Many assume that the driver making the left turn is always at fault in a left-turn crash, but that is not always the case. Since no two accidents are exactly the same, there are times when the other driver may be to blame.
Below, Anderson & Cumming’s Fort Worth car accident attorneys discuss fault in left-turn accidents and when the driver making the left turn may not be held responsible. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
The general rule is that when a driver is making a left turn, he or she only has the right-of-way if there is a green left-turn arrow. Without a green left-turn arrow, the driver must wait until all oncoming traffic has cleared or is a safe distance away, including pedestrians and bicyclists.
Oncoming traffic has no obligation to stop or slow down for drivers who wish to make a left turn if there is no green left-turn arrow. Since it is the left-turning driver’s responsibility to yield to oncoming traffic, the left-turning driver is typically held liable for collisions.
Exceptions to the General Rule
There are a few situations where the left-turning driver may be held only partially at fault for an accident or found to have no fault at all.
- The oncoming driver was traveling well over the speed limit. In these situations, both drivers could be partially to blame for a crash.
- The oncoming driver failed to stop at a stop sign or red light. Witness statements or traffic camera footage may show this violation.
- An unexpected event forced the driver who was turning left to swerve, slow down or stop. If the left-turning driver had the right-of-way, he or she may only hold partial fault for the crash.
- The oncoming driver was distracted or operating his or her vehicle illegally.
Types of Left-Turn Accidents
Left-turn crashes commonly occur when the left-turning driver is hit by a vehicle that is:
- Moving left or right at an intersection
- Approaching from the opposite direction
- Also making a turn
Why Are Left Turns More Dangerous Than Right Turns?
Left turns are among the most dangerous driving maneuvers for any driver for many reasons:
- A left turn is made against traffic, disrupting the traffic flow.
- Drivers must turn across at least one lane of traffic.
- Drivers typically accelerate into the turn.
- The driver’s line of vision may be blocked due to oncoming vehicles.
- Drivers may fail to signal the turn.
- Drivers may misjudge the speed of other vehicles.
- Drivers may misjudge the distance that must be traveled.
- Left turns typically require more physical and mental effort compared to right turns.
Contact a Licensed Attorney for Help
If you were injured in a left-turn collision, the experienced lawyers at Anderson & Cummings may be able to help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and learn about your legal rights. There are no upfront fees and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for you.
Call (817) 920-9000 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form.