Whose Fault Was This Accident?

When you get into an accident, the big question is always this: who’s at fault? The answer to a lot of people is “whoever does the hitting,” but that’s not always the case. Here’s a look at a few accidents in which who’s really at fault may surprise you.

Please note: due to the nature of these accidents, and the necessity of analysis, some of these will be relatively grisly. Unfortunately that’s the reality of auto insurance and car accidents: We don’t want anybody to be injured or killed either, but all too often, that’s the end result of one bad decision.

Who’s at fault here? The pickup that hit that car and crashed into the other vehicles, right?

Wrong. The first vehicle it hit was running a red light. It is true that even if you have the right of way, you need to be aware and careful of other drivers, especially irresponsible ones. In this case, even though the car was T-boned and the driver came away the worst on the accident, he’ll be the one paying for all the damage his irresponsibility caused.

On the other hand:

It’s hard to see in the video here, but this Mustang runs a stop sign and hits a driver who was following all signals. Not only will he be found to be at fault, he’ll also likely be facing criminal charges. Needless to say, his Mustang will also have to be fixed on his own dime.

But it’s worth noting that accidents often aren’t so clear cut:

This accident, as terrifying as it is to imagine being in, is also a tricky one for an insurance company. For example, it could be exactly what it looks like: An unfortunate moment where adverse weather conditions cause a driver to fishtail and a tragedy to happen.

But there are other factors. Did the SUV have electronic stability control? Were there snow tires on the vehicle? Was the driver sober at the time? Without this information, no insurance investigator is going to make a call.

Even supposedly clear-cut accidents can be more difficult to call at fault than you might think. Take this video:

The person filming obviously isn’t at fault: you can hear the exact moment he got rear-ended. But if you go through the video’s notes, you’ll find that the insurance agents involved in the four (!) cars that were involved in this accident are still arguing over who’s at fault.

So what should you, the average driver, take away from all of this? Well, first of all, don’t drive unsafely: follow the rules of the road, stay sharp, and be sure you’re courteous of other drivers. Secondly, understand that your responsibility extends not just to the decisions you make while driving, but also to the effects of those decisions. Drive with respect and care, and you’ll find it returns to you. Drive without it… and that will come back too.

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