Who's at fault - Traffic Accident Scenario

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  #1  
Old 01-29-14, 12:05 PM
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Who's at fault - Traffic Accident Scenario

Something a little different. Would like to read your opinions.

Driver A' slips on some black ice and slides into an uncoming lane. Driver B' is in that lane and has to swerve to avoid a collision. In doing so Driver B' goes off the road and runs over a roadside sign and damages his vehicle. The two vehicles never make contact. No injuries at scene.

Police arrive on scene and dismiss Driver A' and allows them to leave scene without obtaining his insurance information, issuing any sort of citation or giving them a police report/accident number. This seems to suggest this is a one person accident.

Obviously this wouldn't have happened if Driver A' didn't hit the slick, but according to insurance companies, the law and your own opinion.... is Driver A' liable?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-29-14, 12:19 PM
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JMO...but ice like that can be invisible and therefore unavoidable. Unless A was driving crazy...no liability in my opinion. Not sure of the laws in your state...but often if there was no contact and no proof of impairment or reckless operation...it's a no fault situation.

If A had no damage...then he wouldn't need any report. It can always be obtained later if needed. Same for insurance info.
 
  #3  
Old 01-29-14, 12:43 PM
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sorry to say but i agree with gunguy,laws and insurance companies are screwy,it's like if you swerve to avoid a deer and hit a tree your insurance will go up,if you hit the deer insurance doesn't go up.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 01:06 PM
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Driver A should have got a ticket for failure to maintain lane.. Careless driving too. Driver A caused the accident...

I would of told the cop I want a ticket written if I was driver B

The law is you must maintain control of your vehicle at all times AFAIK.. He probably should have been driving slower for conditions... Its been that way forever....

Everyone knows what temp and weather conditions denote black ice IMO....
 
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Old 01-29-14, 02:25 PM
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While I agree with Mike, it's highly unlikely that a cop will write a ticket for a violation he didn't see. Driver B is stuck with responsibility for the damage to his vehicle .... maybe the sign too.
 
  #6  
Old 01-29-14, 02:34 PM
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That is not what careless driving is. I would have a hard time believing that Diver A's insurance would not cover Driver's B damage if they collided. The cop dropped the ball by not getting the information for from driver A and including it on Driver B's accident report. Did this actually happen? I would find it hard to believe that even though the cop didn't get driver a info, that driver A would not be mentioned in Driver B accident report.

Driver B should have gotten Driver A's information. Never rely on the cops. They are super lazy when it comes to auto accident reports when there are no injuries. They often try to talk their way out of making it.
 
  #7  
Old 01-29-14, 02:40 PM
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I agree with lawrosa. One must maitaain control of his vehicle at all times. Roadconditions dictate how fast one must travel. Just like a bridge. "road freezes before surface".
 
  #8  
Old 01-29-14, 03:00 PM
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Im not sure how to ask this but is the police report the official record of the incident as far as future litigation or claims with an insurance company is concerned? Is Driver A safe to assume that no further action will result from this on his end? Does driver B have any recourse at this stage?

And FYI, this isn't a hypothetical scenario..... also the police did take note of drivers A name but did not make any implications toward them. It is also unclear at this point if Driver A will be named on the police report.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 03:04 PM
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You have to get it added to the police report... If it dont implicate driver A then you need to file a complaint and go to court..

Otherwise driver B will get a insurance surcharge I am sure...

Although the insurance will pay for damages if collision is optioned...
 
  #10  
Old 01-29-14, 03:33 PM
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We just went through the last 4 days of black ice early in the day. - Usually just before intersections where the exhaust freezes to the pavement.

As far as the first driver, he was probably going to fast, but was lucky. The "official" line on driving on black ice is to just steer the front slowly into the desired direction except let off on the gas and do not brake or swerve fast until you count to 3. - Nothing to do if you are moving(or driving) too fast for the conditions. If you don't hit anyone or damage anything and Driver A should just give thanks to "Lady Luck" and be more careful.

Driver B may have also been driving too fast for the conditions, but was unlucky enough to cause damage to his car and the insurance claim will be on his record.

If the police do not see the actual problem all they can do is look at the situation, talk to the drivers and make a report. On black ice, there are no skid marks usually.

For deer, never swerve or make rapid changes because they have great reflexes and can get out of the way. For 5 years I drive on roads in MI with heavy deer populations. - One night I saw over 30 deer in 15 miles on the road and shoulder any many more standing in the ditches and right of way. All you can do is slow down and keep going. Nothing you can do when the come flying out of dark and across the road. I had 3 come out of no where and felt a bump (a little hair on the bumper) and then found my antenna bent when what I thought was a shadow fly in front of the car a 1/2 second later. - they know when to jump, so don't confuse them by swerving.

It is just driving at the right speed for the conditions.
 
  #11  
Old 01-29-14, 05:51 PM
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And it all depends on the "standard" your local police/sheriff/highway patrol uses. Around here...single vehicle accidents rarely result in tickets. And again..IMO...that's what this was since there was no contact. If a deer jumps out and you swerve and hit a sign...is the deer at fault? Not that you should swerve as was said...but it's a pretty common reaction.

There are any number of reasons why someone can lose control, even when driving the appropriate speed for the condition. Ice at the bottom shaded area of a hill where you have to accelerate to maintain speed? RWD...zip...there goes the rear end to one side. Someone legally backing out of a blind area right in front of someone (just go to Wally World to see that daily)?

I'm sure they have the info of the driver and vehicle, may have even verified insurance, but insurance info isn't going to be written in a report.


Anyone want to guess the recommended course of action in a dust storm? Not to go off topic...
 
  #12  
Old 01-30-14, 02:34 AM
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I am not sure why "black ice" dangers often seem to be a surprise to any driver.
The conditions for it to occur are pretty obvious and driving too fast for conditions might describe anyone that looses control of their vehicle.

I stumbled on an offshore dash camera for a ridiculously low price and will try it once it arrives and see if I can protect myself against someone elses' bad driving.
Something like this may have helped you.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 03:35 AM
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not sure why "black ice" dangers often seem to be a surprise to any driver
I agree! You should be smart enough to know if the conditions are right. Saturday we were supposed to go to a funeral and when we took the 1st turn along the river, here come a SUV sideways down the middle of the road. I swerved not to avoid the collision but to lessen the impact. Only by the grace of God did we miss being hit. Both me and the car directly ahead of me were traveling 20-25 mph. I suspect the out of control SUV was going in the neighborhood of 50 mph.
It doesn't matter what the speed limit is - you have to adjust your speed to the road conditions!!
 
  #14  
Old 01-30-14, 04:04 AM
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I would be one of those drivers who tries to drive to road conditions that would be cursed at for "driving like an old.....", "must be a local farmer going to town", "must be drunk", "look honey, I bet they are over 80 years old", "look at that guy, I bet he's............


Here there is a substantial incentive here to keeping a reasonably clean driving record.
So far I get an $850.00 yearly discount for being accident free in the last several years.
That is being fairly well paid for taking an extra few min to get somewhere.
 
  #15  
Old 01-30-14, 04:44 AM
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Sent the scenario to my little brother, the Sarge, to see how this works here (had to substitute wet road for icy road).
 
  #16  
Old 01-30-14, 05:51 AM
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Drive B did give the officer his drivers license information but was told to leave before the officer cleared the scene or began collecting the information from Driver A.

If Driver B was not given an accident report number or otherwise informed or instructed on how to obtain an accident report, is it safe to assume that he is NOT identified in the accident report?
 
  #17  
Old 01-30-14, 06:15 AM
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Hang on...re-read your first post and your last. Do you mean A or B was not given anything?
 
  #18  
Old 01-30-14, 06:21 AM
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Good catch, I meant Driver A.....

Drive A did give the officer his drivers license information but was told to leave before the officer cleared the scene or began collecting the information from Driver B.

If Driver A was not given an accident report number or otherwise informed or instructed on how to obtain an accident report, is it safe to assume that he is NOT identified in the accident report?
 
  #19  
Old 01-30-14, 06:32 AM
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No....it likely just means since he had no damage (that you mentioned) and wasn't ticketed...there would be no need for him to have it...not that he wasn't identified. If driver B needs driver A info and it's not in the report, it will be in the officers notes....they keep VERY good notes, in most cases anyway.

So zmike....are you driver A or B?
 
  #20  
Old 01-30-14, 08:18 AM
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Thank you for your thoughtful responses.
 

Last edited by zmike; 01-30-14 at 10:43 AM.
  #21  
Old 01-30-14, 08:24 AM
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You'll find out when you insurance company calls...or if it doesn't. Many times no fault is assigned when weather conditions are bad.

I was once cut off by a guy who was running in the breakdown lane trying to get further up in the traffic. My bumper messed up the whole side of his truck. Week later I got a call from my agent saying his company had filed a claim against me...but since no ticket was written...there was no fault. It's just what they do.
 
  #22  
Old 01-30-14, 08:25 AM
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I think ethically, driver A (you) should be liable, if the reason you slid was because you were driving too fast for conditions. However, unless the cop or a witness saw it, it would fall under the "No fault" law. So legally I'd say you got away with it.
I suppose driver B could take you to court if he got your info. If he won, he'd probably just get his deductible tho.
 
  #23  
Old 01-30-14, 09:11 AM
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It appears Driver A was named as a witness in the accident report. Not sure what to make of that.

However, that means Driver A's address is also on the report for Driver B to view. Would Driver A's Social Security number also appear on an accident report in this case?
 

Last edited by zmike; 01-30-14 at 10:42 AM.
  #24  
Old 01-30-14, 09:18 AM
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I doubt they include a SS # on an accident report since the reports are available to the general public.

You can call the jurisdiction that responded [sheriff, city or HWP] and find out when/where to get a copy of the accident report if you want. They normally charge a small fee.
 
  #25  
Old 01-30-14, 09:18 AM
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That would be up to your state. Most have not used SSN as drivers license numbers for quite a while. Get a copy of the report to find out for sure.
 
  #26  
Old 01-30-14, 10:29 AM
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Driver A has viewed the report, and no SSN is on it. But Driver A's address is on there and now has a pissed off individual knowing where he resides.

And it looks like Driver A will hear the insurance co. come a calling since he was listed as the other participant, not a witness as first thought.

Report denotes road conditions as ICE as the cause. So now its a question if Driver B will be having to pay his deductible or if Driver A once spotless driving record and insurance premiums will change.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 10:32 AM
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My understanding is if you swerve to avoid a collision and no contact is made with the vehicle you are trying to avoid, any accident you are then in is your fault.

In other words, the law is such that you sometimes need to consider letting that car hit you instead of swerving away.

Ethics, intuition and opinion may certainly vary and many will disagree but this is my understanding of the statutes in general.
 
  #28  
Old 01-30-14, 12:41 PM
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Some insurance companies have a first accident forgiveness clause so that might be something to check into.
 
  #29  
Old 01-30-14, 01:15 PM
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If Driver B escalates this into a claim, how long do you think it will take for Driver A to find out? Days? Weeks?
 
  #30  
Old 01-30-14, 01:56 PM
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Shortly after your insurance company receives the claim they'll contact you to hear your side of the story.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 02:36 PM
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Basically, Norm 201 nailed it. Driver B was driving too fast to maintain control.
Under black ice conditions, too fast might be 5 MPH, but it is the drivers responsibility to adjust to changing road conditions.
 
  #32  
Old 01-30-14, 04:06 PM
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If a deer jumps out and you swerve and hit a sign...is the deer at fault?
If You are on a freeway and someone starts to come into your lane where you car is and you swerve off the road to avoid collision, are you at fault for that accident or the person that came into that lane?

Black ice conditions are anytime it is close to freezing outside. It doesn't have to be raining or snowing for it to happen. Water can come from anywhere and freeze onto the roadway. The expectation that we should all drive at 5 mph when it is 32 or below is absurd.
 
  #33  
Old 01-31-14, 10:52 AM
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If You are on a freeway and someone starts to come into your lane where you car is and you swerve off the road to avoid collision, are you at fault for that accident or the person that came into that lane?
My understanding of the law is you would be at fault if you hit something when you swerved. The driver who was in your lane would be at fault if they hit you.

In other words, saying that you were trying to avoid another collision is not a defense, the liability/fault lies with you in those situations.
 
  #34  
Old 01-31-14, 04:52 PM
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I don't see how someone else's careless driving that forces you off the road is somehow not liable for your damage.
 
  #35  
Old 02-01-14, 03:47 AM
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Not all the rules/regs make sense. I used to have a rental trailer that my stepson lived in. He put up a metal shed but didn't tie it down, a storm lifted it up and blew into into a neighbor's truck - I was shocked when I found out my insurance wouldn't cover it. My agent said it had to be turned into the neighbor's auto insurance. I think my stepson paid the deductible.

Had driver B maintained his lane and got hit, driver A would have been liable but since B swerved [even though it was to avoid a collision], he caused a separate accident for which he was liable
 
  #36  
Old 02-17-14, 08:59 AM
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Well I have the official answer to this scenario...

Driver A is at fault for the damages caused to Driver B in this one car accident. Failure to maintain ones vehicle. Driver A must pay for Driver B's damages to both his vehicle and the state owned roadside sign.

Black ice sucks.
 
  #37  
Old 02-17-14, 04:32 PM
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Thanks for the update. It makes sense to me for it to be that way. I take it you were driver A? Insurance should cover those losses.
 
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