Am I at fault for his car or is he at fault for mine?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I at fault for his car or is he at fault for mine?

I got into an accident driving alone a couple days ago and I only have a permit. I turned 18 less than a month ago. The driver in the other lane fell asleep and was swerving which in turn ran me off the road and resulted in me crashing into the railing. His car was fine and he kept driving. After exiting my car to assess the damage another vehicle approached and told me to get farther away from my car because the angle of my car made it hard to see at night. After about 10 minutes while we were waiting for the police to arrive another car came speeding down the road and crashed into my car making the damage 10 times worse. I have a clean record and no run-ins with the law, if that makes a difference. What should be my biggest concerns right now?

Asked on October 12, 2016 under Accident Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Fault is typically based on negligence, or unreasonable carelessness. Clearly, the first driver (the one who fell asleep) was at fault in the first accident, since it is unreasonably careless to drive when so tired as to be in danger of falling asleep. You could potentially sue him for any losses or damage you or costs you incurred due to his negligence, to the extent they are not paid by your insurance.
However, if your car was at all driveable, you may have been at fault in the second accident, by not moving it to a safe location but rather leaving it where it was evidently at least partially in the road and was difficult to see. (If the car was undriveable, even for  short distance, that would change the situation: you should not be liable for not moving a car which you could not move.) This could mean that you could be sued by the second other driver for damage to his car from hitting yours; also, your fault could affect your ability to recover under your own insurance (assuming you had applicable insurance, like collision coverage).
Nothing you wrote about appears to have been criminal on your part; your many concern may be being sued by driver 2 and/or his insurer.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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