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How to Prove Fault in Intersection 4-Way Stop Sign Accidents

About 4.4 million people are injured in car accidents seriously enough to require medical attention. Another 38,000 people die every year in crashes.

Worldwide, about 20 to 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries that cause long-term disabilities as a result of crashes, too.

Sometimes, however, determining who was at fault for the crash isn’t always as simple as it seems. If you’re in a crash at a 4-way intersection, you might struggle to determine fault. If you can’t prove 4-way stop accident fault, you could struggle to build a lawsuit.

You might not receive the compensation you’re due for the accident, either.

Here are a few tips that can help you determine who was at fault in a 4-way stop sign accident. After reading this guide, you can consult an auto insurance lawyer and start building your case.

Right-of-Way Rules

Nearly 25% of traffic fatalities and half of all traffic injuries are attributed to intersections. Understanding the right-of-way rules involved with 4-way stop sign intersections is essential. You can protect yourself and your legal rights if you understand the laws involved.

Here are four rules to keep in mind every time you stop at a 4-way intersection.

1. Order of Arrival

The first rule is the easiest one: the first driver who stops is the first one who gets to go.

Each time you arrive at a 4-way stop sign, pay attention to the other drivers who are stopping as well. Each driver should proceed through the intersection based on the order that they arrived.

When determining 4-way stop accident fault, you could argue that another driver proceeded after ignoring the fact that you arrived first.

Don’t try to argue 4-way stop accident fault on your own. If you plan on filing a lawsuit, it’s important to find personal injury lawyers you can trust. Their experience and expertise can help you prove stop sign accident fault.

Otherwise, the other parties involved in the crash might try to argue that you failed to recognize the order of arrival instead.

2. Right Has the Right

What happens if two drivers arrive at a 4-way intersection at the same time?

In these instances, the driver who is on the right has the right-of-way.

Remember to always pay attention to the cars around you when arriving at a 4-way stop sign. If you and another driver stopped at the same time, look to your right. If the other driver is on your right side, let them go first.

If the other driver is on your left, you have the right-of-way.

When consulting accident lawyers, make sure to recall key details, including where each car was positioned at the 4-way intersection. If you were on the right side of the other driver, your accident lawyers could argue you had the right-of-way.

3. Drivers Going Straight

What if you and another driver stopped at the same time and the driver isn’t on your right or left? If the driver is across from you, try to determine who is driving straight.

The driver who is traveling straight is allowed to go first.

What if both drivers plan on driving straight through the intersection? In these instances, you’re both allowed to proceed at the same time. There’s no risk of a collision in these instances.

It’s not always easy to communicate with other drivers, though. Try to avoid making hasty assumptions when approaching a 4-way stop sign.

4. Drivers Turning Right

In some cases, a driver across the intersection wants to turn onto the same road you are, instead of driving straight.

If one driver intends to turn left, and the other plans to turn right, the driver turning right has the right-of-way.

What happens if four different drivers stop at a 4-way interaction at the same time? These instances are a little more difficult. There’s no set rule for these situations.

Usually, one driver arrives slightly before the others. Remember, the driver who arrives first has the right-of-way.

In every instance, make sure to proceed through the intersection with caution.

If a right-of-way accident still occurs, don’t hesitate to contact your local personal injury lawyers. Your accident lawyers can determine fault.

Other Variables

Every single car crash is unique. There are often factors that aren’t clear at first. Make sure to hire personal injury lawyers to take your case.

They can complete a thorough investigation to determine the factors that might have impacted your case.

There are other variables that could determine 4-way stop accident fault.

For example, with rear-end collisions, the trailing driver is almost always at fault.

What if the driver in the front was drunk, though? If they stopped in the middle of the road for no reason, they’re at fault.

In fact, about 40% of crashes that result in death are due to alcohol use. Another 30% are due to speeding, while 33% are due to reckless driving.

Meanwhile, more than nine people are killed a day due to distracted driving. Another 1060 people are injured daily in these accidents.

You’re 23 times more likely to crash while texting and driving, too. Unfortunately, one in every three people text and drive.

Here are a few other variables that might determine 4-way stop accident fault.


Exhausted drivers are almost as dangerous as drunk drivers.

If you’re fatigued, your body might shut down. You could swerve, decelerate, or stop suddenly. These sudden reactions could contribute to a crash.

Mechanical Issues

Sometimes, cars fail to function properly. It’s the driver’s responsibility to keep up with their vehicle’s maintenance. If an accident occurs because of poor maintenance, the driver is at fault.

However, sometimes defective parts can cause an accident. In these cases, the driver isn’t able to control the situation. With these instances, the part or vehicle manufacturer will likely share responsibility for the crash.

Drunk Driving

Drunk drivers are unpredictable (to themselves and others). A drunk driver could drive too quickly or slowly. They might make an unexpected stop or swerve into the wrong lane.

In these instances, the drunk driver is at fault.

Determining Fault

First, it’s important to remember that it’s not your job to determine who was at fault for a 4-way intersection crash. Don’t point the finger at another driver.

If you’re in a crash, don’t apologize for what happened, either. Apologies are sometimes seen as an admission of guilt.

Instead, make sure to contact a personal injury lawyer right away. They can take your case and determine fault on your behalf.

If another driver doesn’t use the 4-way stop sign correctly and hits you, they’re likely at fault. You can file a personal injury claim to fight for compensation. The compensation you recover can cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Determining 4-way stop accident fault isn’t always obvious, though. When talking to your accident lawyer, discuss:

  • If the other driver failed to stop at their stop sign
  • Who had the right-of-way right before the collision
  • If you and the other driver arrived at the 4-way stop at the same time

Your personal injury lawyers will start gathering evidence to prove the other driver was negligent. Your accident lawyers will need to prove the driver’s negligence caused the crash.

If the driver failed to follow the rules for a 4-way stop, they were negligent. Their carelessness could have caused your injuries and property damages.

What to Do

There are a few ways you can start compiling information for your claim from the scene of the right-of-way accident.

First, make sure to call the police to report the accident. Every state has different rules for reporting accidents. In some states, you’re legally obligated to report a crash.

Make sure to call the police. They’ll create an accident report, which you can use when building your case.

While you wait for the police to arrive, make sure to avoid small talk. Remember not to apologize or speak out of anger.

Instead, spend your time documenting the scene. You can take photo and video footage using your phone. Gather evidence of:

  • Any injuries you sustained
  • Vehicle damage
  • The entire accident scene
  • Anything you think might have contributed to the crash

Make sure to get the other driver’s contact and insurance information. You’ll need this information to file a claim with their insurer.

Did anyone witness the crash? Get their contact information, too. Your personal injury lawyers might want to contact them later.

Make sure to keep proof of the damages you sustained, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Car repairs
  • Medications
  • Missed work time

Your lawyer will need this information to calculate your losses.

Make sure to visit a doctor after the crash, too. Only a medical professional can assess your health after a crash. Their report could benefit your claim.

Make Your Case: Proving Fault in Intersection 4-Way Stop Sign Accidents

Determining who was at fault at a 4-way intersection isn’t always easy. Don’t try to handle the situation alone. Instead, consider contacting an experienced car accident attorney. They’ll fight with your rights and best interests in mind.

Want to discuss your case with a team of personal injury lawyers you can count on? We’re here to offer any car accident advice you need. Contact us today at Heidari Law Group for a free case evaluation from an experienced car accident attorney.

Sam Heidari

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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