Who is at fault? Exiting a Driveway

Sometimes you do not have the choice to exit a shopping center at a light. It is those times when drivers have to make an unprotected turn. When traffic is coming from the left and the right and you have to join them, it can be a daunting task. Motorists driving along the roads with driveways should always be on the lookout for exiting vehicles, but if they are going straight, they have the right-of-way. The drivers exiting must wait until the road is clear before pulling out into traffic.

This rule is supported by California Vehicle Code section 21804 which states the driver of any vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from any public or private property, or from an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all traffic approaching on the highway close enough to constitute an immediate hazard and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that traffic until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.

But as always, every case is different, and I came across a case this week that defies this rule of thumb. From my point of view it is clear the driver going straight was at fault. I will walk you through the time line of events:

    1. Our client drove to the exit and stopped completely to gauge traffic before exiting. Traffic was stopped up ahead because of the red light at an intersection further down.

    2. The defendant came up on the driveway and saw that our client wanted to exit. She quite kindly stopped her vehicle far back enough to let our client out and into her lane.

    3. Our client navigated the turn and got in line with the rest of the traffic to wait for the light to turn green.

    4. The defendant struck our client’s car from the rear.

The defendant has offered no explanation for why she hit our client. We believe it was an honest mistake of hitting the gas instead of the brake, but because our client was exiting a parking lot, the adverse insurance company is claiming it is our client’s fault. Our position is that the turn onto the street had been completed and this is a straightforward rear end collision. We know this because the damage to our client’s vehicle was completely to the rear, no side damage means no side impact.

What do you think? Did our client violate the defendant’s right-of-way?

California Vehicle Code section 21804 goes on to state that after yielding, the driver may proceed to cross or enter the highway and the drivers of all other vehicle shall yield the right-of -way to the vehicle entering or crossing the intersection.

Everyone gets a turn because everyone has somewhere to get to. The defendant knew that letting my client in was the right thing to do. It is the insurance company and its dishonest ways that are complicating this case. Laskin Balma Attorneys at Law do not give up on a case just because the insurance company for the at-fault driver will not do what is right!Need advice? Feel you have a potential personal injury case? Contact Laskin Balma Attorneys at Law in Sacramento California today.