So I was in an auto accident it was a very dark industrial area and I slammed right into the back of a semi because this semi had absolutely no running lights on at all I'm not sure if he was stopped completely in that road or driving just a few mph. The semi immediately fled the scene. This man ran up and asked if I was okay and told me he seen the whole thing as he was walking home from picking up some cigarettes. So my insurance took from 12/5/21 to mid March to pay me for my totaled car cause I have full coverage. When I was finally paid for my totaled car they still hadn't paid on my bodily injury claim as they were still investigating. They had a phone interview with the witness still after that I waited and never heard back from them they never answer my calls. When I finally did reach them they told me they decided to put me at fault for the accident because the angle the witness was at he couldn't see my car collide with semi. I don't understand he seen the whole thing and what we need from him is if indeed the semi had running lights or not because that determines fault right? So I'm just looking for insight if I have a case and or if it's worth it?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Photographs/video after the collision could corroborate your statement that the semi had no running lights.
The witness doesn't necessarily need to actually see the seconds leading up to the collision (or the collision itself), so long as he came to the scene and personally witnessed that the semi had no running lights. This would also corroborate your statement that the semi had no running lights.
Also, whether the witness could (or could not see) depends on a number of factors. Where he was standing, where the collision was located in relation to him, whether he was looking in the right direction, whether there were any obstructions, and whether the witness has poor or good eye sight.
Evidence of the he lighting conditions in the area at the time of the collision would also be important. A failure to have running lights on is negligence. But, negligence isn't an all-or-nothing concept. If there is evidence or argument that the lighting conditions (street lights, moon light, other ambient light) was such that you as the driver should have been able to see the semi (even without his running lights), then there could be comparative negligence attributed to you as well. This is an issue related to speed and visibility.
Whether or not it's worth it to pursue will largely depend on the seriousness of your injuries and the amount of money at stake. The more serious your injuries (and therefore medical treatment), the more it's worth it to investigate and pursue. On the other hand, if you just have a couple bruises (and therefore no medical treament), then it may be more labor than it's worth.
Hope that helps!
Good Afternoon, In order to decide what you should do, you may want to contact an attorney for advice. My office provides free initial consultations on all cases and we represent injured people like yourself on a contingency basis which means that you do not have to pay us any attorney's fees unless we recover a settlement for you. I have been an attorney for over 27 years and I exclusively represent plaintiffs like you. My office provides unparalleled representation to all of our clients. We are aggressive and we fight for all of our clients in order to get the compensation they deserve. Please visit our website at www.hakiminjurylaw.com and you can contact me directly at 1800-LAW-TALK.
Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq.