Mitchell, SD asked in Personal Injury and Car Accidents for South Dakota

Q: Daughter cited for failure to yield. Other driver cited for invalid license for 2nd time. He hit her. Whose at fault

My daughters view was obstructed by vehicles parked illegally at intersection. She slowly proceeded into intersection for a clear view to her right. Didn't see vehicle so continued thru and got t-boned by driver heading west. She was heading north and was nearly thru before getting hit. Both vehicles totaled. Speed limit is 25. Her car was hit so hard that it spun 180 degrees. No skidmarks or any attempt by other driver to avoid collision. My daughter was extremely shakened up and admitted to officer that she was at fault cause she had yield sign. But nowhere in report did it state her view was obstructed by cars parked illegally. Report also states that she hit his car and she was southbound both false. Her damage is both passenger doors completely caved in. his frontend was demolished. If she was southbound than it would be drivers side getting hit cause he was westbound. He recklessly collided into her. She only has liability. My other daughter was passenger now suffering PTSD .

1 Lawyer Answer
Tyler Young
Tyler Young
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Provo, UT

A: Your question is a classic comparative fault question. First, your daughter who was the passenger may have a claim against her sister (collectable from her liability insurance) and the other driver. You should talk with an attorney about her rights.

However, South Dakota has a difficult comparative fault scheme for your daughter who was driving. I am not licensed in South Dakota, but it appears if your driver/daughter is assigned 30% or more of the fault (as determined by a jury, not the police or the insurance company) then she will recover nothing. Nobody can tell you how much fault your daughter has definitively because that's a question for the jury. However, you have pointed to three parties who could have fault: your daughter, the other driver, and possibly the drivers of the vehicles parked illegally. Based on the facts you've outlined, the jury could make any number of determinations of fault and your daughter could prevail.

Don't worry about what the police determined to do. Typically police decisions have minimal relevance in a personal injury case.

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