Establishing liability for a car accident in an unmarked intersection is not always simple.
Many car accident cases are quite clear and it is easy to decide liability; for example, a driver runs a red light or drives on the wrong side of the road, leading to a car accident. In such cases, liability is clearly established and the at-fault driver is considered personally, legally, and financially responsible for causing the accident. There are, however, accidents where establishing liability is not that simple.
Case Study - An Unmarked IntersectionConsider an example of a car accident that occurred in Barton County, Missouri last year. A 49 year-old male was heading west in his pickup truck and was hit broadside by a Ford Explorer which was traveling northbound. The impact of the collision was so severe that the pickup truck was pushed over the side of the road, overturned, and came to rest upside down. The driver of the pickup truck was pronounced dead on the scene. It was reported by the highway patrol that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. This accident occurred on an unmarked four-way intersection and the absence of a stop sign or stop lights may have contributed to the two vehicles colliding. The other driver was a 55 year-old female who escaped unhurt. A sobriety test on the other driver came out clean and she was not arrested or cited.
It becomes difficult to establish liability for the cause of the accident and there may not be enough facts to support a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the surviving maily members of the deceased driver. To establish liability in such a case, it has to be established who had the right of way in the unmarked four-way intersection.
Follow the Rules of the RoadMany car accidents occur due to improper knowledge of the rules of the road when it comes to intersections without stop signs, yield signs, or stop lights. The first and foremost rule is that pedestrians have the right of way on any intersection or crosswalk. When you approach an unmarked intersection, slow down and be prepared to stop in case the need arises. The vehicle that enters the intersection ahead of you has the right of way and you should be prepared to yield to that vehicle or any other vehicle that is already crossing the intersection. When two vehicles arrive on an unmarked intersection at the same time, yield to the vehicle that arrived first or the vehicle on your right.
Safe Driving TipsOur St. Louis car accident attorney offers some safe driving tips to avoid car accidents in an unmarked intersection.
- Anticipate the actions of the other driver and be prepared to yield when the situation arises.
- In case of conflict for right of way, making eye contact with the other driver may help.
- To avoid an accident, be willing to yield to a driver who fails to yield the right of way when legally required.