Visitor Question

Costa Rica Car Accident Question…

Submitted By: Gary (Costa Rica)

I was driving behind a vehicle in the far left lane of a two lane merging area. The main throughway traffic was also 2 more lanes to the left. The driver ahead of me started moving to the right and all of a sudden stopped cold. I swerved left to miss her and my front passenger side hit her left driver side.

I was only going maybe 15KM/hr, however she just stopped cold in the right hand merge lane and I just couldn’t miss her. I felt that she should not have stopped and don’t know why she did. There was no stop sign.

I was going to turn left at the next street so there was no need for my lane to have to stop as it did not interfere in any traffic on the right.

In addition, the lane to the right that she stopped cold in (partially in my lane) did not have any interference with the two other lanes for the throughway traffic. She would have been able to go straight, complete the lane change to the right without stopping, and not interfere in my lane nor in the other two lane of the throughway traffic.

I got the feeling she wanted to try going directly across two lanes which is why she stopped instead of completing her lane change,

then merging over to the right. Who is at fault in this car accident?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Gary,


Although we pride ourselves on knowledge of personal injury law and workers compensation, that expertise is reserved for American laws. In any event we will do our best to answer your question.

From the facts you present we are unable to tell if either of you received a ticket (Citation) from the police when and if they responded to the collision. In most American states police normally do not respond to automobile collisions unless there were injuries, or if the collision was causing the roads to be blocked or traffic to be impeded.

Determining fault is a subjective endeavor. It is usually relegated to the police, the courts, and the insurance companies. In most cases the person who receives the citation is at a severe disadvantage as they are already laboring under a police officer’s decision they were at fault.

Additionally the driver who was following behind is 9 out of 10 times more likely to be considered the “at fault” driver. Although you make a strong case for the other driver’s fault, the problem is if, and when, the case goes to court your observations and opinions about the cause of the collision will not relate well.

The standard in the United States is each driver shall remain at least one car length behind another vehicle for every 10 miles per hour. So if you were doing 15 mph you should have been at least 1½ car lengths behind the other driver.

Unfortunately, regardless of the details of the collision deciding fault will ultimately be left to forces much removed from the collision itself.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: July 16, 2011

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