Left-turn accidents are widespread across all states. These crashes often happen when an automobile operator fails to notice a motorcyclist going straight while making a left at an intersection, causing a collision. The accidents can also occur when a driver fails to yield the right of way to another road user traveling in the opposite direction.
Like in rear-end collisions, determining fault in a left-turn accident is pretty straightforward. That is perhaps because almost all states require vehicles making a left turn to yield to cars moving straight through an intersection unless they are at a protected left-turn intersection.
Understanding Protected And Unprotected Left Turn
Protected and unprotected left turns differ in that there will be a green turn left signal at the intersection in a protected left turn. The presence of the left turn sign indicates that left-turning vehicles have the right of way.
On the other hand, an unprotected left turn means there is no light indicating the right of way for the left turning vehicle. At such intersections, left-turning vehicles must give oncoming vehicles the right of way by default and only enter the intersection when safe. If a left-turning driver enters an intersection under these circumstances and an accident happens, fault will be on them.
The Blame Is Disproportionately Placed On The Left Turning Driver
When the police arrive at an unprotected left turn accident scene, the driver who made a left turn is more likely to get a ticket. But not all unprotected left turn accidents have the left-turning driver to blame. There are some exceptions to this rule.
Exemption To The Left-Hand Turn Driving Rule
While the odds may be stacked against the left-turning driver, the fault may lie with the oncoming driver under some circumstances. One such situation is if the other driver was overspeeding. However, proving overspeeding after an accident can be quite challenging and require working with an accident reconstructionist.
Another exception would be if the oncoming vehicle ran a red light or a stop sign. In such a situation, the blame will be on the vehicle that drove through a red light. Proving running a stop sign is pretty straightforward, especially if there were witnesses to back your claims or if there were cameras at the intersection.
Also, if the oncoming driver engaged in dangerous driving, for example, if they were distracted or driving under the influence of alcohol, they could be held partially liable for the accident.
The Unexpected Happens
Other times, the unexpected may happen. An excellent example is when a left-turning driver takes a left turn when it is safe, but something out of their control happens, and they cannot clear the intersection on time resulting in an accident. Under such circumstances, the driver is not at fault.
Regardless of how simple or complex your case is, proving your argument can be a tough call. “Gathering as much evidence as possible; photos, eye witness statements, police reports, etc., will help build your case in a left-turning accident,” says attorney Felix Gonzalez, a San Antonio-based personal injury attorney. That is why it is beneficial to work with an experienced car accident attorney to help you recover all the damages resulting from the crash.
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