When pursuing a personal injury claim related to a car crash, a crucial part of the process involves establishing liability. It's essential that our Webb City, Missouri auto accident attorneys can determine conclusively which party (or parties) caused the collision. In some cases, this step isn't overly complicated. For example, if a driver runs a red light or veers onto the wrong side of the road, and an accident occurs as a result, then it's fairly easy to demonstrate who is responsible--personally, legally and financially. However, there are other situations when establishing fault can be considerably more difficult.
Consider an accident that happened last year in Barton County, near Mindenmines, Missouri: 49 year-old Gregg D. Martin was traveling west in his pickup truck when he was broadsided by a northbound Ford Explorer. Martin was pronounced dead at the scene: the impact of the collision forced the pickup off the side of the road. It then overturned and came to rest upside down. The Missouri Highway Patrol's official accident report indicates that Martin was not wearing his seat belt.
Here's where the issue of fault comes into play: the two vehicles collided in an uncontrolled four-way intersection, meaning there were no stop signs or stop lights to indicate right of way. The second driver, 55 year-old Sheila Y. Francis, was unharmed. As required by Missouri state law, Francis was given a sobriety test. Since she was not subsequently arrested or cited for driving under the influence, it stands to reason that she was not found to be intoxicated.
Would this circumstances of accident provide grounds for a wrongful death suit (to be filed on behalf of Martin's surviving family members)? It's difficult to say, as we simply don't have enough facts to gauge whether or not the potential for a legitimate claim exists. To make that judgment, liability would have to be proven. In this particular case, one of the main issues would concern who had the right of way in the uncontrolled intersection.
Many accidents occur in Webb City and throughout Missouri simply because drivers don't know the laws about right of way in intersections with no stop signs, yield signs or traffic lights. First of all, we cannot stress strongly enough that pedestrians always have the right of way in intersections and crosswalks.
When approaching an intersection without stop or yield signs, slow down and be prepared to stop. As a driver, you are always required to yield to vehicles that are already passing though the intersection, or that enter the intersection ahead of you--this practice is just common sense. If two vehicles pull up to the intersection at about the same time, always yield to the car that arrived first, or yield to the vehicle on your right.
Safe driving tips for uncontrolled intersections
• Webb City drivers should attempt to anticipate other drivers' actions in the intersection and yield whenever needed or legally required.
• Yielding the right of way to other drivers helps prevent auto accidents.
• When there is conflict concerning who should yield, trying to make eye contact with the other driver can be helpful. If you can wave the other driver through, both vehicles can pass through the intersection in a safe and timely manner.
• When the other driver is legally required to yield the right of way to you, but does not yield, you are still required by Missouri law to stop or yield to that driver as necessary for safety. You must take responsible action to avoid a potential accident, even if that potential is created by another driver's error: otherwise, you share in the liability.
The bottom line: our attorneys strongly encourage Missouri drivers to use common sense and courtesy. Doing so will help prevent accidents, making our roadways safer for everyone. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Webb City or the surrounding areas, we may be able to help. Please call us today at 1-888-777-AUTO to schedule a no-cost initial consultation about your case.Attorney meetings by appointment only