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How Is Fault Determined After a Left-Turn Accident?

Posted on behalf of Anderson Cummings on Jan 14, 2020 in Auto Accidents

painted left arrowMany 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, Stephens, 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.

General Rule

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 travelling 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 Stephens, 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 (877) 920-9009 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form.