Roundabouts are generally considered a safer alternative to a traditional intersection. However, they usually take some getting used to. If a driver has little experience driving through roundabouts, he or she is more likely to have difficulty navigating through it, increasing the risk of a collision.
Determining liability for an accident in a roundabout can be complicated, as there are various factors that should be considered. Fortunately, our Fort Worth-area auto collision lawyers are prepared to review your claim to help establish who is liable for your damages.
The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
Who Has the Right-of-Way in a Roundabout in Texas?
The driver in the roundabout always has the right-of-way. Drivers attempting to enter the roundabout must yield to the cars already in the traffic circle.
If the driver approaching the roundabout fails to yield to traffic or miscalculates the distance needed to safely enter it, then he or she may be at fault if a crash occurs.
Remember that the driver who violates the right-of-way of another driver, cyclist or pedestrian is most likely at-fault if there is a crash.
Was it a Rear-End Collision?
In most rear-end collisions, the driver in the rear vehicle is at fault. This is usually because the person was distracted or following too closely.
However, in cases of rear-end accidents in a roundabout, determining liability may be a little more complicated. Vehicles in roundabouts are usually near one another due to the construction of a traffic circle. Therefore, a driver who rear ends another might not automatically be liable.
One example where the following driver may not be liable for a rear-end collision is if the lead driver brakes suddenly to yield to traffic entering the circle. Since the lead driver has the right-of-way, he or she should not be letting others into the roundabout Especially when being followed by another vehicle.
However, a lead driver may have to brake suddenly if his or her right-of-way is violated by a driver who fails to yield before entering the roundabout. In that situation, the driver who violated the right-of-way law could be liable if a crash results.
Sometimes a vehicle in a roundabout stops suddenly because a pedestrian is crossing the street where the driver plans to enter. If there is no pedestrian crosswalk at that intersection, the person jaywalking could be liable.
Was One Driver Switching Lanes?
There are some roundabouts that have two lanes, an inner lane that allows a driver to maneuver around the traffic circle until he or she reaches the necessary street exit, and an outer lane that may only go as far as the next specific street exit.
Drivers who are unfamiliar with how roundabouts work may attempt to change lanes within the traffic circle to gain access to a certain exit point. This could be extremely risky because other vehicles may need to stay in the roundabout, creating a perfect scenario for a lane-change accident. If this happens, the person changing lanes while in the roundabout could be liable.
What if the Crash is Due to Poor Road Design?
When roads are poorly designed, it could lead to serious consequences for drivers and others on the road. Correcting road design issues costs a lot of money and there is a much longer process involved to fix it. That means government municipalities may not take immediate action. At least not until there are multiple collisions on the faulty road.
It is usually a lot more challenging to try and hold a government municipality liable for damages from a collision. These cases often require more evidence to prove them negligently culpable.
That being said, there are times when a road’s design is blatantly faulty. For example, if a roundabout does not have clear signs or markings indicating which lane is meant for which exit. Another example of poor design is if there is a pedestrian crosswalk on a roundabout exit. If a pedestrian uses this crosswalk, drivers still in the roundabout could be forced to brake suddenly, increasing the risk of a crash.
Let Us Help. Call Today
Determining liability for an accident that occurs inside a roundabout could be complex. When liability is not clear, the insurance company may try even harder to deny your claim. Without the resources and understanding of the legal process, injury victims may be left paying out-of-pocket for medical bills and other damages.
Let our experienced attorneys investigate your claim and build a strong case for compensation on your behalf. We do not charge you anything up front or while we work on your claim.
Call (817) 920-9000 to schedule a free consultation.