Who Is Responsible for a Left Turn Accident?
It is a common occurrence on the roadways of Alabama. A car tries to make a left turn and unexpectedly collides with a car which is driving in a straight line, resulting in injuries for everyone involved. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that left-turning vehicles account for more than 22% of the car crashes taking place at intersections.
When a left turn accident takes place, it is natural for everyone to blame the driver who made the left turn, since they were trying to go against the oncoming traffic. There are, however, some instances where the driver making the left-hand turn might not be at fault at all.
Why Drivers Making a Left Turn Are Often Blamed for Accidents?
Traffic laws place a lot of responsibility on the driver who is attempting to make a left turn against the oncoming traffic. They are required to yield the right of way to the vehicles approaching from the other direction and make a turn only when it is completely safe for them to do so.
Not many drivers, however, tend to follow these rules.
One of the most common mistakes that drivers making a left turn tend to make is that they believe the oncoming driver will notice them, slow down, and allow them to make the turn. If the other driver does not slow down or if they are too distracted to notice that a vehicle is trying to make a left turn, a collision is inevitable.
In some cases, the driver trying to make a left turn might think that they can time and beat the oncoming traffic. In this case, if the driver’s calculations are off even by a few seconds, they might crash into an oncoming vehicle, resulting in a T-bone collision.
Also, many drivers tend to forget the fact that there is an established pecking order at intersections. At any intersection, vehicles that are trying to make a left turn are expected to yield the right of way to the vehicles that are traveling in a straight line.
The underlying reason for such a rule is quite simple. In the US, traffic stays to the right side of the road. So, left turns are given the lowest priority in terms of the right of way. In countries like Japan or United Kingdom, traffic stays to the left side of the road. In these countries, right turns are given the lowest priority in terms of the right of way.
This is why drivers making a left turn are generally blamed for accidents involving left-turning vehicles and vehicles traveling in a straight path.
There are, as mentioned above, a few instances where the other driver can be held responsible for a left turn accident.
Left Turn Accidents Where the Other Driver Can Be Held Responsible
- If the driver approaching from the other direction exceeds the speed limit and crashes into the vehicle making a left turn;
- If the driver runs a red light and crashes into the vehicle making a left turn;
- If the driver is impaired as a result of consuming alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications;
- If the driver is distracted and fails to keep their eyes on the road for some reason – texting, talking on the phone, talking to the passengers, eating, or drinking.
Tips to Avoid Left Turn Accidents
- Always look to your left, right, and then left again before attempting to make a left turn at an intersection.
- Slow down and drive defensively, even if the path is clear and you have the right of way.
- Make sure your foot is right on top of the brake while you make a left turn.
- Use the turn signals to let other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians know that you are attempting to make a left turn.
Establishing Liability in Left Turn Accidents
It should be noted that establishing the liability of the other driver in a left turn accident can be a difficult task due to the widely held belief that vehicles making a left turn are usually responsible for such accidents.
More importantly, Alabama is one of the few states that follow the doctrine of ‘pure contributory negligence’ when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. Under the doctrine, the plaintiff is eligible to recover damages from the defendant only if they can clearly establish that the accident was caused as a result of the defendant’s actions alone.
If, on the other hand, the plaintiff is found to have contributed to the accident even by a very small margin, they will not be able to recover any compensation from the defendant.
This is why it is essential for you to hire a committed and resourceful personal injury lawyer who can establish the defendant’s guilt in court and help you recover an adequate amount of compensation.
Left Turn Accident Lawyers in Alabama
J. Allan Brown is one of the most highly regarded personal injury lawyers in Alabama. He can thoroughly review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. And if it is determined that the case is worth pursuing, he can devise a the most effective strategy to recover maximum compensation from the defendant and/or their insurance company.
If you have been involved in a left turn accident and need legal help, contact the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC on 251-473-6691 for a free consultation and case assessment.