Visitor Question

I’m at-fault even if other driver was distracted by her cell phone?

Submitted By: GB (Hollister, California)

Driver who hit my car was grabbing their cell phone at the time of the accident. I was turning left coming from a stop sign. I saw the car from afar, which gave me the intent to turn left as I saw no clear immediate hazard. The driver who had the right of way t-boned my car.

The driver admitted she was in a hurry and was grabbing her phone, that’s why she didn’t see me. However, the insurance claims that I have more liability (70-80%) and she has only 20-30% liability and she may claim for more bodily injury damages. This was due to my having a stop sign and the other driver having the right of way. The police report has not been obtained yet.

I need help if the claim is accurate or if I can still fight for this case to make it split liability, or more liability to the other driver who was using her phone at the time of accident. Any recommendations?

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 GB,

Based on the facts, it appears the insurance company is basing its decision on Section 21801 (a) of California Motor Vehicle Code. Section 21801 (a) states in part:

“The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left upon a highway, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”

It also appears the insurance company may be relying on Section 23123 (a). Section 23123 (a) reads in part:

“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.”

Speak with the claims adjuster. Strongly suggest the driver’s violation of Section 23123 requires the driver’s liability well exceeds the current 20% to 30% figure. Doing so may help to change the adjuster’s mind when considering liability.

Learn more here: Cell Phone Distractions

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,


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