LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Christopher Michael Davis | Sep 12, 2013

Uncontrolled Intersection Accident

An uncontrolled intersection has no stop lights, no stop signs, no yield signs, no blinking traffic signal or other clear safety instructions regarding right-of-way or driver responsibility. These are typically three-way or four way intersections.

Motor vehicle accidents at uncontrolled intersections in residential neighborhoods are quite common. Although vehicle speed is often slow relative to highway driving conditions, these collisions can still cause major damage to the vehicles involved and serious injuries to drivers and passengers.

Car accidents in residential neighborhoods, particularly those at uncontrolled intersections are of particular concern as they pose a great risk to pedestrians, walkers, runners, those on bicycles as well as children at play. Many neighborhoods now have traffic circles or roundabouts which help to reduce the problem of vehicles speeding in residential neighborhoods and enhance the beautify neighborhood by creating mini-greenbelts. Many believe that traffic circles and roundabouts reduce the number ofuncontrolled intersection accidents.

What is the rule of law for uncontrolled intersections in Seattle or other parts of Washington State?

When two vehicles approach an uncontrolled four-way intersection the vehicle to the right has the right of way. This rule is dictated by Washington State Law RCW 46.61.180 and Seattle Municipal Code 11.55.101. These rules read as follows:

When two (2) vehicles approach or enter an uncontrolled intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

Who is at fault for an accident at an uncontrolled intersection?

Determining fault / liability in an accident at an uncontrolled intersection in a residential neighborhood can be difficult. Typically there are no witnesses, no traffic cameras, and law enforcement authorities are often not called so there is no police report, etc. The insurance companies involved often attempt to force “shared fault" or “shared liability" rather than make an actual determination of fault.

For uncontrolled intersection accident victims who need repairs to their vehicle and medical treatment for their injuries determining fault is critical as it will dictate who will be responsible for these expenses.

Uncontrolled Accident Attorney

A person who is injured in an accident at an uncontrolled intersection should strongly considering hiring a car accident attorney as quickly as possible. Absent witness statements and/or a police report, the physical evidence at the accident scene (tire marks, etc.) and photographs of damage to the vehicles will become critical to the case. This evidence must be gathered and analyzed quickly. A good personal injury lawyer can send an experienced accident investigator to the scene to preserve this valuable evidence.

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