Devastating left turn accidents occur in a moment, turning a quick run down to the grocer at the corner for a few things into a life-altering nightmare.
Often the consequences of these collisions are the death of the driver or passengers, serious injuries to all involved, and the loss of thousands of dollars due to property damage.
The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for car accident victims harmed through someone else’s negligence.
Our legal team ensures that our clients receive maximum compensation for their damages.
Call our law office at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice. Schedule a free legal consultation with a Chicago left turn accident lawyer.
Crash Statistics Involving Left-Turning Drivers
In a shocking study on crash factors in intersection-related incidents from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Association, a car making left turns is one of the leading ‘critical pre-crash events’ (events that make a crash or collision unavoidable).
Left-turn accidents occur in 22.2% of auto crashes, compared to 1.2%, for right turns.
Most left turn accidents (61%) occur with a motorist turns or crosses an intersection in a left turn lane into oncoming traffic, with only about 3.1%, in the opposite direction when making right turns.
According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Administration), half of an estimated six million car accidents are ‘intersection-related,’ with most being illegal left turn accidents at a yellow or red light.
Taking Steps to Reduce Left Turn Crashes into Oncoming Traffic
The risk of a car accident from left turns is so overwhelming that UPS has implemented a route-optimization strategy for all its delivery drivers, preventing almost all left-hand turns.
Reading these statistics, you might want to know whether your left-turn vehicle crash qualifies for damages.
Are the injuries suffered in the car accident, extensive property damage, lost wages, and medical bills covered by other motor vehicle driver’s insurance?
Contact Chicago left-turn accident lawyers as soon as possible for expert advice—call (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
What Does the Law State About a Motorist Making Left Turns?
Traffic Light Intersections
The following three scenarios can occur when an intersection is approached where left turns are allowed. The unexpected event resulting in a T-bone accident might involve:
- A protected left turn takes place, where the traffic lights with a green arrow on the light cycle indicate that it is permissible to turn left.
- An unprotected left turn takes place where there is no left turn green arrow in the traffic light, and a left turn is made as other drivers in oncoming traffic continue driving straight.
- The vehicle making a left turn must yield to the right of way of oncoming traffic, drive straight, and wait for other vehicles to create a safe opportunity to make the left turn.
If the car turns into a driveway or a side street with neither a traffic light nor a sign, the left turn driver must follow the same rules.
Oncoming traffic will retain the right of way and not have to stop or slow down to allow a left-turning driver to cross.
Every left-turning driver must also allow all pedestrians and cyclists to pass, giving them the right of way to avoid making an illegal left turn.
Who Is at Fault in an Improper Left Turn Accident?
The rule of thumb is that the motorist turning left is generally held liable and given the fault for the left-turn crash.
Left-hand turning drivers must check that their crossing roads are free from all approaching vehicles and other hindrances before making left turns.
A crash usually happens when the driver turning left does not consider the oncoming cars, and an illegal left turn accident occurs.
When Is the Left-Hand Turn Motorist Not at Fault in a Left Turn Accident?
There are a few exceptions where turning drivers are not held accountable for left-turn accidents:
An Oncoming Car That Runs a Stop Sign or Traffic Signal
One of the most notable reasons a left-hand turn motorist is not held responsible is when oncoming traffic fails to obey traffic laws by yielding at a stop sign or traffic signal.
The driver turning left will assume that the oncoming vehicle will yield to the sign or signal, and when this fails, a left-turn accident occurs.
The other driver is then held liable for the collision.
The Oncoming Driver Is Speeding
Another reason left-hand turning drivers are not to blame is when the other drivers in the oncoming vehicles travel over the speed limit when a traffic accident occurs.
The at-fault driver would not be the left-turn motorist. However, the onus is on the left-hand motorist to prove how fast the other driver was moving.
The Oncoming Vehicle Is Driving Dangerously
When the oncoming driver drives recklessly or illegally without a license or under the influence, the left-hand turning motorist will not be liable in a collision.
The last reason the other motorist may be held accountable for the left turn crash is when an unforeseen circumstance occurs while the driver turns left.
An example would be if an animal ran across the road, forcing the left-hand turning driver to come to an abrupt stop or slow down to prevent running over the animal.
If the other driver ran over the animal, did not slow down, or crashed into the left-hand turn driver, they would be held accountable for failing to decelerate.
How to Prove Innocence in Left Turn Car Accident Cases
The at-fault party responsible for the left-hand turn crash must pay for the victim’s damages.
However, determining fault for the accident can be challenging, especially if the other motorist was driving through the intersection.
The following examples of evidence can assist with proving you are not liable for the crash include:
- Police report: Once a crash has occurred, it must be reported to the police immediately. The police officer will answer ‘Where did the accident occur’ and other questions to hold the at-fault driver liable for damages.
- Witness statements: If any other motorists or pedestrians were at the intersection where the accident happened, they would be required to state their account of the accident to a police officer.
- Intersection cameras: The cameras at traffic intersections are an excellent source of evidence and may have recorded the exact sequence of events leading to left turn accidents.
- Property damage: The location and scope of the damage to vehicles and surrounding property can often determine the cause of left-turn accidents and any mitigating factors, such as speed.
What to Do When You Are Involved in a Left Turn Accident Case
Most left-turn accidents result in traumatic experiences from a driver’s improper action.
Most left turn accidents are caused by:
- Driver error and failing to turn safely
- Failing to see the other driver’s actions due to blind spots
- Not using a turn signal
- Distracted driving by the driver traveling on the road straight
- Fast-moving oncoming traffic
- A driver running a red light
- Recklessness by the driver traveling in the opposite direction and driving straight through a red light
You are required by traffic law to stop immediately after being involved in an accident, notwithstanding whether you have doubts about if you collided with any other vehicles, pedestrians, or property.
Evaluate the Scene Where the Accident Occurred
The most crucial factor to consider in any accident is the safety of everyone involved. Switch on your hazards immediately to warn other road users of the accident.
Ensure that any passengers in your vehicle are not injured, and then proceed to check on all the other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians involved in the accident.
Call Emergency Responders
Contact 911 for any accident victims that require medical attention, especially checking for any bumps to the head and neck.
An ambulance will be dispatched to the accident scene to attend to and transport the injured to the nearest hospital.
If the emergency responders haven’t contacted the police, report the accident immediately.
An improper left turn crash report must be filed if any vehicle is damaged. Any claim against the other driver’s insurance company will need the police report.
Write a Statement
When you get home, sit down and write a statement of your account of the accident. Try to include as much detail as possible.
Remember the small things such as turn signals or if it was a red or green light. Remember to note the following:
- The exact location where the accident occurred
- Sequence of events
- Details of all parties involved
- Details of damage to vehicles and other property
- Details of any injuries sustained
Contact a Chicago Left Turn Accident Lawyer to Resolve Your Compensation Claim
Were you injured or suffered property loss by someone turning left?
Contact a Chicago left turn accident lawyer, and allow them to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
We accept all personal injury lawsuits on contingency, where we protect your legal rights and obtain compensation without you paying any upfront fees.
Call a left-turn accident attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 or use the online form for a free case evaluation.