Contrary to popular belief, the person making a left-hand turn that results in a collision is not always at fault. Though it should be noted that in most cases, they are. There are a few instances that the driver making a left-hand turn may not be entirely at fault.
These instances can include the driver making the left turn having the right of way, the other driver speeding, or unforeseen circumstances. Each state has different traffic laws. However, the majority of them have similar laws regarding drivers making a left turn that get into an accident. It is essential to know and follow the laws in your specific state. Ignorance is not an excuse to forgo liability if you cause an accident.
Furthermore, if you are in an accident and you were the person making the left turn, or you were hit by a driver turning left, it is imperative that you connect with an experienced car accident attorney like Hipskind & McAninch, LLC as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can walk you through the right steps to either defend yourself and/or pursue litigation to recoup your damages.
Left Turn Laws
Typically, if there is an accident involving a person making a left-hand turn, they are found to be at fault. This is true when they do not have the right of way, are making an illegal left turn, or have hit a bicyclist or a pedestrian in the crosswalk unless they are turning with a protected green arrow. There are some exceptions to the rules.
However, the majority of cases fall into this category. If the driver is making a left turn that does not have a green arrow, they must yield to the oncoming traffic. If they decided to speed out in front of oncoming traffic, they may be liable for any collision that occurs. This is true even if the other car hits the person turning left.
The Exception To The Rules
As previously mentioned, the driver turning left is mostly at fault, but not always. Listed below, are a few exceptions to the rules that can possibly shift the liability away from the left-turning driver.
- Speeding: If the car driving straight is speeding, the driver turning left may not be at fault if there is a collision. This is because it may have been difficult for the driver turning left to gauge the speed of the oncoming car. If there are no witnesses or video footage, this can be difficult to prove.
- Running Red Lights: If the car driving straight ran a red light or stop sign, they will almost always be found at fault.
- Unforeseen Circumstances: Any number of uncontrollable events can happen while driving. Some events like animals running into the street, another driver running a stop sign, debris, etc. can shift liability to a party other than the driver turning left in the event of a collision.
When To Connect With An Attorney
Most states have comparative negligence laws that assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in an accident. That percentage can range from zero to 100. It does not matter if you consider yourself to be at fault or not for an accident; it is imperative that you call an attorney as soon as you can.
Additionally, do not admit fault to the other person(s) involved in the accident, witnesses, or police officers. Your attorney can help you to determine who was at fault after they have completed a thorough independent investigation.
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