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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 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.

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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