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Am I at fault in this accident?

Worcester, MA |

I was pulling out of my apartment complex parking lot at 6:00 a.m. on my way to work. I looked both ways and saw two cars coming in both directions so I waited for them to pass. Everything looked clear so I pulled out and was slammed from a driver coming from the left. He smashed my bumper and headlights etc.

I know the person making the left-hand turn is almost always at fault. But this guy did not have his lights on at 6:00 a.m.! Does that matter or will the fault just go to me anyway? He was driving at a high rate of speed as his car had almost no damage and mine is completely smashed in the front.

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Attorney answers 5


Massachusetts is a no fault state, so you will report your accident to your own insurance company with his information, and they will take it from there. Generally, only if your damage exceeds your coverage will the insurance company go after him. Did you call the police? Were you cited for failing to yield? The law for headlights requires that he have his headlights on until 1/2 hour after sunrise, which would have been at 6:04 a.m. in Worcester today. That means that if he didn't have his lights on at 6:00, he was in violation of the law. It's tough to prove it if you didn't contact the police.

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We did contact the police and have a police report written. I wasn't cited for anything and neither was he. The report doesn't say much on it, just a summary of the accident pretty much and our information. The officer didn't state anything on there about his headlights not being on though, so I'm guessing that might make me at fault in their eyes. I just dont' want my insurance to go up when I know it wasn't my fault. Thanks.


A vehicle attempting a left turn must yield to on coming traffic, so you are correct in your assertion that "the person making the left-hand turn is almost always at fault". Be sure contact a local personal injury lawyer to see if the other factors (speeding & lack of headlights) will assist you in avoiding a surcharge.


You are both likely partially at fault. Good luck.

The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney until we sign a retainer agreement.


If you are pulling onto a roadway from a private parking lot, a driver must yield the right of way to vehicle on the roadway. In the case of nighttime accidents, whether the driver had on his lights or whether the headlights were not working is an issue of comparative fault. Also, speeding is an issue on which comparative fault can be assessed. However, most states require some "observation" of the speeding vehicle to assess its' speed. Call a local attorney and see if this is the law of your state. Also, report this matter to your insurance company for defense of the claim.

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Simply report the accident to your insurance company to resolve.

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