In instances of permanent injury, the injured can seek additional compensation for scars, rehabilitation, and future medical expenses. Compensation for pain and suffering can also be claimed.
An automobile accident attorney is well-versed in how to properly document and make a legitimate claim for such damages, or, if the accident was not your fault, make valid arguments as to why the damages are not your responsibility. Contacting a lawyer can be invaluable.