Auto Accident Settlement
Can I Be Held Liable for an Accident if I Never Made Contact With the Other Vehicle?
Sometimes, even the safest and most defensive drivers have to make a dangerous maneuver in order to avoid an even more dangerous situation. An aggressive driver might cause extremely unsafe conditions, potentially forcing other drivers to slam on their brakes or swerve off the road or into another lane. An environmental hazard like an animal or dangerous road condition can also cause normally safe drivers to make dangerous moves to avoid a worse outcome. In any case, while unlikely, it is possible for you or another driver to hold some responsibility in an accident where contact between vehicles was not actually made.
Cases in which someone is blamed for an accident that they weren’t physically involved in are rare, but when they do come up, they can get quite complicated. Trying to prove a driver is responsible for an accident when they didn’t make contact with other cars requires enough evidence to prove that their actions lead directly to any damages sustained.
Fighting for justice in these types of cases can be very difficult, so seeking the help of an experienced Florida car accident lawyer is a great first place to start. Whether you’re being accused of causing an accident or you’re trying to hold a responsible party accountable, getting help from an experienced lawyer can increase your odds of a favorable outcome.
Proving Negligence in No-Contact Accidents
The first big hurdle in no-contact cases is actually locating the driver you believe to be responsible. Unfortunately, if a driver causes you to have an accident without touching you and they don’t stop, it is very difficult to identify them and hold them accountable. In most of these types of accidents, this is exactly what happens, and your best option at this point is to just utilize your uninsured motorist coverage, which is a form of coverage that can be added onto your existing policy.
Even if you’re able to find the person and vehicle after the fact, you’ll still need to prove that any negligence exhibited by the other driver directly contributed to or caused your accident. In a car accident case where both parties take damage, police and insurance agents can generally reconstruct the events of an accident from evidence at the scene. When another driver forces you off the road or causes you to brake dangerously, it can be very difficult to prove that their actions were a direct cause of any damage you incur.
Furthermore, you’ll also have to prove that your actions weren’t negligent. This means that you must be able to prove that you had no option but to take the maneuvers that result in an accident. Otherwise, you may not be able to recover the maximum damages.
In some cases such as, if cargo falls off a shipping vehicle or a piece of hardware from a construction site causes a hazard, you may be able to seek damages from the trucking or construction company respectively. These cases tend to get complicated and can wind up taking a long time, especially if they lead to a jury trial, but when you’ve got little other recourse for recovering damages, getting the help of a Florida car accident attorney and exploring every avenue for compensation is often worth it.
What to Do When You’re Accused of Causing a No-Contact Accident
If another driver is attempting to file a claim on your liability insurance after a no-contact accident, then your insurance company will handle the process of defending against the claim. They will investigate the accident thoroughly, and if they feel a settlement is appropriate then they will pay on some or all of the claim.
In instances where you don’t have insurance or the other driver’s damages exceed your policy coverage, then they may choose to sue you directly for damages. In these cases, you should seek out a qualified civil litigation attorney to represent you.
Take Precautions Against Aggressive Drivers
As mentioned, it can be very difficult to fight for justice in cases where contact is not made with the negligent driver. For this reason, the best way to protect against these kinds of situations is to take ample precautions while traversing Florida’s roads.
Following the principles behind defensive driving is one of the best ways to avoid accidents, even ones that would be 100% the fault of another driver. Maintaining a safe following distance, driving at a safe speed, avoiding distractions, expecting the unexpected, expecting other drivers to behave unreasonably, and maneuvering with all this in mind are tactics that can be used to help keep you safe on the road.
Taking a defensive driving class and catching up on the American Society of Safety Professionals standards for safe driving are both great ideas to help get you safely from point A to B.
No-contact accidents are particularly common with motorcycle drivers. Someone driving a car aggressively can easily force a motorcyclist to take a defensive action too quickly, potentially causing them to have an accident in which they’re the only one to take damage.
When operating a motorcycle, be sure to wear a helmet at all times, wear appropriate clothing, drive the speed limit, follow at a safe distance, and stay aware of other drivers on the road and their potentially irrational maneuvers.
When driving near a motorcycle, maintain visibility and ample space. Try to pass the motorcycle quickly or let them pass rather than riding beside them. In all situations, turn your head before changing lanes or making maneuvers since motorcycles can easily hide within blind spots.
A growingly popular precaution for drivers is dash cameras. In hit and run cases, or instances where another driver’s negligent behavior causes a no-contact accident, a dash camera can provide the evidence needed to verify the reason for the accident. It also automatically picks up on key information you may not remember to collect in the event of an accident, like the model and make of the vehicle, the license plate number, and other contextual details you may not consider at the time.
Get Help From a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
When you’re trying to fight for justice against a driver that caused your accident without making contact with your vehicle, having an experienced legal team on your side can help boost your chances of successfully making your case and recovering the maximum amount possible. If you’re dealing with this kind of accident, you’re already fighting an uphill battle, so going it alone will be even tougher than in most accident cases.
The law firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd has been helping the victims of Florida accidents for decades and we want to help you too. If you’re dealing with a confusing or difficult accident situation and need to figure out your best options, give us a call at 866-460-1990 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to go over the details of your accident today.
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