How to Prove Liability for a Crash at a Four-Way Stop

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Apr 11, 2022 in Car Accidents

avoid a crash at four-way stopAbout 25 percent of all traffic accidents happen in intersections. At certain intersections, such as a four-way stop, crashes often happen when drivers fail to yield the right of way.

How do investigators determine who was liable in this type of crash? Who has the right of way at a four-way-stop? How can you prevent a crash if another driver ignores the law?

The experienced attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan have a proven history of results. We understand what it takes to prove negligence and how to gather evidence that helps to strengthen your claim.

If you have been injured in a crash caused by someone else, our knowledgeable Silver Spring car accident lawyers are ready to help. Learn more in a completely free, zero-risk consultation with one of our qualified attorneys.

Schedule your FREE, no-risk case review today (888) 213-8140

How Can You Prove a Driver’s Negligence at a Four-Way Stop?

Proving liability for a crash at a four-way stop is no easy task, especially since there are likely no traffic cameras around. Calling 9-1-1 is the best first step. Once the first responders arrive, they will check those involved in the crash for injuries.

After ensuring injured victims are receiving medical assistance, police will investigate and document key details at the crash scene, including:

  • The location and severity of damage to the vehicles involved
  • Where each of the vehicles came to rest after the crash
  • Statements from any credible witnesses at the crash scene
  • Each driver’s account of events leading up to the crash
  • Any dash cam or smartphone video footage that may be available

Although you cannot submit a police report as evidence, the details provided are still useful to your claim. Additionally, the officer who documented these details can testify on your behalf if needed. If you hire an attorney, he or she will know how to use these details to benefit your claim.

How Crash Victims Can Help Protect Their Claim

It is natural to feel shaken up after a crash, even if you did not suffer a severe injury. For this reason, it is a good idea to give yourself a minute before speaking with anyone, including the police. If you blurt out statements without thinking, the insurance company could later use them to damage or deny your claim.

Often, people may apologize to the other driver, even if they did nothing to cause the incident. However, an apology, or other similar statements, could be used against you to say you admitted blame for the crash.

This is critical in Maryland, because if you contributed to the crash at all, the law bars you from recovering compensation. It is in the insurance company’s best interest to try to find you at least partially to blame.

It may help you to collect your thoughts by rethinking where each vehicle was before the crash:

  • Which vehicle had the right of way when you reached the intersection?
  • Did the other vehicle appear to be going straight but instead turned without signaling?
  • Were there other drivers or bystanders present who may have seen what happened?

Be clear when you speak to the officer but be careful not to ramble or try to make guesses about things you do not know. For instance, do not try to guess how fast anyone was going. Just clearly state what you know.

Why Victims May Benefit From Hiring an Attorney

After seeking medical care, you may want to seek legal help. Having an attorney manage your case from the start can help you to avoid serious mistakes that could cause your claim to be denied.

At Goldberg Finnegan, we have extensive knowledge of Maryland state laws and how they may apply to your case. We also have the resources and staff to manage your claim and are ready to:

  • Fully investigate events leading up to the four-way crash
  • Gather evidence that supports your claim
  • Keep you informed throughout your case
  • Prepare for trial and go to court if necessary
  • Negotiate for maximum compensation on your behalf

Who Has the Right of Way at a Four-Way Stop?

There are some basic rules to remember whenever you approach a four-way stop. If you keep these tips in mind, it can help prevent confusion:

First to Arrive, First to Drive

The right of way goes to the driver who arrived first. The second vehicle to arrive at the stop sign goes next, and so on.

What If Two Vehicles Stop at the Same Time?

If two vehicles stop at the same time, look to see if the vehicle is to the stop sign on your left or on your right. If the vehicle is on your right, that driver has the right of way. If the vehicle is on your left, you have the right of way.

Additional questions people have about four-way stops include:

Are Rolling Stops Legal at a Four-Way Stop Sign?

No. Drivers approaching the four-way stop sign must fully stop at the marked line near the sign. Failure to come to a full stop can result in a ticket and fines, even for a first offense. If a failure to properly yield leads to a crash, you can be liable for the damages.

What Happens if Four Drivers Reach the Intersection at the Same Time?

This is unlikely to happen. However, if it does, there is no fixed rule. Generally, drivers going straight have the right of way over a turning vehicle. Keeping eye contact can help too in case one or more drivers fail to use their turn signal.

Unfortunately, not every driver will follow these rules. This means that even if you have the right of way, you need to be alert for drivers who ignore the law. Your first duty as a driver is to prevent harm to others. So if another driver fails to stop, your duty is to yield to avoid a crash.

Find Out if You Have a Claim for Free. Call Our Firm Today

No one wants to be in a car crash. However, if it does happen, it is important to have an experienced attorney handling your claim.

At Goldberg Finnegan, we have decades of experience representing the injured. We have recovered more than $130 million on behalf of our clients during that time. We are ready to fight to recover maximum compensation for you.

Get started with a zero-cost, no-obligation, risk-free case review. Get answers to your questions and find out about your potential legal options. Call our firm 24/7 to schedule your free consultation today. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs. You only pay our fees if we win your case.

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