Improperly executed turns are the cause of many motor vehicle accidents. In many cases, the driver of the vehicle that made the turn is the one found to be at fault for left turn accidents. Sometimes, however, the other driver, a malfunctioning traffic light, or a vehicle parts manufacturer may be responsible for these types of collisions. A Reno car accident lawyer can review the police reports, photos and videos of the crash scene, dashcam or surveillance camera footage, and witness statements to help determine who should be held liable for injuries caused by left turn accidents.
Who Has the Right of Way When a Driver Is Making a Left Turn?
Normally, unless a driver has a green arrow apparent on a traffic light, whoever is making a left-hand turn at a green light is required to yield to any oncoming vehicles and may only proceed with the turn when it is safe to do so.
If there is no green arrow, the driver making the left turn onto a road or alleyway, or making a U-turn, must yield to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close to the intersection as to cause an immediate hazard.
Instances When the Driver Turning Left May Not Be at Fault
A car accident lawyer in Reno, NV might also see a variety of instances in which the driver who is turning left may not be at fault. These include, but are not limited to:
#1. If another driver who is driving in a reckless manner speed through an intersection where another vehicle is turning left, and a left turn accident occurs, this reckless driver may be fully or partially responsible for the accident. Witnesses may be able to testify to the reckless speeding incident to help demonstrate the wrongdoer’s role in the crash.
#2. If the other vehicle runs through a solid red light and crashes into another vehicle that is making a left turn, the driver who ran the red light is guilty of violating a traffic law and may be held liable for causing the accident.
#3. If a malfunctioning traffic signal causes a left turn accident, the entity responsible for maintaining the traffic light could be held liable for the victim’s injuries.
#4. If the brakes, steering system, or other vehicle parts fail and a left turn accident occurs, the vehicle manufacturer may be liable for damages caused by the accident.
Documenting the Crash Scene Can Help Determine Fault for a Left Turn Accident
Documenting the crash scene and property damage to both vehicles can help a Reno car accident lawyer and investigators determine who is at fault for a left turn accident. It is important to capture photos and videos of dents and other vehicle damage from various angles, skid marks in the roadway, traffic lights, the position of both vehicles, and anything else that may help the injury attorney and the investigators piece together what happened. In some cases, surveillance cameras at area businesses or residences may prove useful as well.
How to Avoid Left Turn Accidents
Understanding how to safely make left-handed turns can help motorists avoid collisions that cause injuries and deaths. To reduce the risk of a left turn accident, motorists should:
- Turn on their blinker approximately 100 feet before reaching the intersection
- Slow down, or come to a complete stop if necessary, before proceeding with the turn
- Scan the intersection to ensure that the pathway is clear of oncoming traffic, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists
- Yield to oncoming traffic unless the traffic signal is displaying a green arrow, indicating that they have the right of way
- Avoid crossing over into other traffic lanes when making the maneuver
Approximately 96% of left turn accidents are attributed to negligent drivers that fail to properly yield. By taking a few precautions when making left-hand turns, avoiding driving distractions, and observing the behaviors of other drivers, motorists in Reno can significantly reduce their risk of getting into a collision.
How to Win a Left Turn Accident Case
You may win a left-turn car accident case if you can prove that you didn’t break any traffic laws at the time of the accident. Some of the key things that you will likely need to prove, include: you weren’t speeding, you didn’t run a red light, and you were not driving while intoxicated.
Providing irrefutable evidence to corroborate your claim increases your chances of winning even when the other driver refutes your claim. Some evidence you may need to prove your innocence includes:
- Police report: Once you report a car crash, a police officer comes to the crash scene to compile an accident report. The report includes the officer’s observations, such as skid marks, witness names and statements, pictures, and other relevant details.
- Witness statements: Anyone who witnesses a traffic accident must give a witness statement. A witness account of the accident can lend credence to your claims of innocence and will likely reveal the at-fault driver. In some instances, the witness may provide camera footage of the accident and verify your account.
- Traffic cameras: Footage from intersection cameras can provide credible evidence to corroborate your account. They capture the exact sequence of events that lead to the left-turn accident.
- Patterns of vehicle damage: Left-turn car accidents result in precise damage patterns. Damage patterns help determine the at-fault driver. The severity of the impact offers insights into the speed at which the accident occurred.
Proving fault is crucial in winning a left-turn car accident case in Nevada since the at-fault driver will be liable for the victim’s damages.
Determining Fault in a Left Turn Accident
Since the driver going straight almost always has the right of way, the driver turning left is often assigned blame in a left turn accident. In the eyes of the law, you should only make a left turn when the road is clear and it’s safe to do so. Luckily, that’s not the only consideration a judge will use to determine fault in a left-turn car accident.
Additional evidence may be used to determine fault, including the accident report, witness testimony, crash scene photos, damage patterns, and video footage. The judge will also consider the attentive or intoxicated state of both drivers when assigning blame for a left-turn accident.
A police officer responding to an accident often uses the damage location and extent to determine preliminary fault in the accident report. Typically, the driver turning left is to blame if the vehicle traveling straight sustains damage to the driver’s side. However, the driver traveling straight can possibly be at fault if they are speeding or running a red light.
Any driver who commits a traffic violation leading to the accident will likely be held fully or partially liable. Traffic violations, such as running a red light, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, or having an invalid driving license, may help shift the blame. Either driver may be partially liable for the accident if found guilty of these traffic violations.
Can I Sue the Other Driver for a Left Turn Accident?
Nevada is an at-fault state. Therefore, it’s important to establish who is liable for the left accident, as it carries huge financial implications. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will shoulder all the costs associated with the damages resulting from the accident.
You may sue the other driver if your car was hit while turning left or the other driver made a reckless left turn while you were traveling straight. While drivers going straight through an intersection typically have the right of way, they may commit a glaring traffic offense. Hiring a lawyer may help you recover damages to cover your car repairs and any injuries you sustained.
Left-turn accidents can be complex. Don’t make any assumptions about the at-fault driver, the severity of your injuries, or whether you have a valid case. A credible accident lawyer can help you pursue justice and compensation.
You should contact a Nevada car accident lawyer immediately if your car is hit while turning left. A seasoned left-turn accident lawyer will examine the circumstances of the accident to determine if you have a case. Your lawyer will gather evidence and supporting documentation if you have a valid case. If necessary, they will hire expert witnesses to help you prove liability and get adequate compensation.
Safeguard Your Rights After a Left Turn Accident
Left-turn accidents can be deceptively complicated. It takes much more than the right of way to determine the at-fault driver. Working with a skilled left-turn accident lawyer in Nevada can help safeguard your rights. Your attorney will sift through the evidence, witness testimony, intersection camera footage, and more to set the record straight.
Your legal team may help you overcome any reckless driving charges leveled against you by the other driver. They can demonstrate to the court who is to blame for the left turn car accident and get you the compensation you deserve.