Left-Hand Turn Accidents
Devastating left turn accidents happen 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. We ensure that our clients receive maximum compensation for their damages.
Call our Chicago car accident law office at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
Accident Statistics Involving Left-Turning Drivers
The statistics are shocking. In a 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), occurring in 22.2% of car accidents, in comparison to 1.2%, for right turns.
Around 61% of collisions occur with a driver making left turns or crossing an intersection using a left turn, with only about 3,1%, in the opposite direction when making right turns.
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Administration), half of an estimated six million car accidents are ‘intersection-related,' with most being left turn accidents at a yellow or red light, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Administration).
Taking Steps to Reduce a Left-Hand Turn Accident
The risk of an 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 accident qualifies for damages, where perhaps you suffered property loss or serious injury to yourself or your loved ones.
Contact Chicago left-turn accident lawyers as soon as possible for expert advice, enabling them to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve. Call (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
What Does The Law State About a Driver Making Left Turns?
Traffic Light Intersections
The following three scenarios can occur when an intersection is approached where left turns are allowed.
- A protected left-hand 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.
- The vehicle making a left turn must yield to the right of way of oncoming traffic, driving straight, and wait for a safe opportunity to make the left turn.
Should the car turn into a driveway or a side street with neither a traffic light nor a sign, the driver who makes left-hand turns 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 before continuing with the car making a left-hand turn.
Why Is a Left Hand Turn Dangerous?
Left-hand turns require a driver to make several decisions in a few seconds - contemplating the speed of oncoming vehicles, the time before a traffic signal turns from green light to red light, and gauging whether other road users are following the rules of the road.
Apart from these, the following factors also contribute to the dangers of a left-hand turn:
- The mental exertion needed to make a left-hand turn versus a right-hand turn, especially when the driver is tired, hurried, distracted, or intoxicated.
- The need for drivers to cross at least one lane of traffic.
- Traffic is disrupted when left-hand turns are made.
- The obscured or restricted view drivers have of all the traffic lanes.
- Drivers speed up when making a left-hand turn, which can more likely lead to a collision versus a right-hand turn.
- Drivers must use a turn signal when making left-hand turns; not every driver adheres to this rule.
- Left-hand turning drivers must be aware of oncoming traffic from three different directions at all times, and a lapse in judgment often leads to a left-hand turn accident.
- Drivers turning left can ignore the traffic laws, traffic signals, or signs, forsaking the right of way of oncoming traffic, and engage in unlawful actions that can lead to a car accident.
- A motorist turning left failed to calculate how fast oncoming traffic was moving and ran a red light.
Who Is At Fault in a Left Turn Accident?
The rule of thumb is that the driver making the left-hand turn is generally held liable and given the fault for the left-turn accident.
Left-hand turning drivers must check that the roads they are crossing are free from all approaching vehicles and other hindrances before making a left turn. A left turn accident usually happens when the driver turning left does not consider the oncoming cars, and an accident occurs.
When Is the Left-Hand Turn Driver Not at Fault in a Left Turn Accident?
There are a few exceptions where a left-hand turn driver is not held accountable for any ensuing accident that occurs:
An Oncoming Car That Runs a Stop Sign or Traffic Signal
One of the most notable reasons a left-hand turn driver is not held responsible is when an approaching vehicle fails to obey traffic laws by yielding at a stop sign or traffic signal.
The driver wanting to turn left will assume that the oncoming vehicle will yield to the sign or signal and when this fails, a left-turn collision occurs. The other driver is then held liable for the left-turn collision.
The Oncoming Driver Is Speeding
Another reason left-hand turning drivers are not to blame is when the other driver in the oncoming vehicles is traveling notably over the speed limit when the traffic accident occurs.
The at-fault driver would not be the left-turn driver. However, the onus is on the left-hand driver to prove how fast the other driver was moving.
The Oncoming Vehicle Is Driving Dangerously
The last reason the other driver may be held accountable for the left turn accident is when an unforeseen circumstance occurs while the driver is turning 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 does not slow down and crashes 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 party responsible for the accident must pay for every crash victim's damages. However, determining fault for the accident can be challenging, especially if the other motorist was driving straight through the intersection.
The following examples of evidence can assist with proving you are not liable for the accident include:
- Police report: Once an accident has occurred, it must be reported to the police immediately.
A police officer will be dispatched to the accident scene and compile an accident report that includes their observations, such as skid marks on the road, photographs, witnesses' names, statements, and other relevant information.
- Witness statements: If there were any other motorists or pedestrians at the intersection where the accident happened, they would be required to give a statement, of their account of the accident, to a police officer.
They could provide details that could provide extra credibility to any claims of innocence. Witnesses might also have unique video or camera footage of the accident from their cell phones.
- Intersection cameras: The cameras at traffic intersections are an excellent source of evidence and may have recorded the exact sequence of events leading to the accident.
- Property damage: The location and scope of the damage to vehicles and surrounding property can often determine the cause of the accident and any mitigating factors, such as speed.
What to Do When You Are Involved in a Left Turn Accident Case?
Making a left-hand turn resulting in an accident can result in a traumatic experience. The most dangerous aspects of turning in front of approaching traffic are that it can cause significant damage and lead to catastrophic results when the approaching driver collides with another car or truck broadside.
Most left turn accidents are caused by:
- Distracted driving by the driver traveling straight
- Fast-moving oncoming traffic
- A driver running a red light
- Reckless driving by the driver traveling in the opposite direction
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 important factor to consider in any accident is the safety of everyone involved. Switch on your hazards as soon as possible 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 drivers, passengers, or pedestrians involved in the accident.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), most moderate to catastrophic car accidents involving making a left-hand turn in the pathway of other vehicles require injured victims to be transported to the local emergency room.
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 as soon as possible.
An accident report must be filed if any vehicle is damaged or injured. Any insurance claim will need the police report.
Obtain Relevant Information
Ensure that you obtain the contact information of all parties involved and potential witnesses. Ask for full names, telephone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, insurance information, driver's license details, and vehicle registration information.
Take as many photos of the scene, the vehicles and their damage, any injuries to yourself and passengers, license plates, and any skid marks on the road or damage to other property.
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 the:
- 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
Keep a file with this statement, the photos, copies of the police report, and all other evidence of the accident.
Speak With Our Lawyers Today
Speak with an experienced accident lawyer from our law office, ensuring it is an experienced attorney and allowing you to prepare a statement for your insurance company. Let them explain your rights and possible compensation for medical bills or lost wages.
Your attorney can ensure that you do not take fault. Contact your insurance company and file a claim for damages.
Working on Contingency
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers accept all serious personal injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement immediately ensures our clients have legal representation without paying any upfront costs.
Our law firm advances all expenses in resolving a car accident claim and gets paid only when negotiating a settlement or winning a jury trial award. Our "No-Win/No-Fee" Guarantee is simple: We do not get paid if you do not win! Call a left-turn accident lawyer from our law office to schedule a free consultation.
Contact a Left Turn Car Accident Attorney to Resolve Your Compensation Claim
Were you injured or suffered property loss in a left-turn car crash? Contact Chicago auto accident lawyers as soon as possible, and allow them to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
Our legal team promises you will not pay a penny until we can obtain fair compensation on your behalf to resolve your left-turn motor vehicle accident claim. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Call (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.