How much fault do I bear if I was involved in a car accident, at night, with a driver who was speeding down a hill while I was merging with a road?

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How much fault do I bear if I was involved in a car accident, at night, with a driver who was speeding down a hill while I was merging with a road?

As I was driving to work (3:40 AM, low visability, wet road), I was involved in a car accident while I was merging into a road. At the stop sign, stopping and scanning each side of the road, I did not detect a driver at a hazardous distance from my vehicle, giving me the impression it was safe to merge. As I merged, I was impacted by a speeding vehicle emerging from behind a hill which impacted and totaled the front of my vehicle. I was told by the cop on the scene that it was a clear cut “right of way” matter, but before I attend court I want to know how much of this was actually my fault.

Asked on June 27, 2009 under Accident Law, Connecticut

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The first issue here is to determine what you are attending court for.  In other words, has the other driver initiated a civil action as a result of the accident, or, were you given a summons to attend criminal court as a result of the accident.  If the latter is the case, what exactly were you cited/charged with?  If you are accused of violating a criminal motor vehicle statute, the issue is not how much you were at fault; rather, the issue is whether the state can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you violated the particular statute.  In order to determine the likelihood of this, it is necessary to know the elements of the particular statute as well as the nature/strength of the state's evidence.  However, regardless of whether your court date arises out of civil or criminal matter, I strongly suggest that you obtain competent legal counsel prior to your scheduled court date.


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