Personal Injury Lawyers » Failure to Yield Right of Way
Theory of Liability: Failure to Yield Right of Way
All car accident cases have to be based on a theory of liability. In order to cast a wide net, we will generally site a predominant theory of liability as well as tertiary theories. In this article, we will discuss the most common theory which is known as failure to yield right of way.
What is the Right of Way?
Essentially, this term means to let the other person go first. These signs are very common on all types of roadways and they are intended to give the driver notice that another driver is to be favored. Usually, these signs are present in order to protect the other driver who is especially susceptible to being involved in an accident if the driver’s given the yield sign do not act with extra caution.
Common Ways That a Defendant Can Fail to Yield the Right of Way to You
Defendants will frequently ignore yield signs which you find on off-ramps for highways. Anytime you are driving on an access road adjacent to the freeway you will inevitably pass a yield sign. They are typically a red and white-colored triangle instructing you to yield to the traffic exiting the freeway. Often defendants will ignore these signs and cause you to be involved in a car accident while you are trying to exit the freeway. If this has happened to you, you likely have a strong claim against the negligent driver for your injuries sustained in the accident.
The defendant failed to yield the right of way when they turned from a parking lot into your path. How many times have you been driving down a roadway when a careless driver suddenly turns out of a parking lot directly into the lane in which you are traveling causing you to suddenly slam on your brakes? If this happened to you and you suffered an injury because of it, the negligent driver has broken the law and should be held accountable for your damages.
If a defendant has run through a stop sign they have ignored an express sign to yield and are responsible for your damages. While a stop sign is not a traditional yield sign, its intent is to have drivers use caution and yield to you as you pass. Many times two roads will cross and one of them will have the right of way while the other must yield as mandated by a stop sign. If you are hit by a car that did not obey the stop sign, then they will likely be liable for your resulting damages.
There are also certain parking lot scenarios where you can be injured by a car that failed to properly yield. The general rule of thumb is in the absence of signage in a parking lot, whichever road is connected to the main road has right of way. Generally speaking, any time someone has to turn on another road they are required to yield right of way.
For example, when you shop at a Mall you have probably encountered this situation. There is the main access road coming from the Freeway access road. There are several pathways in the parking lot that cross this road, but there are not always stop signs denoting that the other driver must yield to you. However, if you are traveling on this road you are inherently given the right of way since it is the main path connected to the major roadway.
One of the most common accidents caused by drivers failing to yield involves yield left-hand turn signals. This is often found when you are attempting to turn left onto an intersecting roadway, but instead of a green arrow that gives you complete authority to turn, you are simply given a green light with the instruction to yield to oncoming traffic. Countless drivers are given this yielding green light, but they fail to pay adequate attention to the traffic flow, or they intentionally drive thinking that they can essentially beat you to the intersection. Whether the driver causes you to be hurt in an accident due to their carelessness or intentional recklessness, that negligent driver will be responsible for your damages because they failed to yield the right of way.
How Do I Prove the Defendant Failed to Yield Right of Way?
Proving any personal injury matter is based on the preponderance of the evidence showing that it is the more likely scenario. This causes us to rely on our persuasive abilities and whatever evidence we can find. Typically this is determined by first learning what roads and direction each of the parties are traveling on. We must prove where the cars were and where they were coming from. These two facts often shed a great deal of light on the accident and give clarity to the events that actually occurred. We can also assess the situation and details leading up to the accident by analyzing the damage to both vehicles. Through damage analysis, we can determine the speed and direction each car was traveling.
For example, you were driving down a road, you got in a car accident and the defendant is claiming that you rear-ended their car and therefore you are liable. However, via accident analysis, we can show that the defendant’s car clipped the right front side of your vehicle while they were changing lanes. If there is damage to the right from side of your car, this could not have been caused by you rear-ending the vehicle. They clearly changed lanes without using proper caution and checking for cars in surrounding lanes. As a car traveling in that lane, you have the right of way and any car changing lanes to move into your path must yield and give you the right of way.
The attorneys at our law office have various techniques for proving negligence and establishing the defendant’s liability in a failure to yield right of way claim. To further discuss how we might specifically prove your damages, contact our law office.