An auto accident can happen for many reasons. As an auto accident lawyer, I can tell you that one of the most frequent causes of an auto accident is when a driver speeds.
But how fast can one drive without speeding? According to the State of New Jersey:
” The speed limit, unless otherwise posted, is 25 mph in school zones, business, or residential districts; 35 mph in certain low-density business and residential districts; 50 mph on all other roadways; 55 mph on certain state highways (as posted) and all interstates; and 65 mph on certain state highways (as posted).”
OK, you know what the speed limit is on the road on which you are driving. Say you never exceed that limit, but an auto accident happens anyway. Assume further that you did not break any other non-speed related traffic law and did not drive carelessly.
Does it, therefore, follow that you could not possibly be “at-fault” for the accident?
And the answer is,,,,,Not necessarily. You may still be found to have been negligent for going too fast, even if you never exceeded the speed limit.
Surprised? How so, you say?
An Auto Accident from Not Speeding
The reason that a driver can be at fault for “speeding” while observing the speed limit is that, in some situations, the law requires a driver to drive even slower than the speed limit, for safety reasons.
For example, New Jersey law requires that one drive at an appropriate reduced speed when weather or road conditions are bad or when taking a curve, Same goes when one approaches the top of a hill or drives on a narrow or curvy road.
Finally, an “under the speed limit” requirement applies where an unusual hazard exists respecting pedestrians or other traffic, or when approaching or crossing an intersection or railroad crossing.
The upshot of all this is that, if you get hurt in an accident, don’t assume that the other driver is necessarily not at fault, just because he wasn’t driving over the posted speed limit and apparently didn’t break any other traffic law.
Rather, consult an auto accident attorney immediately to evaluate your potential case. What the lawyer tells you may be a pleasant surprise.