Who Is at Fault in a Four Way Stop Accident?
Four-way stops can be confusing, but it’s essential to understand how to use them correctly. When a driver is unsure how to navigate a four-way stop or refuses to use it the right way, they can cause an accident.
If you were in an accident at a four-way stop, you’ll need to know how the law applies to determine the at-fault party. The information below will cover general information you need to know, but if you need more professional legal counsel, we can set you up with a FREE consultation.
To get a FREE, no-risk consultation with the best car accident lawyer for your case, call (214) 305-8277 or fill out one of our online forms today.
Right-of-Way Rules for Four-Way Stops
If you know the rules, four-way stops are not as complicated as they might seem. Here are the top four rules to keep in mind when approaching any four-way stop.
1. Proceed in the Order of Arrival
The first rule is simple: The driver who arrives first gets to go first.
Pay attention to when other motorists arrive at the four-way stop. Each driver should proceed through the intersection at the order they arrived at their stop sign.
2. Right Has Right-of-Way
What if two motorists get to the four-way stop at the same time? In this scenario, the driver on the right has the right-of-way.
If you approach a four-way stop simultaneously with the vehicle at the stop sign to your right, let that driver proceed first. If the other driver is on your left, you would have the right-of-way.
3. Driver Going Straight Has the Right-of-Way
If you get to the four-way stop at the same time as the driver directly across from you (meaning they are not on your left or right), the driver who is traveling straight gets to go first.
If you and the other driver are both going straight through the intersection, you can both proceed at the same time since there’s no risk of a collision.
4. Driver Turning Right Has Right-of-Way
What if the driver across the intersection from you approaches at the same time and they are turning onto the same road as you instead of going straight?
If one driver plans to turn left and the other is planning to turn right (so that they will be entering the same road from the four-way stop), the driver turning right has the right-of-way.
What if Everyone Approaches at the Same Time?
If all four drivers get to a four-way stop simultaneously, the situation becomes more tricky. There is no set rule for handling this, but thankfully, there is usually one driver who arrives slightly before the others and continues through the intersection.
All drivers should be mindful of other vehicles and four-way stop right-of-way rules. Be careful to signal which direction you are planning to go, and approach with caution.
How to Determine Fault in a Four-Way Stop Accident
If another driver does not use a four-way stop correctly and hits you, that driver is likely at fault for the accident. You may be entitled to file a personal injury claim with the driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for your damages.
Sometimes, the at-fault driver in a four-way stop accident is obvious. Other times, it’s not so straightforward. You’ll need to ask questions about your accident like:
- Did the other driver fail to stop at their stop sign?
- Who had the right-of-way before the accident happened?
- Did you and the other driver arrive at the four-way stop at the same time?
You will need to gather evidence of the other driver’s negligence in the accident. All drivers have a legal duty to drive carefully. If the other driver did not follow the four-way stop rules, they were negligent. They are likely at fault for your damages if their carelessness caused your accident.
Here are some ways you can begin compiling information to include in your claim and show that the other driver was at fault in your accident.
Report the Accident
Every state has slightly different rules on reporting accidents. For example, Texas law requires a police report if there were any injuries, deaths, or at least $1,000 in property damage (Texas Transportation Code Section 550.021.
In general, it’s best to report the accident to the police if there’s any chance you have injuries or property damage. Police will create an accident report that can be used to help support your case.
Document the Scene
You’ll need to show what happened during the accident when you file your claim. Use your phone’s camera to snap pictures of:
- Any injuries you have
- Any vehicle damage you have
- The entire accident scene
- Anything else that you think might help show what occurred
Also, get the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance policy information. You will need to know this if you file a claim with their insurer.
If anyone else witnesses the accident (which is likely if there were other motorists or pedestrians at the four-way stop), talk to them and ask for their contact information. Your lawyer can reach out to them soon after for statements.
Write down anything you can remember about the accident, such as the other driver’s actions right before the collision. This can help you keep the facts straight as you build your case.
Keep Proof of Damages
The more proof you have of your accident damages, the better. Save all medical bills, receipts, documentation of missed work time, and more. A car accident lawyer can let you know what is most important to save for your records.
Protect Your Rights
If another driver was at-fault in your four-way accident, their insurance company will probably try to contact you. Be very wary of this, and talk to a lawyer before engaging with the other driver’s insurer. Insurance adjusters are always looking for ways to reduce their costs and take advantage of accident victims.
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