Although we may not admit it, most of us are guilty of cutting someone off at some point in our driving lives.
The thing is, cutting someone off does not always lead to an accident. But when it does, it can cause severe injuries and property damage to the parties involved.
If you caused an auto accident when cutting someone off, you may wonder what to do at the accident scene and whether you are entirely at fault.
In this blog post, we will discuss how fault is determined in such cases, what to do after the collision, and how a skilled car accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process.
Our primary focus is on Florida.
Why Do These Crashes Occur?
A driver may cut off another driver for various reasons. They can do so due to distracted driving, road rage, failure to signal a lane change, or improper merging.
These scenarios often result in rear-end collisions. But in terrible situations with high traffic, they can result in a chain-reaction accident involving multiple vehicles.
When a driver’s action poses a risk, an accident may happen as the other driver tries to avoid a collision or cannot respond in time to stop it.
What Happens When You Cut Someone Off and They Crash?
If you cut someone off and cause an accident, you must follow a specific process to safeguard your rights and health.
Knowing your rights and responsibilities in such a situation can help lower any liability that falls on you. If you are at fault for the crash, you should:
Remain at the accident scene
When you cause any accident, you should stay put till you meet your legal responsibilities.
Florida Statute 316.062 requires you to remain in your car until police officers arrive. You should provide personal information to them, such as your name, address, vehicle registration, and driver’s license.
However, avoid providing self-incriminating information that could breach your Fifth Amendment right.
If law enforcement officers do not arrive at the accident scene, you must report the accident to the nearby police post.
Another thing is that you have to assist other persons involved in the crash. You can help by escorting them to a safe spot, calling first responders, or taking them to a hospital.
But avoid causing more harm because you may be liable for further damages if your assistance worsens their injuries.
Seek medical help
After a crash, ensuring your safety and well-being is of utmost importance. Let paramedics at the accident scene treat your injuries and later visit a hospital or physician to ensure you have no hidden injuries.
Florida Statute 627.736 requires you to visit a doctor within 14 days of the crash if you will pursue a personal injury claim or take legal action against the at-fault driver.
So, seeing a doctor is advisable if severe injuries manifest and you want to file a claim later.
Contact a car accident lawyer
Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer specializing in auto accidents after leaving the accident scene and seeking medical help for your injuries.
The other motorist may file a personal injury or property damage claim against you if they believe you are at fault for the crash.
If that’s the case, get legal counsel immediately to build a solid legal defense.
Contact your insurer
Most insurers expect you to report an accident within 24 hours. By this standard, you must report to your insurance provider if you cut someone off and cause a rear-end collision.
However, do not admit fault to any insurance adjuster or other persons at the accident scene, even if you think you caused the accident.
Admitting fault means you may end up paying more damages. It can also reduce the amount of compensation owed to you.
That’s why you should find a skilled lawyer before contacting your insurer. Your attorney will handle all communication with your insurance provider, fill out the forms, and ensure you do not provide incriminating evidence.
Are There Penalties for Causing a Crash by Cutting Someone Off?
Yes, there are. However, the specific details of your case will determine the kind of penalties you might incur for this accident. For example, the factors below might affect your penalties:
- Did you stop to help others involved in the accident and provide essential details to responding officers?
- Were you driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
- Were you speeding or driving aggressively?
- Did the accident result in catastrophic injuries?
- Did you cause property damage?
Facing any of these charges can be intimidating. Still, your situation is not permanent.
You can get your charges reduced or dropped if you work with a car accident criminal defense lawyer.
Got a Legal Issue? Let Us Help You Find An Attorney Near You
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Defend Me?
You may be anxious about the possible legal repercussions if you cause a crash by cutting another driver off.
However, an attorney can defend you in several ways to get the charges against you reduced or withdrawn. These include:
Denying full liability
Causing an accident does not mean you were entirely at fault. Florida law acknowledges that multiple parties can contribute to the cause or magnitude of a road traffic accident.
Therefore, your attorney can claim that the other motorist was equally negligent, holding them partially accountable and reducing your percentage of fault.
Questioning police treatment
Law enforcement officers follow a protocol when responding to an accident and charging or arresting suspects.
Your lawyer can get your charges reduced or dropped if police violated this process or used excessive force to restrain you.
Questioning equipment used
If you caused a crash when drunk driving and police officers breathalyzed you at the scene, your attorney might dispute the reliability of those results.
Presenting fresh evidence
Your car accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate your accident using video footage, witness testimony, and possibly crash reconstruction specialists.
The investigation could reveal more people who could be at fault or suggest that the accident was caused by adverse weather or poor road conditions.
Do I Qualify for Compensation for A crash If I Cut Someone Off?
If the other injury sustained injuries from the accident you caused by cutting them off, they may file a personal injury claim against you.
But even in this scenario, you cannot automatically conclude that you are ineligible for any financial compensation for your damages.
Some avenues for claiming compensation include:
File a PIP insurance claim
Every driver in the state of Florida must have the following, per Florida Statute 627.736:
According to Florida Statute 627.736, every motorist in Florida must carry:
- $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
- $10,000 in Property Damage Liability insurance
If you are involved in a car accident, you can file a PIP claim with your insurer, even if you were at fault.
File a claim against the other driver
Causing a crash by cutting off another driver does not necessarily mean you are entirely at fault for the crash. In reality, the larger share of liability may lie with the other driver.
For instance, when you cut them off, the other driver could have been speeding or engaging in another traffic infraction, like drunk driving. If so, you can file a claim against them by working with an experienced car accident lawyer.
Comparative Negligence Law in Florida
You may still be eligible for compensation even if the other motorist files a claim against you.
Florida follows the Comparative Negligence principle, which assigns fault for accidents proportionally.
In this case, both drivers incur a percentage of fault out of 100%. Total damages are then allocated to them based on their percentage of fault.
So, if another motorist sues you and it turns out they were 20% at fault, you would be awarded 20% of the damages. But still, you would have to pay the other 80%.
What Compensation Could I Get for a Rear-End Accident?
The facts and circumstances of your case will determine how much compensation you get.
But with the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer, you could be entitled to compensation for damages, such as:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost capacity to earn
- Loss of Consortium
Speak to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today!
The best thing to do after causing a crash by cutting another driver off is to contact an attorney for advice and legal support.
Do not take full blame for the accident. A car accident lawyer can investigate the case and develop strong defense in your favor.
At Legal Giant, we understand how exhausting car accidents can be, especially the process of vetting and hiring a good lawyer.
That is why we offer lawyer referral services. We connect you to the best car accident lawyer near you to handle your case and fight for your rights.
Call us today at (855) 740-5024 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.