Who’s at Fault When a Car Rolls Back on an Incline?

Getting into a car accident is always stressful. You go through a scare, you have to worry about personal injuries, injured loved ones, damage to your car, missing time from work, and possible litigation.

What happens if the accident occurred while you were on an incline? Whether the car in front of you rolled back and slammed into your vehicle, or you had the misfortune of doing the same thing to the vehicle behind you, you may be wondering how the descending terrain may affect everyone’s liability.

Who’s Fault Is It?

As with every legal question, the answer is, it depends. A court of law will look at all the relevant factors. If the car that caused the accident was parked, was the emergency brake on? If the car was parked downhill, were the tires turned toward the curb? If the car was parked uphill, were the tires turned away from the curb?

On the other hand, if all cars involved in the accident were driving, the issues that come into play are many – was one of the drivers distracted? Did someone’s brakes fail? If so, did the driver have prior notice that there was a problem with their brakes? Did their mechanic know? Did the car manufacturer know?

Other questions to keep in mind is whether one person is responsible for the accident, or did anyone else’s negligence also contribute to it? Were road conditions particularly dangerous? If so, was the Department of Transportation aware of it?

When all factors are taken into account, it’ll be easier to apportion liability. It’s also important to note that Florida is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, which means that if you were 40% responsible for an accident, whatever amount of money you can recover from the other party to pay for injuries and car repair will be deducted by 40%.

How To Prove Fault

In litigation, there’s a process called discovery. This is when the attorneys involved look for all the pieces of the puzzle – witness testimony, surveillance footage, mechanic records, medical testimony, any information pertaining to motor vehicle recalls, and the police report. If the report helps your case and you’re planning on using the information in court, your attorney will subpoena the officer to testify.

It’s also crucial to understand that you should never admit fault. Even if you think you were partly responsible for the accident, you don’t want the entire incident to be pinned on you if there were other factors that influenced the crash. Say, for example, that you were texting while driving. Yes, that would make you liable. But if the other party’s car had mechanical issues or anything else came into play, it should be apportioned accordingly, instead of you taking 100% of the blame for it.

How to Stop Your Car From Rolling Down an Incline

Rolling down a hill is alarming. However, there are certain things you can do to try to stop your car.

If you have an automatic transmission:

  1. Step on the brake
  2. Place your car on Neutral
  3. Pull the manual handbrake

If you have a manual transmission:

  • Shift into first gear
  • Lift the clutch
  • Gradually release the handbrake

Call Clark Law for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been involved in a car accident on an incline and don’t know how to move forward, let us help you.  Call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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