How is Fault Determined in a Blind Spot Accident?

by Staff Blogger | November 21st, 2023

Personal Injury Lawyers in Modesto

After an auto accident, comments like, “You should have seen me.” or “You came out of nowhere!” are commonly heard, beginning the inevitable blame game between two drivers after a blind spot accident.

Blind spots are areas around a vehicle that are invisible to the driver on both side and rearview mirrors. If a driver makes a move without first checking that these spots are clear, they may collide with another motorist or pedestrian.

A driver’s inability to see other road users does not automatically absolve them of blame. However, determining fault in these types of accidents can often be tricky.

With the insight of a personal injury attorney, car accident injury victims can successfully navigate the legal system. This article discusses when such accidents are likely to occur, how to prevent them, and who is to blame.

When is a Blind Spot Accident Likely to Happen?

Blind spot accidents can happen at any time. However, certain circumstances can exacerbate the risks.

Distracted or fatigued driving

Even experienced drivers who are always aware of their blind spots can lose focus if they are tired or allow themselves to get distracted. Distracted drivers may react more slowly if they are texting or are too tired to concentrate.

Changing lanes

Many blind spot accidents occur when one or more vehicles are changing lanes.


Intersections are likely candidates for blind spot accidents. Motorists may not see pedestrians or other drivers as they pass through junctions, causing accidents or injuries.

Merging onto highways

As a rule, motorists should wait until the road is clear before merging onto a highway. Bumping into cars moving at highway speeds can be fatal.

Backing up

Reversing out of a driveway without checking blind spots can be a catastrophic mistake if a pedestrian happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Such accidents can cause severe injuries or even death.

Driving large vehicles

The bigger the vehicle, the more blind spots. Truck drivers have more blind spots than passenger vehicles. As a result, trucks are more likely to cause blind spot accidents than any other vehicles.

Let’s now consider what actions you can take to minimize these accidents.

How to Prevent Blind Spot Accidents

Being mindful of other drivers and pedestrians can help prevent accidents by keeping motorists alert.

Adjust your rearview and side mirrors.

Before releasing the brake, ensure that you adjust your mirrors. The rearview mirror should frame your rear window. You should be able to see the handles of both back doors in your side mirrors.

Know your blind spots and stay alert.

No matter how well drivers adjust their mirrors, there may still be spots around the vehicle that allow cars, trucks, and motorcycles to disappear from sight. It’s crucial that every driver is aware of their vehicle’s particular hard-to-see areas and that they remain conscious of the risks carelessness can bring.

Yielding to right-of-way.

If another driver is passing on the road you are trying to join, that other driver has the right-of-way. Adjoining motorists must stop and wait until it is safe to proceed.

Look over your shoulder.

It helps to physically turn your head to check that your blind spot is clear.

Use signal lights.

Always use the signal indicators on your vehicle to notify other road users that you plan to turn at an upcoming intersection, change lanes, or merge.

Give vehicles in other lanes enough warning before making a move.

Motorists should give ample time for others to slow down, stop, or take another action that can prevent blind spot accidents.

Keep other vehicle’s blind spots in mind.

Aside from checking their blind spots, motorists should also consider the blind spots of other vehicles. For example, you’ll want to avoid overtaking a large truck and lingering in any possible blind spots, such as right in front of the truck. Truck drivers have an elevated perspective and cannot see anything several feet ahead of them. They may accelerate and crash into your car if they can’t see you.

Even if you are driving cautiously, blind spot accidents can still happen. Determining fault can take time and effort. Personal injury attorneys in Modesto can assist victims with proving responsibility and claiming damages.

Who is at Fault?

When assigning fault, insurance adjusters typically consider the following questions:

  • Who did not have the right of way?

The vehicle that joins a road without yielding to the right of way bears fault for the accident.

  • Which driver was changing lanes?

A driver cannot excuse their negligence regarding blind spots. They must use all possible means (including the over-the-shoulder glance) to ensure it’s safe before changing lanes.

  • Did either driver make a move without checking their blind spot?

If a motorist decides to speed, swerve, or turn without first checking that their blind spot is clear, they may be responsible for causing the accident.

  • Does the injured party share blame for the accident, and can they still claim damages?

Sometimes, both vehicles involved in a blind spot accident may share the blame. For example, one driver may fail to check for clearance, while the other may fail to see the danger because they were texting. In such cases, California’s pure comparative negligence rule allows both parties to receive compensation, weighted proportionally to their degree of responsibility for causing the accident.

Sometimes, reconstructing the accident scene is the best way to determine fault. It’s essential to have the help of a personal injury lawyer in Modesto when assessing a shared fault scenario.

Blind spot accidents are avoidable. But when they happen, victims may receive compensation for their losses if they can prove negligence on the part of the other driver(s) involved in the accident.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers office in Modesto for guidance with every step in the claims process. Accident victims can take advantage of our No Fee Guarantee® and contact us for a free consultation.