How can you determine who is at fault for an accident?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How can you determine who is at fault for an accident?

I backed out of my mother’s driveway and her neighbor and I backed into each other. Confused at to how this had just happened, I asked her where did she come from, as I knew the street was clear when I started to pull out. Her response was that she had decided to back up the street from her mailbox, past her driveway, so that she could pull into her driveway.

Furthermore, she explained that she heard her warning sensors but did not know what they were for. I had no such device on my vehicle.

Asked on April 19, 2016 under Accident Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard and fast rule: basically, if someone drove negligently, or unreasonably carelessly--that is, drove in a way a reasonable driver would not--they are at fault. d on what you write, your neighbor is more likely at fault: backing down the street is generally somewhat careless or dangerous, and it is also negligent to hear a warning sound but ignore it--even if she did not know what exactly the sound was for, she should have stopped driving and looked around.

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