Left turns are a major cause of car accidents. In a study looking at accidents occurring at intersections, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that over 22% of crashes happen because of a left turn. If you have been hurt in a left turn crash, you may wonder who’s responsible. Speaking with an Alabama car accident attorney can help you understand your case and decide whether or not to take legal action.
Failure to Yield
Most left turn accidents occur because of a failure to yield. At a standard intersection, the person driving straight through an intersection has the right of way over a person driving the opposite direction and turning left. The driver turning left is expected to stop, wait for the intersection to clear, and proceed with their left turn.
However, everyone knows drivers that do not quite follow the rules of the road. Perhaps someone thinks they can make it through if they hit the gas, or they know that the other driver is likely to slow down and let them through to avoid an accident. Whatever the reason, many people turn left when it is unsafe to do so.
When this causes an accident, the driver turning left is typically found to be at fault. This means that they could be held financially responsible for damages.
When the Driver Turning Left May Not Be Liable
While the left turn driver is liable in the vast majority of left turn accidents, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. There are circumstances in which the other driver could be the responsible party. Examples include:
- If the driver heading straight is speeding and strikes the left turn driver
- When the driver heading straight runs a red light and causes the accident
- The person driving straight is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and drives unsafely as a result
- The driver going straight is distracted and does not take preventative measures to avoid the crash
Avoiding Left Turn Accidents
A few key tips can help drivers avoid left turn accidents. Avoid accidents and potential financial consequences with these guidelines:
- Check left, right, and straight before making a left turn. If you are unsure about whether or not you can clear the intersection before someone driving straight reaches it, wait until they pass.
- Drive defensively. Even if you are in the right and another driver causes the accident, it is always better to avoid a crash than to be stuck working out compensation afterwards.
- Do not attempt to make a left turn unless you can see that traffic is clear. This might mean waiting until SUVs, vans, and other large vehicles in the opposing left turn lane are out of the way.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Left Turn Accident
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are while on the road, there will always be reckless drivers putting others at risk. If you get hurt in a left turn accident and you believe the other party is at fault, it is important to discuss your options with an attorney as soon as possible.
Alabama law follows the contributory negligence legal doctrine. If the victim of an accident is found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, they cannot recover damages through the civil court system. Insurance companies use this to their benefit while negotiating settlements. If you try to negotiate with them on your own, you risk losing any chance at compensation. An attorney can work with you to collect evidence, build your case, and hold the other driver accountable for their actions.
When you meet with your Alabama left turn accident attorney, supply all the evidence you have. This includes police reports, medical reports and bills, photos of the accident, and witness statements. To have any chance at a fair settlement, you need to prove that the other drive was indisputably negligent in their actions.
Explore Your Legal Options Now You should reach out to a personal injury attorney in Alabama as soon as possible. We know it is difficult while you are healing from a crash and trying to juggle other obligations, but your attorney can take care of the legal and financial side of your accident while you focus on recovering. Reach out to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. now to figure out what your next step should be. Message us online or call us at 251-432-0612.