Home > Responsibility > Who is Responsible for a Traffic Accident

Who is Responsible for a Traffic Accident

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 5 Feb 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Accident Insurance Injury Injuries

When you're involved in a road traffic accident it's likely that you will initially be suffering from shock, whether or not you are physically injured. To add to that you've got to worry about your car insurance, who is admitting liability, and what the law demands you do in the aftermath of a collision.

Straight After a Collision

Regardless of your initial thoughts on who is to blame, don't get out of your car and start shouting and yelling at the other driver(s). Whatever the situation, it's not going to help if you lose it and all that people can remember at the scene is you going mad - it won't cast the kindest light on your situation if you end up having to go to court.

Admitting Fault

First things first, don't admit that you are to blame for the collision. Insurance companies take a dim view of people who admit liability, and even if you feel that it is your fault you shouldn't offer to take the blame at the scene. Remember that it's up to investigators to figure out what happened and who to point the finger at. You can provide the insurance company with a full statement later on and let them take the appropriate course of action.

A driver is not legally obliged to admit that they are at fault at the scene of an accident, so don't be bullied into doing so or try to force anyone else to admit liability. Of course if you do say that you were to blame and apologise for the crash, then if anyone hears you, they might be asked to stand up in court and say that you admitted liability at the scene. Remember that if you're in shock it can do funny things to you and you might say something that you don't mean, so avoid taking responsibility for anything.

Why Shouldn't I Admit Fault if I Think I am to Blame?

If the other driver is pushing you to admit fault remember that if you admit liability when you aren't to blame then you run the risk of losing any compensation you might have got from injuries sustained in the accident, and depending on the level of car insurance you have, you may end up without a car or a settlement payment.

The Other Driver Hit Me. How Can I Prove This?

Straight after the accident, look around and see if there are any bystanders. Unfortunately lots of people don't want to get involved as witnesses anymore, but you might strike lucky and find someone who saw the whole thing and who is willing to give you their contact details so that you can get in touch with them later on. If you can, it's a good idea to ask for a business card or to ask them to write out their details for you, you will probably be running on adrenalin after the accident and might get things wrong.

It's always a good idea to carry a disposable camera in your glovebox or somewhere in the car just in case you are involved in an accident. It doesn't take up much space and investigators can look at your photographs when you put in your insurance claim and may be able to tell from the position of the cars in the photograph who is most likely to be at fault.

If you suspect the other driver was on their mobile telephone or was distracted in some way, make a note of the reasons why you think this. When the insurance company are looking into it they may make the choice to contact the mobile service provider and find out if the other driver was on the phone. If you think any witnesses saw the other driver doing something that caused the crash, make sure you speak to them and get their details first.

Leave it to The Experts

Insurance companies have dedicated investigators who will look at all the evidence and make a decision based on what they can see and what they find out from their enquiries. The best thing you can do is get as much information and evidence on the accident as possible and forward it onto your insurers - it's their responsibility to decide who was at fault.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi was wanting abit of advise, I was on a dual carriageway travelling the speed limit in the left hand lane, I checked my right hand mirror and a car was roughly 2-3 car lengths behind me, so I signalled right then started to move into the right hand lane, normally I would agree it was my fault, however I was travelling the speed limit with them going over the limit, is this still considered my fault with insurers?
Luap - 5-Feb-16 @ 2:49 PM
Was traveling over a cross junction where there was two car sitting in a yellow cross hatched are after I have just enters the junction the first driver turn in front of me and then the second as well I collided with the second on the front right side of my car now they have a witness and stating I went trough a red which I had not. Who's should win if going court
Raj1994 - 4-Feb-16 @ 2:01 PM
I was in the middle lane coming off a roundabout. I looked in my left hand mirror and saw that the left hand lane was clear. I signalled and started to pull over to the left. As I did so a car came off of the roundabout very fast and straight into the left hand lane. We collided and slid alongside each other, both stopping immediately.
bobby - 3-Feb-16 @ 10:03 AM
aidene1993 - Your Question:
I was behind someone at a t junction that led onto a main road and they went to go pulled half way out and l looked both ways and went to go aswell but they had stopped and I went into the back of them whos at fault for this??

Our Response:
We can't comment on individual cases, but from the way you've described this incident, many would say this is would be your fault.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 28-Jan-16 @ 10:19 AM
I was behind someone at a t junction that led onto a main road and they went to go pulled half way out and l looked both ways and went to go aswell but they had stopped and I went into the back of them whos at fault for this??
aidene1993 - 26-Jan-16 @ 6:09 PM
I was looking out my front window to discover a van reversing on to my drive to turn around. As he edged back he had bumped into the rear quarter panel of my car. I run out to tell him to stop but he intended on getting a quick get away but catching my bumper whilst doing so and causing alot of damage. Lukily there was a independent witness across the road which seen heard and seen exactly what happened. He also got the registration number and i got cctv footage of the van entering the street and leaving at the time of the accident. I notified the police but they didnt do anything and said its not leaving the scene of an accident because i wasnt in the car at the time . Although the owner of the van new exactly what he had done and didnt want to give me his details. The insurance have been notified and i found out the vehicle is a lease van. What will be the outcome if he dont admit liability ? What do you recommend i do next ?
Ng1 - 24-Jan-16 @ 10:31 PM
I was driving in the outside lane of a dual carriage way and notice a car at an upcoming junction from the left. As I aproched the drive at the junction pulled out and drove straight over the near side lane into my lane causing me to break,skid and swerve into the near side lane at which point I caught the front o/s corner of my car on there rear n/s corner , as I drove past him telling him to pull over I turned down the nearest side road and they drove straight past. In all the commotion I didn't get his reg number I notified the police but couldn't give any details of the other car. No cameras or witnesses what can I do next or what if they got my details and try to blame me ??
Keela365 - 10-Jan-16 @ 5:44 PM
I was in a car park not doing 10 miles a hour at night in rain I was on the main road and a car came out of the junction and I braked and went in to her wing . She said as her wheel was over the white line she had right of way I received no damage to my car but she says its my fault I don't want to loose my no claims bonus though who is right
Sharon71 - 10-Jan-16 @ 1:27 PM
I was driving along a dual carriageway o was only doing 60. A lady pulled out with out looking and I ended up going into the back of her. I was badly hurt. Who is at fault.?
kaine - 30-Dec-15 @ 5:02 AM
Hi, Im 18 and I just had my first crash (luckily no-one was hurt). I'm still in shock and had no idea what to do, but the lady was insisting that it was my fault and I didn't know what to do. Luckily a lady (who never saw the crash) but said to me not to listen to anything she said and let the insurance deal with it. I was driving down the main road (at the legal speed limit, which my black box could show) and this lady sprung out from the junction (I didn't give any indication of myself giving way nor did I see her) and she swung round. I tried to break and ended crashing. I have pitures to prove that I hit her on the side, but Ive been told that because I'm a new driver (been driving for less than 3 months), I am most likely to be at fault. Any advice?
Bubbles - 26-Nov-15 @ 7:14 PM
Dd - Your Question:
I was driving down my one car width lane and came to the second blind bend when a post van appeared, I tried to swerve but it was too late. We collided. Both front drivers side of bonnet were smashed to bits. The other driver had a long straight bit before meeting me at the bend, I had two bends to get through before the straight part. Logically he would have been going faster as he had no bends to take into account when driving up my long lane. I was in second gear and not doing major speed.who would be at fault?

Our Response:
Sorry but we really can give opinions as to who might be at follow in situations like this where we don't have all the information.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 16-Nov-15 @ 10:07 AM
I was driving down my one car width lane and came to the second blind bend when a post van appeared, I tried to swerve but it was too late. We collided. Both front drivers side of bonnet were smashed to bits. The other driver had a long straight bit before meeting me at the bend, I had two bends to get through before the straight part. Logically he would have been going faster as he had no bends to take into account when driving up my long lane. I was in second gear and not doing major speed.who would be at fault?
Dd - 13-Nov-15 @ 12:25 AM
I was driving very slowly on the inside on a two lane road the lane two the right stopped as the car at the front wanted to turn right . at that point 3 of the cars in the lane to the right indicated to come into the lane I was in and the one car hit my offside rear panel who is to blame
robm - 6-Nov-15 @ 9:08 PM
mrsA - Your Question:
I was a passenger in my dad's car, we were approaching an island which we were turning left at, my dad indicated, turned left and carried on for a couple hundred feet not realising the indicator was still on and someone pulled out from a side road on front of him and my dad went into the side of the other driver. We are wondering who was to blame here as the other driver wants to Bill my dad for the damage caused even though my dad's car came off worse!

Our Response:
The respective insurance companies would help with a decision on this. Whenyou are learning to drive, you are taught never to assume that because someone is indicating, they are about to turn - which suggests the other driver would be more to blame.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 5-Nov-15 @ 10:24 AM
I was a passenger in my dad's car, we were approaching an island which we were turning left at, my dad indicated, turned left and carried on for a couple hundred feet not realising the indicator was still on and someone pulled out from a side road on front of him and my dad went into the side of the other driver. We are wondering who was to blame here as the other driver wants to Bill my dad for the damage caused even though my dad's car came off worse!
mrsA - 4-Nov-15 @ 12:27 PM
Hi, I was driving on a clearway (no stopping) dual carriageway behind a vehicle at a safe distance when the car in front all of a sudden came to a stop. Subsequently my car hot the car in front. There was no traffic or cars or any hazard whatsoever in front of the car which I had hit. The driver of the car got out and straight away apologised and admitted fault to me. However later her friend came and said that it's my fault as I was behind her. The lady driving the car admitted that she breaker and stalled the car. Where do I stand as this was not my fault and the car which stopped in a no stopping dual carriageway for no reason is to blame Thanks
Adam - 31-Oct-15 @ 11:23 PM
I was recently in slow movingtraffic on a dual carriage way..it was crawling along fora considerable period sure to an incident ahead ,I was in my motor with my two children,as we were stationary (my motor secure with hand brake on as we were on an upward hill) waiting for the traffic to move on...the car in front started to roll back.. I beeped my horn 3 times frantically to try and alert the third party's attention. But clearly he was distracted as he kept rolling back .. His vehicle only stopped once he smashed into the front of my vehicle.I got out the vehicle and noticed there was a crack in my bumper and a paint mark and scuff. I asked the guy for his details he said he didn't know details of his insurer but gave me a card with his details...he asked for none of mine. I also took details of his car and took a pic of the damage. I said I'd contact him at the other end of journey due to the congestion we were already in. With no joy in obtaining contact with him I contacted my insurance company whom subsequently managed to contact him only for him to say I drove into the back of him!!.. This is a complete lie, my insurance company have now said it's my word against his and because the only available witnesses were my children and they cannot be used as they ate minors so no claim would be processed. I argued this as I felt they were not even prepared to even investigatie, to at least see if there was any cctv footage via traffic control being that I was on a busy A road in substantial traffic due to another road incident on that road ahead.My insurance company said because I haven't added and legal cover expenses to my comprehensive cover they were unable to assist me in claiming for the damage the third party created.. They advised me to call the police myself to see if there was any cctv footage of the incident.. Obviously the police have advised this is an enquiry only my insurance company or legal representive and ask for and obtain. I am completely outraged by the guy and his dishonesty and the lack of help my insurance company has offered, do I have any rights regarding this matter? Many thanks
Sunshine - 30-Oct-15 @ 11:09 PM
Ive been reversing into a space (mid menoever) and someone had drove past me at a high speed clipping there back end on mine.I know they were goin far too fast and I was reversing slow there is more damage to her car than mine. I'm worried because I was reversing I'm technically liable for someone else speeding around a carpark not paying attention. I could never have stopped,moved out of the way or seen the driver with the speed they were goin irrigardless of the fact that I was reversing slowly. Just doesn't seem right that I'm the careful driver who could be at fault!
Sarah - 17-Oct-15 @ 12:30 PM
Sal - Your Question:
I had a car accident which was not my fault but the third party is not accepting liability and putting the blame on me. After the accident I found out that I was comprehensively insured but the car I was driving was not insured.I have now received the letter from third party’s claim centre.Can someone please advise me how I can save myself here and what can be the consequences? If I fight the case through RTA solicitors, would I be considered guilty because of not having insurance or in the end judge will see that whose mistake was it?Also, at what stage the matter will go to MIB and how can I stop it?Would really appreciate if someone can advise the way out from this problem.Quick Reply Thanks 0 Edit PostQuoteMulti-quote

Our Response:
There are really too many conflicting points here, we suggest you seek professional legal advice.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 9-Oct-15 @ 10:40 AM
I had a car accident which was not my fault but the third party is not accepting liability and putting the blame on me. After the accident I found out that I was comprehensively insured but the car I was driving was not insured. I have now received the letter from third party’s claim centre. Can someone please advise me how I can save myself here and what can be the consequences? If I fight the case through RTA solicitors, would I be considered guilty because of not having insurance or in the end judge will see that whose mistake was it? Also, at what stage the matter will go to MIB and how can I stop it? Would really appreciate if someone can advise the way out from this problem. Quick Reply Thanks 0 Edit PostQuoteMulti-quote
Sal - 8-Oct-15 @ 3:05 PM
Stewart - Your Question:
Hi -A caravan pulled out from left to right lane hitting my car that was parralel to it. Estimate about £4000 worth of damage. Driver and his wife very apologetic statining all his fault etc. Later is now denying it all and stating I hit his caravan. Would the markings on my car and their paint on my car if examined by a car crash expert normally show they hit me. No one has looked at my car and it is 1 week after the collision. No witnesses so al I seem to hear it will be a fifty fifty claim. Please help with advice please.Regards Stewart

Our Response:
We can't give advice on who's at fault on this website unfortunately. Your insurance company should inspect the damage if it's going to cost over £4000 to repair - they may be able to establish fault from that but will more likely listen to both parties' viewpoints.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 1-Oct-15 @ 10:37 AM
Shaneyboi - Your Question:
Hi, I was driving out to a t-junction early hours when from my right there was a lady driving toward me indicating to go left into the road I was coming out of, so I looked left and by the time I went to approach to turn right she came right in front of me as to go straight then I had hit her passenger side of her car, myself and my brother witnessed that she did have her indicator to turn left which due to where she was driving from there is a mini island and she had thought that her indicator would of knocked off as she proceeded across the roundabout, have I got a good case? She didn't even emergency braked or anything just drove in my path as I then realised to brake then hit her side. Thanks

Our Response:
It's not our place to decide who's at fault in individual cases unfortunately. This site is for advice on what do if you have an accident. You may however, remember from your driving lessons that drivers are always taught never to "assume"that because someone is indicating that they are actually going to turn.Pursue this via your insurance company.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 30-Sep-15 @ 11:29 AM
Hi, I was driving out to a t-junction early hours when from my right there was a lady driving toward me indicating to go left into the road I was coming out of, so I looked left and by the time I went to approach to turn right she came right in front of me as to go straight then I had hit her passenger side of her car, myself and my brother witnessed that she did have her indicator to turn left which due to where she was driving from there is a mini island and she had thought that her indicator would of knocked off as she proceeded across the roundabout, have I got a good case? She didn't even emergency braked or anything just drove in my path as I then realised to brake then hit her side. Thanks
Shaneyboi - 29-Sep-15 @ 12:29 PM
Hi - A caravan pulled out from left to right lane hitting my car that was parralel to it. Estimate about £4000 worth of damage. Driver and his wife very apologetic statining all his fault etc. Later is now denying it all and stating I hit his caravan. Would the markings on my car and their paint on my car if examined by a car crash expert normally show they hit me. No one has looked at my car and it is 1 week after the collision. No witnesses so al I seem to hear it will be a fifty fifty claim. Please help with advice please. Regards Stewart
Stewart - 27-Sep-15 @ 7:04 AM
I was driving behind a lorry (a small tip with a load on) on a straight 2 line (1 in each direction) road. The lorry then turned right, quickly turned around on the other side of the road with oncoming traffic and crossed my way heading towards the drive on the left side of the road. I managed to break but hit a car parked on the left side of the road and the lorry hit my car on drivers side essentially leaving me 'sandwiched' between the two. Who is at fault? Is turning around on the road an acceptable maneuver? There was a witness who saw the accident from his car who said that I had no chance to avoid this accident and the lorry was at fault.
AA - 26-Sep-15 @ 10:42 PM
None - Your Question:
My daughter was driving my car. Shecw as at a stop sign. She heard a bump on the back of my truck. She moved up but could not see what w as behind her. She got out of my truck and a small car hit the back of my truck. My insurance wouldn't investigate cause she was not on my policy. The guy that hit my truck tried ti get me to pay him a few thousands dollars. I would not pay. He finally contacted his insurance and told them she backed into him at the stop sign. He lied. My insurance told me that if she was on the policy they still would not have paid cause he could not prove she was at fault. So his insurace company tried to make me pay $500 when I refused they turned mw over to a collection agency trying to collect $800 from me and mt daughter or the say they contacting the dmv to take both our license. Is this legal in CA. I tried to contact lawyers but they only take criminal cases. Am I at fault cause she wasn't on the policy. Thats what they are saying. Somebody help me please

Our Response:
We are UK based and can only really advise on UK law sorry. Here if she had been on the policy and both parties had a different story, the insurance companies would accepta 50/50 liability. However, driving without insurance is a serious offence in the UK, so the police would also have taken action.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 24-Sep-15 @ 9:44 AM
I was in a collision last year, I was driving down a main road and a car pulled out in front of me from my left, they have been arguing liability as the driver who pulled out in front of me is saying I was indicating! Which I wasn't, the police who attending said he was at fault, but my insurance is trying to get me to accept 66%-33% in my favour saying if/when it goes to court it will probably go 50/50 as its my word against his! Can you help advise me on this please and whose more than likely to be at fault?
Mumma bear - 22-Sep-15 @ 12:07 PM
don't understand - Your Question:
I was turning into gas station left hand turn at the same time a large bus pulled out going right I give it gas to get out of his way. A little pickup traveling West bus going east, little pickup hits rear end of bus. I got no ticket just questioned me not in wreck. Now they are saying I caused the wreck. If I wouldn't have given it gas bus would have hit me or I would have been in wreck. Now I have supina for disposition. Why big bus little truck, 4 people 3 seatbelts, they couldn't see bus hit in rear end of bus. What do I do just little advice a new one on me.

Our Response:
This sounds as though it did not occur in the UK so unfortunately we are not able to give any advice. Hopefully another reader can help.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 22-Sep-15 @ 10:31 AM
My daughter was driving my car.Shecw as at a stop sign.She heard a bump on the back of my truck.She moved up but could not see what w as behind her.She got out of my truck and a small car hit the back of my truck.My insurance wouldn't investigate cause she was not on my policy.The guy that hit my truck tried ti get me to pay him a few thousands dollars.I would not pay.He finally contacted his insurance and told them she backed into him at the stop sign.He lied.My insurance told me that if she was on the policy they still would not have paid cause he could not prove she was at fault.So his insurace company tried to make me pay $500 when I refused they turned mw over to a collection agency trying to collect $800 from me and mt daughter or the say they contacting the dmv to take both our license.Is this legal in CA.I tried to contact lawyers but they only take criminal cases.Am i at fault cause she wasn't on the policy.Thats what they are saying.Somebody help me please
None - 22-Sep-15 @ 5:26 AM
I was turning into gas station left hand turn at the same time a large bus pulled out going right I give it gas to get out of his way. A little pickup traveling West bus going east, little pickup hits rear end of bus. I got no ticket just questioned me not in wreck. Now they are saying I caused the wreck.If I wouldn't have given it gas bus would have hit me or I would have been in wreck. Now I have supina for disposition. Why big bus little truck, 4 people 3 seatbelts, they couldn't see bus hit in rear end of bus. What do I do just little advice a new one on me.
don't understand - 19-Sep-15 @ 5:17 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TrafficAccidentAdvice website. Please read our Disclaimer.