Anyone with a California driver’s license learned you’re not supposed to make a left turn across traffic unless the path is clear. That’s why most people assume a left-turning car is always at fault in an accident.
Not so fast! In a left-turn accident, the turning car is usually at fault, but not 100% of the time. There could be numerous other factors that place partial or total blame on another party.
Who’s Liable for My Left-Turn Accident?
Left-turn accidents might be called “accidents,” but there’s always someone at fault. The state of California uses comparative fault to compare each person’s level of blame, assign liability, and allow injured victims to pursue accident compensation through personal injury claims.
As the injured victim, you’re eager to find out who’s responsible for paying your medical bills and other costs. Although it’s impossible to say in advance who’s liable for your specific accident, below are the most common parties to hold liability in California left-turn accidents.
Potentially liable parties in your left-turn accident include:
- The left-turning driver
- The driver going straight
- A third driver who did something unexpected or reckless
- Multiple drivers who misunderstood or ignored traffic rules
- A negligent pedestrian who set off the accident
- Someone riding a bicycle, scooter, moped, or motorcycle
- A private company or public agency in charge of the location
- A manufacturer or repair shop involved with a vehicle equipment failure
Many Types of California Left-Turn Accidents
About 22% of all accidents are left-turn accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That means more than 1 in 5 accidents will involve a vehicle making a left turn into, across, or around other traffic.
Left-turn accidents aren’t always as straightforward as they seem. There are numerous situations where dangerous driving leads to severe and traumatic car crashes on California’s roads. Below are some of the most common types of accidents with left turns.
Failure to Signal
The California driver’s handbook instructs drivers to begin signaling for a turn 100 feet before turning. When they fail to do so, they’re technically in violation of the law and may cause an accident because other drivers don’t realize they’re about to turn. Signaling violations can apply to drivers making left turns or anyone else who doesn’t signal when they should.
Speeding Through Turns
Some drivers take turns too fast or generally drive too fast for the road conditions. In this situation, other drivers are at risk of hitting the speeding driver or braking abruptly and causing rear-end accidents. A speeding left-turn driver is also at risk of a rollover accident or slide-off crash.
Rolling Past the Stop Line
Vehicles are supposed to stop at the stop line before looking carefully and proceeding through a turn. However, drivers sometimes roll past the stop line and put themselves dangerously in the path of oncoming cars.
Not Looking Both Ways
Some left-turn crashes happen simply because the turning driver fails to look both ways or another driver fails to look before turning into their path. For example, a driver might not realize traffic is turning into the roadway from an unexpected direction, like a parking lot or side street.
Cutting the Corner
When drivers “cut the corner,” they make a sharp left turn that causes them to cross into someone else’s lane. This is dangerous driving behavior that can bring two vehicles together in a sudden crash.
Trying to Beat Oncoming Traffic
One of the most common causes of left-turn accidents is rushing a turn or rushing through an intersection and trying to beat the traffic. A driver who does this is at risk of being hit by any number of nearby vehicles.
Injured in a Left-Turn Crash? We Can Help With Your Claim
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ve seen many types of left-turn crashes that impact victims’ lives. We have the experience and compassion to help you. Let’s get your case moving with a free left-turn accident case evaluation.
Contact the attorney team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of personal injury law, including left-turn car accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. Call 877-380-8852 today for a free case evaluation.