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Hurt in an intersection accident? Here’s how to understand who’s at fault in Washington state

  1. Hurt in an intersection? Here’s how to understand who’s at fault
  2. What causes intersection accidents?
  3. Who is at fault in intersection accidents?
  4. How an attorney can help you prove who’s at fault after a car accident and get the compensation you deserve
  5. If you need a car accident lawyer who will fight for you after an intersection crash, call Herschensohn Law

Hurt in an intersection? Here’s how to understand who’s at fault

intersection accident

You never saw the collision coming.

The light turned green, and you pulled into the intersection going straight. Suddenly, an oncoming vehicle makes a left turn at the same time, crashing into the front of your car.

You step out to assess the damage and the other driver begins yelling at you, saying the accident was your fault. You don’t think you did anything wrong—but who is at fault in an intersection accident?

In Washington state, the answer can be complicated. Keep reading to learn more.

intersection accident

What causes intersection accidents?

who is at fault in an intersection accident

Some of the most common driver mistakes cause intersection accidents, the severity of which can range from fender-benders to life-changing injuries. While any mistake can cause a crash, common ones include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or traffic light
  • Violating traffic laws
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Drivers turning without paying attention to oncoming traffic

These mistakes can cause accidents at intersections, like head-on collisions, side impact collisions, rear-end collisions, t-bone collisions, and more.

who is at fault in an intersection accident

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Who is at fault in intersection accidents?

intersection accident

To understand who is at fault in your intersection accident, you must start by understanding how fault and negligence work for car accidents.

Negligence and fault are two legal terms we use to describe situations like intersection accidents. Negligence is the principle in which one person or party’s mistake, reckless action, or failure to take a certain precaution causes harm to someone else. In cases like car accidents, there are laws that define what’s reckless or negligent, like speeding, driving drunk, or failing to keep a lookout.

However, intersection accidents are rarely cut and dried. Simple (but frequent) driver mistakes like speeding through a yellow light (even just a few miles per hour over the limit) can result in you sharing some blame for the crash.

Fortunately, Washington state follows a comparative fault system. That means you can still hold the person who hurt you accountable even if the accident was partially your own fault—but your return will be diminished by whatever percent you’re found to be liable. For example, if you were found to be 20% at fault for a car accident, and your settlement would have been $50,000, you would be eligible to collect $40,000.

How does fault work in intersection accident claims and personal injury lawsuits?

To have a personal injury claim, you need to be able to prove four things:

  1. Duty: The at-fault person had a responsibility to follow traffic laws and not cause you harm
  2. Breach: The at-fault person failed to act safely, whether that’s because they ran traffic lights, were texting and driving, driving under the influence, or some other reckless action
  3. Causation: That the at-fault person’s negligence caused you serious injuries or harm
  4. Damages: You suffered injuries or harm as a result of their negligence (this harm is known as “damages”)

This process might sound relatively straightforward, but in reality, a legal claim can be extremely complicated. Proving that someone hurt you often involves going up against insurance companies that don’t care about what’s right, just protecting their own wallets. That’s why people hurt in intersection accidents hire a personal injury to fight for them instead of trying to negotiate a settlement themselves.

What is used to prove fault in intersection car accidents

When you’re hurt in an intersection accident, a “he said, she said” narrative will not be enough to go on if you want to file a successful claim or lawsuit. You need evidence that proves your story.

In fact, the police, your lawyer, the insurance companies, and anyone else with an interest in your car accident case will look at the factors that prove breach, causation, and damages. Depending on what happened in the car accident, this can include:

  • Witness testimony
  • Security camera footage that showed reckless actions or driver error
  • Traffic report
  • On-board log system, if it’s available
  • Pictures of the scene of the crash
  • Pictures of your damaged vehicle
  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Doctor’s notes
  • Records of missed days of work
  • Expert testimony
  • Other pieces of evidence, depending on what happened to you
intersection accident

How an attorney can help you prove who’s at fault after a car accident and get the compensation you deserve

who is at fault in an intersection accident

If you want to give yourself the best chance at filing a successful personal injury claim, it’s time to strongly consider hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you—whether the accident was “routine” and your injuries were relatively minor, or something more serious happened.

Here’s why:

  • A personal injury attorney can preserve the evidence from the crash. Evidence from the accident, like security camera footage, can disappear quickly without intervention. Your attorney can move quickly to protect these items for you.
  • A personal injury attorney can build your case. Building a successful claim is an involved process. You deserve to rest and recuperate while your lawyer handles the work of building your case.
  • A personal injury attorney can calculate the true value of your personal injury claim. Insurance companies are notorious for offering lower-than-fair first settlement offers—especially when claimants don’t have legal representation. Your lawyer can help you understand the true value of your case.
  • A personal injury attorney can demand fair compensation for your pain, suffering, damages, and costs. The insurance company’s main goal is to save money, not protect you. An attorney can stand up to their manipulative tactics and demand a fair settlement, no matter how big or small your claim might be.
  • A personal injury attorney and their team can guide you every step of the way. Nobody files an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit because they’re having a good day. When you hire an attorney who knows how to handle intersection car accidents, they can make sure you not only understand what’s happening, but feel supported every step of the way.

RELATED: What is the statute of limitations in Washington State for personal injury cases?

If you need a car accident lawyer who will fight for you after an intersection crash, call Herschensohn Law

Car accidents are stressful. After one happens, you need the best legal advice. All too many car crash attorneys aren’t willing to truly fight for their clients’ best interests.

At Herschensohn Law, we put your needs first. Our team will always give you honest, practical legal advice about your case, who is at fault, and what to do next. To learn more, just schedule a free consultation with our team. Initial case evaluations are always free and confidential, and you’ll never pay for our services unless we win for you.

Get started by calling our Kent law office at (206) 588-4344 or sending us a message online. We look forward to hearing from you!

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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Hurt? Let our law firm handle the details

When you request your free consultation, Kent personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn will listen to you, answer your questions, lay out your legal options, and give you down-to-earth legal advice.

When you work with our law office, there are no obligations, hidden fees, or fine print. It’s that simple.

Request your free case evaluation

We’ll meet with you to help you understand your legal options and what to do next.

Enter your contact information:

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We’re proud to fight—and win—for injured people in Kent, Washington. View our case results to learn more.

References

  1. Texas Department of Transportation. (2020, April 15). Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts Calendar Year 2019. https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2019/01.pdf
  2. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (2019, December). Fatality Facts 2018, Large Trucks. Retrieved from https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/largetrucks

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as
legal advice on any subject.