Is "Right of Way" a Viable Defense in an Auto Accident Case?
Most people don’t know that, yes, violating right-of-way rules may be a viable defense in auto accident cases. This even applies to pedestrian-vehicle accidents where a pedestrian has violated the right-of-way rules. So when trying to establish fault in auto accidents involving right-of-way violations, the decision will be based on which party has violated the right-of-way laws in New Jersey.
New Jersey Right-of-Way Rules
- Always yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles such as ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks if they are flashing their lights and sounding sirens.
- Blind pedestrians and people in motorized scooters or other mobility aids have the right-of-way always have the right-of-way when attempting to cross the road.
- Postal vehicles and buses have the right-of-way when trying to re-enter traffic.
- Always yield to vehicles that are already in intersections.
- Trains that are approaching crossings have the right-of-way.
- Always give right-of-way to pedestrians crossing.
- Like motorists, pedestrians should also follow the traffic rules. But even if pedestrians are crossing against a stop sign or jaywalking, motorists should ideally yield the right-of-way to avoid preventable accidents.
- Vehicles in intersections have the right-of-way.
- Never assume that other motorists will automatically yield even when you know they should.
- Always drive like you’re the one that should give right-of-way until you’re sure of your position.
- At multi-way stops, always yield to motorists on the right if you can’t tell if you or the other motorist were there first.
- Drivers should always yield to traffic that’s already in a position when your failure to give right-of-way could result in an accident.
- When a stop sign or street light in an intersection isn’t functioning or is blinking, you must approach with extreme caution and give right-of-way to vehicles that have reached the intersection before you. You should likewise give right-of-way to vehicles on the right, just how you would yield right-of-way at a stop sign.
Determining Fault for Auto Accidents Involving Right-of-Way Violations
In New Jersey, insurance companies will investigate the auto accident to determine how much fault each party contributed to the accident’s circumstances. But if you’re seeking compensation from your no-fault insurance or personal injury protection (PIP) or collision coverage, the comparative negligence rule will not apply. On the other hand, if you’re seeking compensation against another driver, their insurance provider will determine to what extent and whether their client is at fault for the auto accident.
In some cases, unfortunately, parties in auto accidents do not agree on how the accident occurred or may have differing accounts of which party is more at fault for the accident. In cases like these, you have the legal right to file a claim against the other party to resolve the dispute.
Consult an Experienced New Jersey Auto Accident Attorney Now
Pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and other motorists that have been injured in accidents that involve right-of-way violations may have the right to seek proper compensation. Contact the Leonard Legal Group via our quick online form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced New Jersey auto accident attorney or call us at 973-984-1414.