How Do You Prove Failure to Yield After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?
Intersections, roundabouts and merge lanes are all areas where drivers in Pennsylvania may have an obligation to yield. They are also among the most common areas where car accidents occur. Failure to yield is among the leading causes of car accidents in the Commonwealth, and while drivers’ rights and responsibilities are clear, it is equally clear that many drivers don’t know (or simply ignore) the law.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who failed to yield, how do you prove that the other driver was at fault? While this might seem like a he-said-she-said scenario, there are several ways to prove a driver’s failure to yield under Pennsylvania law.
What Are Pennsylvania’s Laws on Yielding?
Before we talk about the ways to prove that a driver failed to yield, we should first cover Pennsylvania’s laws on yielding. Drivers have a duty to yield in several circumstances, and the law clearly specifies when this duty applies. Here are some of the most common examples:
- Turning Left with a Vehicle Approaching from the Opposite Direction – Unless otherwise indicated by a traffic signal, a driver preparing to turn left must yield to an oncoming vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.
- Entering a Roundabout – Drivers approaching a roundabout must yield to all vehicles that are already in the roundabout.
- Approaching a Four-Way Stop – When approaching an intersection with four-way stop signs, a driver to the left must yield to a driver who is coming from the right and arriving at the intersection at approximately the same time.
- Merging Onto a Public Road or Highway – A driver approaching a public road or highway must yield to all drivers currently on the road or highway. This is true whether the driver is in a merge lane or waiting to make a left-hand or right-hand turn.
- Passing a Slower-Moving Vehicle – When attempting to pass a slower-moving vehicle, a driver must yield to oncoming traffic (from ahead or behind) before changing lanes to execute the pass.
What about approaching a yield sign? The law clearly addresses this scenario as well. Under Section 3323(c) of the Pennsylvania Statutes:
“The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall in obedience to the sign slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and, if required for safety to stop, shall stop . . . . After slowing down or stopping, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute a hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection of roadways.”
The Pennsylvania Statutes also address liability when a driver causes an accident after passing a yield sign. After explaining the duty to yield, Section 3323(c) goes on to state that “[i]f a driver is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection or junction of roadways after driving past a yield sign, the collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of failure of the driver to yield the right-of-way.” While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver who passes a yield sign is liable in the event of a crash, it creates an assumption that the crash was the result of a failure to yield.
How Do You Prove that a Driver Failed to Yield?
Along with this “prima facie” evidence in cases involving yield signs, there are several other ways to prove that a driver failed to yield after a car accident in Pennsylvania. While the specific types of evidence that are available in any particular case will depend on the circumstances involved, some examples of the types of evidence that may be available include:
Traffic or Surveillance Camera Footage
If your accident happened at an intersection or near a highway overpass, it may have been caught on video. Traffic or surveillance camera footage of a car accident is among the strongest types of evidence available.
Cell Phone or Dash Camera Footage
Cell phone or dash camera footage of the accident can serve as strong evidence as well. If you, the other driver or a witness captured footage of the crash, our lawyers may be able to use this to seek just compensation on your behalf.
Eye Witness Testimony
Even if your accident wasn’t caught on video, our lawyers may still be able to obtain testimony from eyewitnesses. If eyewitnesses can explain that they saw the other driver fail to yield before causing the accident, their testimony could be key to recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
Forensic Evidence from the Crash Site
Forensic evidence such as tire marks, damaged road signs or foliage, and debris on the side of the roadway can also assist with establishing liability after a car accident involving failure to yield. To collect this evidence before it disappears, it is important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
The Damage to Each Vehicle
The location and extent of the damage to each vehicle can also help with proving a driver’s failure to yield. Here, too, gathering the evidence before it disappears is important—and this is another reason why you should discuss your car accident with a lawyer right away.
The At-Fault Driver’s Statements or Social Media Posts
If the other driver admits to failing to yield (or not knowing that he or she was supposed to yield), your lawyer may be able to use the driver’s own statements to establish liability. The same is true if the driver posts about causing the accident on social media.
The Police Report
The police report can be helpful for establishing a driver’s failure to yield in some cases as well. While the police report itself may not be admissible as evidence in court, it may still prove useful in insurance settlement negotiations, and it may provide insight into other types of evidence that are available.
Request a Free Consultation with a Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you need to know more about proving your legal rights after a car accident involving another driver’s failure to yield, we invite you to get in touch. With offices in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Easton and Stroudsburg, we handle car accidents statewide. Call 888-777-7098 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.