Am I at fault

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Am I at fault

The other day I was dripping a friend off at work, on my way there a car was riding me very closely. I was going 55 mph in a 55 mph zone. The car suddenly went left to pass me without signaling. I was going the speed limit; he had to have been going 65 to 70. He then pulled back over into my lane about 5 feet from my bumper and slamsmed on his breaks. I slammed on mine and was inches away from his bumper for about 5 seconds. He never let off of his breaks until I tapped his bumper. He then sped off going at least 80 mph trying to get away. I chase him obeying the speed limit. I pulled out my phone to record him running away and to try to get a plate number. I caught up because he got slowed down by another car. I follow him for about 5 minutes until he pulled over and opened his door and yelled at me. I asked him why he passed me but he didn’t answer, called me names and said that there were deer. Then he said that he called the cops and that they were on their way. He then sped off. I got from chasing him to when he sped off the second time all on video and audio. Then he messaged me on Facebook and said that he knew I hit him on purpose and that’s why he ran. Also, he filed a police report saying that I hit him on purpose.

Asked on January 9, 2017 under Accident Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Typically, fault is proven by testimony: by the witnesses to the accident (which may be just the respective drivers) testifying as to what happened, and the authorities (e.g. the court, if there is a lawsuit) deciding who is more credible and reliable.
However, something will be working against you in this case: the law has a presumption or assumption that the rear driver in a collision like this is at fault, since ordinarily, the accident occurs because the rear driver did not maintain a safe following distance and speed and/or was not paying attention. It is possible to show that this case was an exception and the lead driver was at fault, but it may be an uphill battle due to this presumption: if credibility is even, for example, due to the presumption, it will be assumed that you were at fault.


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