Any type of car accident is a stressful event, but when you’re involved in a left-turn car accident, the end result can be quite serious. Left-turn accidents are common and are usually the fault of the person turning left. While that is the typical conclusion, it’s not always the case. Many factors may lead to a left-turn car accident, and many of those factors will play a role in determining who was at fault in the auto accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that turning left is one of the leading causes of car accidents with 22% of all car accidents involving a left turning vehicle and 53 % of all cross-path accidents resulting from left turns. The NHTSA estimates that almost half of the 6 million auto accidents that occur each year are “intersection-related” and that the majority of these are left turns. Left turns are so risky for professional drivers that the UPS company has even devised a driving strategy for its truck drivers to avoid left turns as much as possible while UPS drivers deliver packages across the nation.
In most situations, when you make a left turn the traffic in the opposite lane clearly has the right of way. When making a left turn across traffic, it is your responsibility to make sure the roadway ahead is clear and that you can make your left turn without getting struck by oncoming vehicles. If you make a left turn and someone in the opposite lane hits you, the accident will always be your fault, and there are few exceptions to this rule.
Left-turn Car Accidents
While road rules vary in each state, some facts are true for many of the most common types of car accidents when it comes to determining liability. Liability might not be assigned to the driver making a left-hand turn if that driver had the right-of-way to make the turn. For example, if a driver has a green left turn arrow, but another driver runs the red light and collides with the car making the left-hand turn, the driver that ran the red light would be liable.
In another scenario where a driver is negligent while driving by texting or running a stop sign, the driver making the left-hand turn might not be at fault. According to traffic laws in most states, liability depends on the right-of-way, the duties of each driver, and what a “reasonable and prudent” driver would have done in the same situation. When a driver is behaving in a reckless manner, it may matter who had the right of way. The negligent driver usually will be considered at least partially responsible for the collision.
Unexpected circumstances making the left-turn driver stop or swerve while executing the left turn might also result in the fault of someone other than the driver. If the driver of the second vehicles was intoxicated, distracted, drowsy, or otherwise negligent, he might be at least partially at fault for a collision regardless of the left-hand turner’s fault.
If you’ve been involved in a left-hand turn accident, it’s highly recommended that you find a skilled car accident attorney in your area right away. There are statutes of limitations on all personal injury cases, and you’ll need a car accident lawyer on your side early on to navigate you through this difficult process.