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A Case Study Highlighting the Importance of a Competent Personal Injury Attorney: Failure to Yield at Intersection – How do you prove liability?

A Case Study Highlighting the Importance of a Competent Personal Injury Attorney: Failure to Yield at Intersection – How do you prove liability?

In Los Angeles County there are numerous auto accidents everyday.  While liability (fault) is generally clear from the facts, insurance companies, their adjusters and lawyers will seek various ways to blame the victim (at least partially).  For this reason alone it is crucial to seek the counsel and representation of a personal injury attorney, who will not only get the insurance company to take you seriously, but will also obtain the best possible result.

A common example I have often encountered is the situation where one driver (we’ll come him Driver 1) is driving straight at a safe speed and enters an intersection when suddenly the other driver (Driver 2), coming from the opposite direction, makes a left turn without warning and causes Driver 1 to crash into Driver 2, allowing the insurance company to claim that Driver 1 was somehow at fault.

The law says that Driver 2 is fault because he had a duty to “yield the right of way” to Driver 1 so long as Driver 1 is “close enough to constitute a hazard.” (Cal. Vehicle Code sec. 21801(a).) Driver 2 did not yield the right of way, so he should be at fault.

Nevertheless, as is generally the case, the insurance company will only hold what seems the case after the fact: because Driver 1 crashed into Driver 2, it must be that Driver 1 is responsible. The insurance adjuster (and later their attorney) representing Driver 2 will rely on section (b): “having given a signal,” Driver 2 may turn left and Driver 1 should have yielded the right of way.  (See CVC Section 21801(b).)

Driver 2’s insurance will even go so far as to claim that Driver 1 was allegedly in excess of speed, inattentive, or that Driver 2 was in control of the intersection by initiating the turn and Driver 1 sped up to cause the accident.  Such allegations are used by Driver 2’s insurance to either place the entire blame on Driver 1 or, at the least, claim that Driver 1 contributed to causing the accident and should be partially at fault (aka comparative fault).

In such a situation, a careless attorney might automatically accept the argument and even refuse to represent Driver 1. However, a more careful and competent attorney will gather the evidence and persuade the insurance company that acceptance of liability on behalf of Driver 2 is in everyone’s best interest.

The above case study underscores the significance of obtaining a qualified and capable person injury attorney.

By:  Eldad M. Younessi, Esq.

[Eldad (aka “Eli”) is a passionate personal injury attorney. Eldad is very emphatic with his clients and relentlessly pursues the best outcomes for their accidents. He is an associate at Saidian & Saidian, PLC and can be reached directly at (213) 222-8564.]

Disclaimer:  Please note that any information provided, and/or other legal information presented, on this post is not intended to be legal advice.  The information on this post is merely for informative use based on my experience in handling auto accidents.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your personal matter.