He or she may have run a red light, blown
a stop sign, changed lanes without looking, or otherwise turned inappropriately.
The driver has then started the chain of
events leading to the crash.
However, the driver with the right of
way is also considered at fault because
he or she failed to drive defensively—
without the care and caution required
given the driving situation. Perhaps the
driver was speeding, a vehicle control
issue arose, or something entirely different happened. Whatever is the case,
basic precautions taught in driver’s
education classes were not taken; the
driver failed to identify danger, predict
what will happen, decide what to do,
yield. Driving defensively is not just a
good idea, it is the law.
Let’s say a fight breaks out during a
hockey game. At the start of the fight,
one player punches another in the back
of the head. The second player retali-
Laws in every state require drivers to
take all necessary precautions to avoid
an accident, even one primarily caused
by the negligence of another. So, in com-
parative negligence cases, you are look-
ing for the wrongful acts of the driver
Teaching claims adjusters the duty to defend as
defined in the contract is not only a right of our
policyholders but also a sacred trust we should hold
above all other responsibilities.
It is against the law to fail to yield,
and historical data shows that most
claims representatives will figure this
out. These professionals are often sur-
prised to learn that failing to drive de-
fensively is just as unlawful as failing to
ates by whacking the first player across
the mouth with his stick. Before the
game resumes, both players are award-
ed a penalty.
who had the right of way.
We now know which cases to keep an
eye out for and which elements should be
investigated. If you commit yourself to
focusing on the cases most likely to have
been caused by shared responsibility and
look at the lack of defensive driving by
the driver with the right of way, you will
make great improvement. However, you
will not get maximum improvement until
you do one thing more.