How to Determine Fault in an Intersection Crash

pedestrians at intersection

Intersections are busy places for drivers and therefore more at risk of serious accidents. With motorists all using an intersection to travel in various directions, there is a lot going on. For this reason, most intersections are controlled by traffic lights and stop signs. Even so, drivers sometimes still get confused as to who has the right of way, while others simply don’t seem to care. There are a variety of crashes that commonly occur at intersections.

T-Bone Crashes

When one driver crashes into the side door of another driver, it is known as a T-bone crash. This is because of the shape that the accident makes. Unfortunately, since a side door offers little protection to the driver, when someone is “T-boned,” they often suffer more severe injuries. It’s important to understand that just because one driver crashes into the side door of another vehicle, it does not automatically mean that they are liable. (T-bone crashes often occur when a driver makes a left turn without worrying about oncoming traffic, which has the right of way.) It really depends on the situation and several factors that may play a part:

  • Who had the right of way?
  • Did a driver run a stop sign or red light?
  • Was either driver speeding or distracted?
  • Were alcohol or drugs involved?

Rear-end Collisions

When one driver hits another driver who is legally stopped at a stop sign or red light, a read-end collision occurs. There are many different causes of rear-end collisions such as speeding, drowsy driving, impaired driving, or distracted driving. A rear-end collision can occur even at lower speeds and still result in significant damage.

It’s a lot easier to determine who is at fault in a rear-end collision. However, this doesn’t mean you will automatically receive the damages that you believe you deserve. Often times, insurance companies will argue that the damage you incurred was insignificant or that your injuries weren’t severe whatsoever. This is made worse for those who wait a long time to seek medical attention. When the driver who is hit from behind suffers whiplash or a concussion it often makes it much harder to recover from an insurance company. While whiplash and concussions are serious, injuries can prove even more severe when the rear-end collision occurs at a higher speed. This can lead to broken bones, serious head and internal injuries, and even spinal cord injuries. 

Head-on Collisions

When two cars that are travelling opposite directions crash into each other, this is called a head-on collision. Head-on collisions at intersections often occur because:

  • A driver runs a red light or stop sign while another driver is making a left turn
  • A driver loses control of their vehicle
  • A driver tries to make a left turn even though they don’t have the right of way

It’s important to understand that the speed of impact is extremely important in a head-on collision, as both drivers compound it. For instance, if each driver is driving at 45 mph when they collide, the impact speed will actually be 90 mph. 

Since the impact speed feels so much heavier, head-on collisions often result in some of the most serious and often life-threatening injuries of any type of crash. Those who survive head-on collisions often suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injury (TBI), damage to internal organs, permanent nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis.

What Should You Do?

If you were involved in a crash in an intersection, it’s important that you take certain steps to protect yourself and your rights. Be sure to obtain a copy of the official police report and to consult with a qualified New Mexico personal injury attorney. 

New Mexico is a comparative negligence rule state, which means that you may still recover damages even if you are partially at fault. However, your settlement award would be reduced by your percentage of fault in the accident. Therefore if you are entitled to $100,000 but you were 30% at fault for the accident, you could recover $70,000.

MPJ Law Firm Can Help Those in NM Who Have Been Injured in an Intersection Crash

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an intersection crash, it can be devastating. When you are already dealing with so much, the last thing on your mind is dealing with the legalities of the situation. 

At MPJ Law Firm, we will always act in your best interest and work to help you receive the compensation that you deserve. Even though it can’t make up for what has happened, it can help you to move forward with your life. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Automobile Accidents