Am I responsible for paying for indirect damages to the another person’s car if they swerved because they didn’t see me?

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Am I responsible for paying for indirect damages to the another person’s car if they swerved because they didn’t see me?

I have an interesting case, where I was not involved in an auto accident. However, as I was turning left exiting from a highway and I merging into right-most lane, I did not see the car next to me. The car, in surprise, swerved to move out of the way and hit the curve on the road. He now demands that I pay for all the damages I have indirectly caused to his car.

Asked on November 22, 2015 under Accident Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The issue is two-fold:
1) Causally, did your attempt to merge into the car next to you lead to or cause the accident--i.e. cause him to swerve and have the accident? d on what you write, this appears to have been the case.
2) Were you driving carelessly or negligently when you tried to swerve into the car next to you? Generally, the answer would be "yes," since the law holds drivers responsible for making sure the way is clear before any turns, lane changes, etc. A failure to do so would seen as negligence or carelessness.
Therefore, based on what you write, if the other driver were to sue you, there is a reasonable chance he would win and get a judgment ordering you to pay for his damage.


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