How do you determine who is responsible for an accident?

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How do you determine who is responsible for an accident?

Yesterday I got into a fender bender – minor scratches and dents on both cars. I was stopped at a left merge sign on the highway, as I didn’t see it due to a truck in front of me. I turned on my blinker for at least a minute or so to indicate my merge into pretty slow traffic. I saw a big gap between 2 cars and as I was attempting to merge slowly. The car directly behind me in the same lane tried to cut me off, as I was already in motion at a slow pace. They clipped my

driver’s side mirror/fender with their rear right tire. Who is at fault here?

Asked on April 12, 2016 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard-and-fast rule, but generally or more often than not, the rear car will be considered to be at fault, because that driver is responsible for maintaining a safe following distance and for paying attention to and reacting to what the car in front of him is doing. So usually, if hit by the car behind you, it would be that car's fault. That said, if there was no enough space to merge safely, then you would have been at fault for trying to merge when it was not reasonable or safe to do so. Again, there is no real rule--it depends on the exact facts.


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