This week EK Agency wanted to present an accident scenario for their clients and friends to think about and learn from. This scenario is a common motor vehicle accident scenario and will demonstrate how claims are adjusted behind the scenes.
It was a rainy evening and the claimant (plaintiff) was with a friend leaving a restaurant. The claimant was attempting to turn left onto a four lane road. The plaintiff had their left turn signal on. There were several driveways to retail establishments and restaurants along both sides of the four lane road.
Before the claimant turned left. He observed a car with their right turn signal on, the defendant. The claimant and their passenger both saw the defendant with his right turn signal on and both the claimant and his passenger attested to seeing the defendant slow his vehicle.
The defendant stated he had his right turn signal on and was going to turn into the fast food restaurant two driveways down from where the claimant was sitting. The defendant stated the drive was approximately fifteen feet on the other side of the claimant. The defendant attested that he saw the claimant’s left turn signal on. When interviewed the defendant also stated that he glanced down at his radio to turn the volume down and didn’t see the claimant turning in front of him in time to avoid the collision.
Since the claimant thought the defendant was turning right into a drive, he pulled out to turn left onto the two opposing lanes. The defendant crashes into the rear driver’s side quarter panel of the claimant.
Who do you think is at fault?
In Ohio, when an adjuster investigates an accident scenario there is one main rule used to initiate the accident investigation. Was the plaintiff or defendant 51% or more negligent for the accident? Accepting full liability, partial liability or no liability through investigating an accident scenario is the first step in the claim adjudication process. Citations on police reports are considered when determining liability as a tool. Just because you are cited for the accident does not necessarily mean all liability will be placed on the defendant.
For the answer…
In this accident scenario some negligence would most likely be placed on the defendant for two reasons; he was distracted by adjusting the radio and he failed to attempt to avoid the accident by slowing down. The delayed response is demonstrated by the claimant being hit in the rear quarter panel meaning the claimant was more than 3/4th of the way through his turn and by the defendant admitting he was looking at the radio prior to the collision.
If you are ever in an accident and are unsure of the steps to take, call your agent at EK Agency to have any accident related questions answered.