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Who is at Fault in Left-Hand Turn Accidents?

By Butler Prather LLP on November 26, 2019

No matter how much experience you have when it comes to driving, left-hand turn can still seem daunting. Left-hand turns can lead to serious accidents and major injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 61% of crashes that happen while turning or crossing an intersection involve a left-hand turn. When a left-hand turn accident happens, it is important to establish who was at fault.

Who is at Fault in Left-Hand Turn Accidents?

Why are left-hand turns so dangerous?

These turns often lead to precarious situations due to the nature of when they are made. Unlike a right-hand turn, left-hand turns are made across the path of oncoming traffic. We have all been in these situations – sitting patiently in the left lane for either the oncoming traffic to pass or for their signal to turn yellow so we can finally make the left turn. We have all been on the other side of that scenario as well – approaching an intersection with a driver wanting to make a left-hand turn in front of us.

These accidents, regardless of who is at fault, can lead to serious head-on or T-bone collisions, causing major injuries to drivers and passengers. It is not uncommon to see the following injuries as a result of a left-hand turn accident:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions

Who is at fault in a left-hand turn?

Determining fault in a left-hand turn collision depends on a variety of factors, including traffic laws and the actions of all drivers involved. In most jurisdictions, drivers are required to wait patiently when attempting to make a left-hand turn with oncoming traffic. They may make the turn once traffic has passed or when the lights have changed. There are some lights that clearly indicate when drivers cannot make a left-hand turn. Due to these laws, it is generally assumed that the driver making the left-hand turn is at fault.

In reality, there are times when the other driver is at fault for the crash. The following are scenarios when the left-hand driver may not be to blame:

  • The oncoming vehicle approached the intersection at a very high rate of speed and was unable to stop, even after seeing the other vehicle making the left turn.
  • The oncoming vehicle intentionally or unintentionally drives through a red light.
  • The vehicle making the left-hand turn started their turn when traffic was clear and safe to do so, but they unexpectedly slowed down while turning.

What to do after a left-hand turn accident

If you are involved in a left-hand turn accident, you may need to speak to an Atlanta car accident attorney. A lawyer can help determine who is liable for the incident and advise you on the best path forward. If someone else was at fault for your left-hand turn crash, you could be entitled to compensation for your:

  • Medical expenses related to the incident
  • Lost wages and benefits if you cannot work
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of personal enjoyment damages

Even if you do not believe you were at fault for a left-turn accident, please understand that the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier may try to pin some of the blame on you in order to lower the amount of money they have to pay in a settlement.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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