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Who is at Fault if You Run Out of Gas and Get Hit

Running out of gas can be extremely dangerous, not only for you but for the vehicle behind you too. A tragedy recently unfolded in Dallas when a car ran out of gas and stalled on an expressway. Then, the vehicle was hit from behind at a high rate of speed. The passengers – an infant and a toddler – did not survive.

Running out of gas and stalling in a lane of traffic on a freeway is one of the most dangerous places that you can be. Rather than a moving target, you’re a sitting duck. It’s much safer on the road shoulder, but accidents can happen there, too, especially if you get out of your car and walk for gas.

The Fault Issue

 In California, the rule is if you rear-end a vehicle ahead of you, the fault for the accident can be yours. Affirmative defenses might arise, though, when the driver of the hit car knew or should have known that they were in danger of running out of fuel. Remaining in a traffic lane and failing to turn on the car’s hazard lights also compounds the defense.

Comparative Negligence in California

There are many accidents when both parties share fault for the crash. If they cannot come to any type of settlement, a jury would determine fault and attribute a percentage of it to each party. Some states operate on what’s known as modified comparative negligence when if a party is 50 or 51% at fault, they don’t receive a verdict in their favor.
California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that everyone involved could receive fault for the accident. For example, even if someone was 60% at fault for an accident, they can still get 40% of the damages they allege.
If a person knew or should have known that they would run out of gas but continue driving, a certain percentage of the fault lies with them after running out of gas. Drivers who fail to get off the roadway to a place of relative safety receive a higher fault percentage.
Keeping California’s general rules about rear-ending the vehicle ahead of you and comparative negligence in mind, much will depend on the totality of the circumstances surrounding the accident. If you received an injury in an accident under the same or similar circumstances as discussed above anywhere in California, contact us here at Maison Law for a free consultation and case review as soon as possible. You might have a viable basis for seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.

Contact a California Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you share no responsibility for your accident, the person who did and their insurance provider should be front and center to lift those financial burdens off your back. After an accident involving a serious injury or the tragic loss of life in California, contact attorney Martin Gasparian for a free, no-obligation case consultation for your family. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case and only gives victims advice that’s in their best interest.

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