How is Fault Determined for a Blind Spot Crash?
Getting behind the wheel of any vehicle carries inherent risks. This is not surprising since driving involves heavy pieces of machinery traveling the same roads, often at high speed. Blind spots are just one of the ever-present hazards. Many drivers may take care to use their mirrors before turning or changing lanes. However, despite their best efforts, if a vehicle gets into their blind spot, a collision could happen.
In fact, blind spot crashes happen more often than you may know. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported there are about 840,000 blind spot crashes in the U.S. every year. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce your risk of being involved in one.
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What is a Blind Spot Accident?
A blind spot is an area around your vehicle that you, as the driver, cannot see – even if you check your mirrors. In addition to being aware of your blind spots, it is important to know where the blind spots are for other vehicles, especially trucks, and avoid them.
Blind spots on a truck are directly in the front and directly in the back of the vehicle, as well as down either side – but especially on the right. As a rule of thumb, if you are passing a truck and cannot see the driver’s reflection in his or her side-view mirror, then he or she cannot see you.
Determining Fault for a Blind Spot Crash
Most often, the at-fault party will be the driver who had a blind spot or who did not have the right of way. An example of this is when a vehicle changes lanes and hits another vehicle. The driver changing lanes did not have the right of way and so he or she will likely be liable for the crash. For other blind spot crashes, liability may be harder to determine.
For instance, if two vehicles are merging into the same lane at the same time. In this scenario, it can be hard to determine who had the right of way and both drivers may be assessed with some fault.
Sometimes a crash may require further investigation to help provide more insight into what happened. Additional evidence that may be reviewed could include:
- Photos taken of the crash scene while evidence was fresh
- Damage to all involved vehicles
- Any available camera footage or photos
- Statements from all involved drivers
- Eyewitnesses statements about the crash
- Police report from the crash
Common Causes of Blind Spot Crashes
Blind spot crashes can happen in a number of places on the road, especially when around trucks. Most commonly, however, a blind spot crash may happen when:
- Changing lanes: Unsafe lane changes become even riskier if the driver changing lanes fails to see other vehicles in the destination lane that may be traveling in his or her blind spot.
- Merging into another lane: When merging into another lane, be aware that the driver of the lane you are merging into has the right of way. If you hit that vehicle, you will likely be held liable for the crash.
- Backing up: Many newer vehicles today have back-up cameras to help them see other vehicles, pedestrians and other obstacles in their way. That said, looking around outside the vehicle – especially when in a parking lot – is still a good idea. No driver safety feature catches everything just yet.
- Bicyclists or pedestrians are on the road: Because of their small size when compared to a vehicle, it is easy to miss cyclists or pedestrians in your blind spot. For this reason, drivers are required to take extra care to check for any people, vehicles or obstacles.
How You Can Help Avoid a Blind Spot Crash
There are a lot of car safety devices you can get on newer cars to help alert you when a vehicle or other obstacle is in your blind spot. However, it is important not to rely too heavily on technology, as it can lead you to let your guard down or become distracted while driving.
Along with your car safety features, there are additional ways you can – and should – use to avoid a blind spot crash, including:
- Keep car mirrors clutter-free: Do not block your car windows with anything, including unused headrests.
- Adjust the rear-view mirror: Your rear-view mirror should frame your back window.
- Install blind spot mirrors: These mirrors attach to your existing side-view mirrors.
- Upgrade side-view mirrors: Alternatively, you can replace your side-view mirrors with convex mirrors for increased visibility.
- Do the over-the-shoulder check: Look over your shoulder to check your blind spot prior to changing lanes or backing up.
- Be alert for others’ blind spots: Stay out of other drivers’ blind spots, especially with regard to SUVs and large trucks.
Injured in a Blind Spot Crash? PKSD is Ready to Help
If you were injured in a blind spot crash, it is important to seek legal help without delay. PKSD is a law firm you can trust. We have extensive experience and a long and successful track record.
Our traffic accident attorneys in Milwaukee are dedicated to helping injured victims. If we determine that you have a case and we represent you, there is nothing to pay upfront or throughout the legal process. You do not pay us unless we recover compensation for you.
Speak to a Lawyer Today. 877-877-2228