Left turn car accidents are among the most violent and most often fatal. These occur when one driver is attempting to make a left-hand turn at an intersection and another driver is coming from the opposite direction. In the majority of these cases, the driver attempting to turn left is responsible for the accident for failing to yield the right of way. However, these accidents sometimes occur because the other driver, who was headed in the opposite direction, attempted to beat the yellow light.
In this article, we’ll discuss car accidents involving a left turn and how fault is determined by courts and insurance companies.
Who Has the Right of Way?
The reason why left-turn car accidents are usually the fault of the driver attempting to turn is due to traffic law. The driver turning left has an obligation to yield the right of way to any driver who is traveling in the opposite direction. While this is common sense for most, left-turn accidents are among the most common and most likely to result in fatality.
For this reason, the car making the left-hand turn needs to provide some evidence that they were not at fault for the accident or most police and insurance companies will simply assume the accident was their fault.
Is the Car Making a Left Turn Ever NOT at Fault?
It’s true that in the majority of cases, the left-turn car is at fault. However, it makes more sense to talk about when the left-turn car is not at fault since there are fewer situations when that will be true. The driver who was making the left-hand turn can argue that:
- The other driver was going so fast that the left-turn driver did not have enough time to react;
- The other driver ran a stop sign or a red light;
- The other driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident;
- The other driver was distracted at the time of the accident;
- The other driver was driving on a suspended license/did not have a license;
- Another vehicle entered the fray causing the car making the left turn to slow down;
- The driver making the left turn had a green arrow; or
- A dangerous road condition or mechanical failure caused the accident.
Proving Fault in a Left-Turn Car Accident
Knowing you’re not at fault in a left-turn car accident is much different than being able to prove you’re not at fault. This requires careful planning and thought. You should:
- Be sure you get a copy of the police report and make sure everything in it is accurate;
- Interview witnesses who were also there when the accident occurred and be sure to get their contact information;
- Get video that may be found in security or traffic cameras;
- Get pictures of the road and lines of sight for issues with the design of the intersection or the topography of the roadway;
- Work with an accident reconstruction specialist who can create a plausible scenario showing why you were not at fault for the accident; and
- Subpoena cell phone records to prove that the driver was distracted at the time of the accident.
Talk to a Traffic Accident Attorney Today
The above-listed recommendations are all things that traffic accidents attorneys can do for you to build your case against the other driver. Even if you did violate the law or make some mistake, you may be able to reduce your liability by proving that the other driver was also at fault. Call Brylak Law today and schedule your free consultation. We can discuss your options.