The rear driver in a motor vehicle crash is usually the at-fault driver. However, if someone pulls in front of you, you could be at fault and may be responsible for the collision.
Drivers must yield the right-of-way to others under certain circumstances, including at traffic intersections with stop signs, yield signs, or red traffic lights. Turning vehicles must also yield the right-of-way to vehicles traveling straight ahead. When a driver violates the law, they can be responsible for any resulting accident and injuries. For more information, reach out to a car accident lawyer.
If you have suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from a negligent driver, you have legal options. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and explain those options. You might be eligible to file a claim seeking monetary damages or a lawsuit in the civil court system. Your lawyer can help you decide on the best course of action to maximize the compensation that you recover in your case.
Failing to Yield the Right-of-Way
Drivers must follow all applicable traffic laws and regulations. When they violate these rules and an accident occurs, they can be responsible for the consequences.
Drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles:
- When they run a red light, yield sign, or stop sign
- When they merge onto a busy highway without looking
- When they cut off another vehicle in traffic or fail to use a turn signal
- When they violate the Boulevard Rule by pulling out from a driveway or less-traveled road onto the main roadway without looking or yielding the right-of-way
If you suffered injuries in a car accident where the at-fault driver cuts you off, your lawyer can file a claim with their insurer to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Determining Fault in a Failure-to-Yield Accident
It can be challenging to determine who caused the crash in some accident scenarios. This is especially true when the accident involves several motor vehicles. To determine how the accident occurred, the accident victim’s lawyer might need to retain an accident reconstructionist or other expert to assist with the case.
An expert can speak with eyewitnesses to the crash, review police reports, and communicate with responding police officers to determine the likely cause of the accident. They can then draft a report that the accident victim’s lawyer will send to the other driver’s insurance company. If the insurance company accepts fault for the accident, the accident victim can recover monetary compensation through a settlement or a lawsuit.
Why Drivers Fail to Yield at the Appropriate Time
Drivers may fail to yield the right-of-way for various reasons. In some instances, they are in a hurry and might try to get through a traffic intersection before the light turns red. At other times, drivers may not be paying attention to the road, or they might be intoxicated.
Distracted driving occurs when a car or truck driver ignores the road. The driver might have their eyes glued to a cellular device, or they may be fiddling with a GPS device to get directions for their trip. At other times, a distracted driver might turn their head towards the back seat or listen to loud music while driving. These distractions can divert a driver’s attention away from the road and onto something in the vehicle. Unfortunately, this is when many car accidents occur.
Injuries in Failure-to-Yield Accidents
Failure-to-yield accidents often happen when drivers are in a hurry. Consequently, they occur at high speeds. The force of an impact, which can be to the front or side of a vehicle, may cause the accident victim’s body to strike something in the car, such as the headrest, door frame, dashboard, window, or steering wheel, resulting in an injury. Alternatively, the impact force might jar the accident victim’s body in the vehicle, leading to an injury.
Common injuries that accident victims suffer in failure-to-yield accidents include traumatic head injuries, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, bruises, cuts, internal injuries, back injuries, and paralysis. These injuries can require significant and lengthy medical treatment with a doctor, physical therapist, or another provider. As soon as possible after a car crash, the accident victim should report to an urgent care facility or hospital emergency room for evaluation. The attending physician can examine the accident victim and order the necessary imaging studies, such as MRIs and X-rays, to make a complete diagnosis.
After an initial emergency room visit, the accident victim should follow up with a family doctor or other provider if necessary. Accident victims must treat their injuries continuously and avoid long treatment gaps. They should also refrain from prematurely discharging themselves from a medical facility. Otherwise, the insurance company will likely become skeptical of their injuries, believing they were not that serious.
While you concentrate your energies on seeking medical treatment and recovering from your injuries, a lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your case. Specifically, your lawyer can begin assembling a settlement demand package, along with a demand letter, to send to the insurance company. Once you complete the bulk of your medical treatment, your lawyer can file the demand and begin negotiating a full and fair settlement on your behalf.
Filing a Claim After a Car Accident
The claims-filing process begins when an accident victim’s lawyer submits a settlement demand letter and a complete demand package to the right insurance company. The insurance company adjuster handling the claim will review all of the documents, including the police report, expert reports, eyewitness statements, medical records, lost wage documents, injury photographs, and property damage photographs, and decide whether to accept fault for the case.
If the insurance company believes that their insured caused the accident by pulling out in front of you, the adjuster may admit liability for the crash. Assuming that you satisfy the other legal elements of your claim, you may be entitled to recover various damages.
To recover these damages, you must demonstrate that you suffered an injury and that the accident was the cause of your injury. Although the car accident need not be the sole cause, it must be at least one cause of your injury. In most cases, a medical expert will need to demonstrate that your injury resulted from the accident to a reasonable degree of medical certainty. If you suffered a permanent injury, the medical provider will need to state that in writing as well.
Even if the insurance company accepts fault for your accident, the first settlement offer that their adjuster places on the table is unlikely to be very high. Insurance companies want to try and settle personal injury cases for as little money as possible. If the accident victim is in a hurry to settle, this makes the insurance company’s job extremely easy. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf to get the adjuster to increase their offer.
If the adjuster does not come up to a reasonable number, you have the option of filing a lawsuit and litigating your car accident case in court. However, just because your lawyer files suit does not necessarily mean your case will proceed to a trial.
In fact, most car accident claims settle out of court long before trial. Your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept the insurance company’s most recent settlement offer—or file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court. Your lawyer can also help you decide whether you should take your case to trial or an alternative dispute resolution proceeding, such as mediation or binding arbitration.
Deadline to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Victims of failure-to-yield car crashes do not have a lengthy time to file a claim or lawsuit for damages. Some areas like Alberta have some of the shortest personal injury statutes of limitation around. Victims of a car crash only have two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. This statute of limitations is not forgiving, and if you file a lawsuit too late, you will not be eligible to seek damages for your injuries, inconvenience, pain, or suffering at a later time—absent some minimal exceptions.
Therefore, the sooner that you involve experienced legal counsel in your case, the better off your case will be. A car accident lawyer in your area can promptly file a lawsuit to protect the statute of limitations from running. Your lawyer can then negotiate for you and work to obtain a favourable result on your behalf—either through settlement or litigation.
Available Damages in Failure-to-Yield Accident Cases
The damages that an accident victim can recover from a failure-to-yield car accident will depend upon the permanence or severity of their injuries. Generally speaking, more severe injuries and property damage translate into higher monetary compensation. This is especially true if the accident victim has good property damage photographs. Insurance companies and juries tend to believe that extensive property damage translates into equally serious injuries.
Victims of car crashes often need to miss time from work to recover from their injuries. In instances, their injuries might even prevent them from working at all, and they can bring a claim for lost wages and/or for loss of earning capacity. In addition, car accidents frequently inflict painful injuries.
In those circumstances, they can recover damages not only for past pain and suffering but also for anticipated future pain and suffering. These pain and suffering damages compensate accident victims for their physical symptoms, as well as for their mental distress and emotional anguish resulting from their injuries.
Frequently after a car accident, the accident victim’s quality of life declines significantly. They may be unable to socialize with friends or spend as much time with family anymore. Likewise, their ability to participate in recreational activities and sports may become severely limited. Under those circumstances, the accident victim can bring a claim for lost quality of life.
In addition, if the accident victim suffered a permanent injury that limits the use of their body, such as a spinal cord or paralysis injury, they can pursue a loss of use claim for damages. Finally, when an accident victim’s injuries interfere with their ability to spend time with their spouse or family members, they can bring a claim for loss of spousal consortium or family support.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer near you will do everything possible to maximize the monetary recovery you obtain in your case. Although the insurance company should compensate you fully and fairly for your accident-related injuries, that does not always happen.
n that instance, your lawyer can litigate your case in the Alberta court system and, if necessary, take it to a jury trial, mediation hearing, or binding arbitration proceeding. Your lawyer can represent you at all court hearings and will zealously advocate on your behalf.
Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
Recovering monetary compensation from an at-fault party in a failure-to-yield car accident case can sometimes be challenging. The insurance company may dispute fault, alleging that you caused the crash instead of the merging driver. While you may wonder whether a lawyer is necessary, choosing to represent yourself is likely a bad idea.
Insurance companies often challenge whether a driver failed to yield and might even try to blame you for the accident. Even if liability is clear, the insurance adjuster might underestimate the severity of your injuries.
After the collision, your lawyer can promptly investigate the accident and determine if you have a viable case. If so, your lawyer will fight for your right to recover compensation for your injuries. If necessary, your lawyer can litigate the case at trial, allowing a jury of your peers to decide the outcome. Contact a car accident lawyer today to receive your consultation.