How To Tell Who Is At Fault In A Car Accident

Even if you’re driving safely, car accidents can happen. Unfortunately, the road is much more dangerous than we can predict, and an accident can be caused by many different reasons, with most of the time not even being caused by you, but by others or the environment.

In straight-forward scenarios of a car accident, it can be pretty easy to see who is at fault and is therefore to blame. However, there are some cases in which it’s a bit more complicated to determine who is at fault within the car accident, and a bit of a debate can arise.

It’s quite important to be able to determine whether or not you are at fault when involved in a car accident. Mainly because whoever is at fault will likely have to deal with all the financial costs and repairs, as well as facing any legal consequences if serious or lethal damage is caused.

Knowing who is at fault in specific scenarios can also help you avoid said scenarios, as you will be extra careful in those situations to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Ultimately, the party at fault will be decided by the police authorities and by the insurance companies. But trust us, knowing the basics and being aware of the situation can help you detect and collect evidence a lot easier, to back your claim if you are not at fault!

General rules for responsibility during car accidents

As a general rule, which covers standard car accident scenarios in which it is pretty straightforward to see and know who the person at fault was, the person to blame is as follows:

When a driver collisions into the back of another car

In this scenario, almost 100% of the time the person hitting the other from behind will be at fault and will get the blame.

Sometimes you could try and fight it by stating that the car in front stopped far too abruptly, or performed an odd or dangerous maneuver. However, it is highly likely that you will still be blamed if you’re the one that hit from behind.

This is because cars are supposed to maintain a safe distance, and it is, therefore, a given that there should always be enough time to avoid an accident even if the car in front of you stops abruptly or does something wrong.

A car accident caused by someone turning

If a car is making a left turn, and an accident is caused either with a car from the same lane or with a car driving in the opposite direction past the turning, the person at fault will usually be the car performing the left turn.

This is because to perform a left turn you need to signal clearly with enough time, and you need to ensure it is perfectly safe and that the road is clear before you perform said turn.

How to tell who is at fault in other types of car accidents 

If you get involved in a car accident that doesn’t look like either of the two cases stated in the previous section, it might not be as straightforward when figuring out who is to blame.

These are a few of the most common scenarios for car accidents, and who is usually at fault:

Car park collisions and accidents

When it comes to car parks, you need to consider the vehicle that has the right of way and be wary of all of the parked vehicles.

Essentially, if one car collides into a parked car, the car that was moving will be at fault. It is a car park, so the moving vehicle will almost certainly be at fault.

If two cars are moving at once, such as when two cars back out at the same time or try to reach for the same parking spot, then both will be equally at fault.

However, if two cars are moving at the same time and one of them is in the main lane, and the other is backing out of a spot, then the car backing out will be at blame. This is because you have to ensure the lane is clear before you back out of your spot.

Three-car collisions and accidents

Accidents that happen with three cars involved instead of two can be a lot more complex, especially as a lot more factors could have determined the collision. However, as a general rule, the car at the very front will be the least at fault.

Both the middle and the rear car will have crashed into another vehicle from behind, so they are to blame, with the rear car usually being more at fault. However, with these cases, a more in-depth study will be made to properly determine what caused the collision and who is truly to blame.

Any other situations would have to be looked at individually, as there are plenty of factors to consider and plenty of ways in which one could be considered at fault for reckless driving and negligence.


Knowing the general rules when it comes to figuring out who is to blame in a car accident can be very important, especially if you have to back up your defense with evidence and proof as to how and why you are not to blame for an accident.

Whoever is ultimately to blame, will likely have to pay for the car repairs, and might even face legal consequences if any serious damage was done.

So, how do you know who is at fault in a car accident? Each case should be looked at individually, with the different factors and circumstances carefully considered by authorities and by the insurance company. However, there are some basic rules.

 In a straightforward, two-car collision, the vehicle that runs into the other from behind will be at fault because they should have been maintaining a safe distance that would have allowed them to avoid the accident in time. 

With turning and side collisions, you need to check who had the right of way and who was on the main lane or road.

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