If you’re a driver, you already know that at one point, you would cut someone off. What is cutting off in driving? It means that a vehicle drives into your lane in front of you. Although this is done often, it doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous. If the driver in front of you stops and you swerve to avoid a potential collision, you may end up crashing.
Even if cutting off another vehicle isn’t intentional, the auto accident damages will be handled depending on who was at fault and if the front driver stopped.
If an accident like this happens to you, consulting with a New York car accident attorney is the first thing you should do.
Fault in a No-Contact Cutting Off Crash
If the first driver didn’t come in contact with the car that crashed, this accident is also known as “no-contact”. But, even if the first driver didn’t crash the second driver, they can be found at fault. And if the driver who crashes ends up with injuries or vehicle damage, they may pursue a claim for financial compensation with the first driver’s insurance company. The driver should file for a personal injury claim.
The driver who was crashed must prove that the other driver was at fault by showing the following:
- Witnesses statements
- Photos or video evidence (surveillance cameras that caught the crash)
- The other driver’s admission of fault for the accident
If you decide to file a personal injury claim for a “no-contact” accident can be difficult, especially if the driver who performed the cutting off is unknown or failed to stop at the scene. If the driver is found to be responsible for the crash, they are legally liable for the damages.
Cases When the First Driver Doesn’t Pull Over
There are many cases where the driver who does the cutting off isn’t even aware that their actions lead to a crash. In other situations, they may see the accident, but decide to continue driving.
Such situations are called “phantom driver” accidents. If you’re the driver who cut off another vehicle and you saw the crash, you’re obligated to pull over.
Deciding to continue driving (even if you didn’t even touch the vehicle) is not a good thing. Not pulling over has the same legal consequences as hit and run accidents.
In case you’re the driver who crashed and the other vehicle doesn’t stop, get their license plate if you can and write any other identifying information.
Looking for other evidence may be a challenge, especially if you’re injured. In such a case, your car accident attorney will be able to use other tactics to find the driver. When the driver can’t be found or identified, you can use Uninsured Motorist coverage through your insurance policy so you can cover at least part of your damages.
What to Do After a No-Contact Crash
Cutting off happens every day but if an accident happens as a result of it, the situation gets serious. It doesn’t matter if the vehicles touch or not; the driver who crashed may end up with serious injuries. Here are the steps you should take if you’re involved in such an accident.
- Pullover and exchange information – Both drivers should pull over when a no-contact crash happens. Exchange info such as names, phone numbers, insurance numbers. Stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive.
- Call the police – Always report the accident and tell the officers how it happened, providing as many details as possible. If the other driver failed to stop after you crashed, tell them all the info you managed to remember about their vehicle appearance, personal appearance, plate numbers, and anything that you can remember.
- Keep track of damages – The driver who crashes should keep track of all the damages. If you’re that driver don’t forget to take photos of your injuries, vehicle damages and the accident scene, traffic signs, surveillance cameras, the weather, and so on. If the driver who cut you off stops, you may be able to file a compensation claim and get your damages from their insurance company.
- Call an attorney – Call your lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t admit fault if you’re the one who cut off; avoid explaining what was the reason for you to do the cut off at least before you talk to your attorney.
Cellino Law attorneys have experience with such accidents. We offer free case evaluation; schedule your consultation today.