If I got T-boned and know it is the other driver’s fault, how do I prove that?

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If I got T-boned and know it is the other driver’s fault, how do I prove that?

I had to cross a busy intersection in a residential area. I stopped at a stop sign and waited for other cars to pass. When I made sure there was absolutely no one, I started to cross the intersection. After I was almost 90 of the way through, I got T- boned with so much impact that my entire car spinned 180 degrees. The other driver claimed that it is my fault because I had the stop sign and he didn’t so he just kept going. However, I know for sure that there was absolutely no one on that street. I think he was parallel parked on the street and turned his car on after I entered the intersection. I know he was also speeding because my car was hit with so much impact, the repair shop thinks it might be a total loss. And my car was hit in the space between the gas tank and the rear lights all the way in the back which proves that I was almost through the intersection. I understand stop signs tend to have a right of way but if I follow all the rules and do everything I am supposed to, is it still my fault on a technicality? I told my insurance that if I had not stopped at the stop sign or not yielded for incoming cars, I would have T-boned him or he would have T-boned me at the front, not so much at the rear. I called the cops and they filed a report. I was crying a lot when it happened and they told me it seemed like it was his fault. But I don’t know what the report says. Is there anything I can do to prove my case because I know that the other guy was definitely not anywhere on that street when I started crossing the intersection.

Asked on January 26, 2017 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The driver without a stop sign has the right of way, so if you had the stop sign and he didn't, he is allowed to proceed and you are not; therefore, the law will presume that you, not him, was at fault. It is possible to overcome this presumption by facts that show that in this case, it was the other driver's fault, but while your testimony as to the facts (what you did, what you saw, how fast you were going, etc.) is necessary, it's not almost certainly not enough by itself to prove that he, not you, was at fault. That is because unless you are an accident reconstruction specialist or the like, your opinion as to how fast he was going, or as to where he came from or what the way the accident unfolded shows, is irrelevant; you do not have the technical training, education, or experience to testify about the nature and causes of an accident. So to prove that it was his fault, despite you having the stop sign, you'd need a relevant expert (e.g. an accident specialist) to examine all the evidence and render an expert opinion (and testify about it in court, if necessary) that under these circumstances, it was no your fault. Such a specialist could charge thousands of dollars for his service, and you'd still not be guaranteed to win (no court outcome is every guaranteed). You may wish to consider whether fighting this is actually worthwhile.


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