Q: Who would be at fault in this circumstance?
I hit a car from behind. It was night time and raining. The car was at a complete stop in the middle of the road (right lane) without lights on or emergency lights. The driver said he had run out of gas. By the time I was able to see the car I could only slam on the brakes causing me to slide until I hit him in the back. Again, this car was completely stopped in the middle of a busy road without any type of lights or signals on. Who is at fault?
A: I depends. If the other driver's battery worked, then the hazard lights should have been on. If there was an emergency lane, then the car should've been over in it and not in the middle of the road. But maybe there were reasons it wasn't.
Alabama is a contributory negligence state, which means if one party is 1% negligent and the other party is 99% negligent, then neither party recovers. So, if you are the one that is sued, then, so far, it sounds like you have a good defense that the other driver negligently contributed to his/her damages by leaving the car in the road without hazard lights on. You also sound like you were faced with a sudden emergency and had no real opportunity to avoid a collision, which is a viable defense. You haven't indicated that you did anything differently from what a reasonable person would have done. Call your insurance company and start a claim and tell them you got sued. They'll provide you with a lawyer if they're responsible to pay on the claim.
As far as whether you'd be successful suing the other driver, it's hard to say for certain; and, without knowing more, it's hard to say for even kinda certain. Cars are equipped with hazard lights, and most roads have emergency lanes for this very reason. The other driver should have used them if they were available. However, It's not an ideal starting spot to be the one that hit a motionless car from behind, and the other driver might have had good reason to leave the car in the middle of the road without hazard lights on. Maybe he didn't leave it in the road. Maybe it had just happened, and he was reaching for the hazards as you hit him, and he didn't have much time to react to running out of gas. Sometimes accidents just happen.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
A: I agree with Mr. Thompson. Also, from the brief description, it looks like there are still details that are up in the air until they might become ascertained by a police report or statement from the other driver to his insurance company, and those could go to the issue of what measures could have been taken by either vehicle to avert the accident. Good luck
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