Left Turn Accidents: Who is Liable?

A survey from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that a left turn driver is often the reason for crashes that occur while a vehicle is turning or going through an intersection.

This may not come as a surprise considering most people know that making a left turn is far riskier than making a right one. But did you know that left turns are considered so dangerous that the leading ground courier companies in the world purposely structure their routes so as to avoid them?

In talking to a CNN reporter, a UPS representative said that the company’s routes favor right hand turns as much as possible. They know exactly how unsafe left-hand turns are, plus they are considered wasteful (from a fuel efficiency standpoint) in the US and other countries where people drive on the right side of the road.

Why are Left Turns so Dangerous?

If a company like UPS recognizes the need to restructure all their routes so their drivers can avoid making left turns whenever possible, you know there are good reasons for it. But why exactly are left turns so dangerous?

When you make a left turn, you cross an intersection in front of oncoming vehicle traffic. Judging the amount of acceleration required to complete the turn while avoiding a collision with a vehicle coming from the other direction can be incredibly difficult.

People who drive larger vehicles, like full-size pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs, may not have a clear view when making a left turn. This may cause them to miss something important – like someone trying to cross the road. In some cases, left turn drivers forget to use their turn signal, which can be catastrophic for other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists on the road.

Who is Responsible for a Left Turn Accident?

In these cases, the general assumption is that the driver who was turning left is responsible – and thus, liable – for the crash. While this may be true in some cases, it’s not always that way. Other drivers or a third party could be at fault, partially, or fully. For example:

  • A vehicle crossing the intersection from the other direction may cause a crash by going over the speed limit.
  • If an oncoming vehicle runs the red light, and a left turn driver has a green arrow, a collision may occur.
  • If the driver of the other vehicle was legally intoxicated while driving, a crash may occur.
  • If the driver of the other vehicle was texting or reading a text while driving, they might have been distracted enough to cause the crash.
  • If the vehicle turning left didn’t accelerate as required to complete the turn due to negligent maintenance or a defective vehicle part, that can also result in a crash.

After the accident, a thorough investigation would be necessary to find the precise cause of the crash as well as which factors contributed to it. If it is found that both drivers were partially responsible, Georgia’s comparative negligence laws may apply.

In Georgia, a modified comparative negligence standard is used, i.e., an injured party can receive compensation if they are 49% or less at fault for the accident.

Depending on the situation, a third party such as the manufacturer of the vehicle or a component of the vehicle may also be responsible for the crash. In these cases, victims can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer, designer, distributer, or anyone within the supply chain.

If you or a loved one were in a left turn car crash, make sure you work with an attorney who has a skilled team of investigators. Examining the site of the crash and state of your car can help investigators get a clearer picture of exactly who was responsible. Experts will also inspect the extent of the vehicle damage, because the greater the damage, the more likely it is that the driver was speeding.

With the help of an accident reconstruction specialist, your attorney may be able to use this damage to figure out how the crash happened, who may have caused or even contributed to it, and whether either driver was speeding.

How to Avoid a Left Turn Crash?

Here are a few steps that can help you avoid a left turn crash:

  • Be ready to brake while turning: If you are ready to apply brakes quickly, it could prevent a crash.
  • Use your turn signal: Always signal before you brake to warn other drivers that you’re about to turn.
  • Take a defensive approach: Don’t expect oncoming drivers to yield to you; they have the right-of-way.
  • Never speed: Speeding is always a bad idea, especially if you are about to make a left turn. It can increase your chances of crashing into another vehicle or a pedestrian.
  • Don’t turn if you don’t have a clear view: Bright sun, sudden rain showers, or some objects on the road may prevent you from seeing whether it is safe to turn. Wait until you have an unobstructed view.

Get a Free Legal Consultation with a Seasoned Georgia Auto Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one got hurt in a left turn accident in Georgia, you may be able to recover damages. Before you talk with the insurance company, make sure you get in touch with a knowledgeable and skilled personal injury attorney. They can evaluate your case and inform you of your legal rights and options.

Our auto accident attorneys at Stein & Fox understand that a vehicle crash can forever change the victim as well as their family’s lives. If you were hurt due to partial or complete fault of someone else, you shouldn’t have to pay the price for it. Call us today at (770) 961-1700 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Can Insurance Companies Follow Me After an Accident Injury?

It is vital to understand that an insurance investigation could occur, regardless of whether you were injured in a car crash, slip and fall, or any other reckless act by another. The thought of an investigation can lead to anxiety and frustration for many injury victims.

The investigation’s specific nature will depend on the claim, but insurance claims investigators may follow you, attempting to uncover evidence that could harm your claim. You should be aware of certain investigative approaches and precautionary measures that can help protect your privacy and the validity of your claim.

Key Points on Personal Injury Investigations

For insurance companies, claims investigations are a routine and necessary part of the business. Such investigations form a part of the risk management process to avoid invalid or fraudulent insurance claims. Remember, it isn’t personal. Participate in the process as advised by your personal injury lawyer. It is crucial to cooperate fully with your attorney to achieve the desired results.

Insurance Personal Injury Claim Investigation Strategy: ISO Claim Search

ISO stands for Insurance Services Office, which is a resource for property and casualty insurance providers. These ISO search reports can only be accessed by insurance industry professionals or self-insurers, especially claims adjusters working on claims for insurers.

If you are injured in a vehicle wreck or are filing another type of injury claim, the insurance adjusters will start by investigating information on the claimant. This information includes name, social security number, address, phone number, driver’s license, and so forth. In all likelihood, the adjuster will run a search to review your claim history.

Be forthright with your personal injury lawyer throughout the injury claim process. With the understanding that insurance providers can view your personal and financial information, you should be honest and fully disclose any previous or current issues to your personal injury lawyer. They can project how specific information may impact your claim’s outcome. With that said, they can provide valuable guidance on how to proceed with your claim.

Insurance Personal Injury Claim Investigation Strategy: Social Media

Social media has made it much easier for insurers to collect information on claimants. Some insurance companies have a designated social media investigative team whose only job is to unearth information on claimants.

In a social media report, investigators will thoroughly vet all social media and online profiles of the claimant, including Instagram, Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a regular Google search.

A social media investigator will be seeking information such as:

  • Do social media postings reflect the injury listed in the claim?
  • Do posts hint that a claimant can undertake more physically than they state?
  • Do the social media posts reflect that the claimant is under financial strain?
  • Are there any indications of potential fraud?

Insurance Personal Injury Claim Investigation Tactic: Surveillance

Video surveillance might be used in cases involving severe injuries. Such surveillance occurs when a claimant is recorded engaging in routine activities. The camera footage is used to determine whether the claimant’s injuries are aligned to those in the claim report and to establish if the report is correct or fraudulent.

Video surveillance often occurs after a disposition or recorded statement as the claimant states facts related to what they can and cannot undertake and the injuries sustained in the incident. The claimant’s case might be compromised if video surveillance shows them engaging in an activity that goes against their deposition or recorded statement.

Insurance Personal Injury Claim Investigation Tactic: Recorded Statement

After an auto accident or injury claim, an insurance investigator may reach out to you directly to provide a statement about the incident and any injuries you may have endured. They will record this statement and use it in legal proceedings.

These interview questions typically follow a pattern. Importantly, you must work with your attorney to make sure that the statements you provide appropriately reflect the accident and cannot be used against you.

Protecting Your Privacy and Your Insurance Claim

It is crucial to prepare your recorded statement properly and follow any advice your auto accident attorney may provide. Following are some important pointers to help you prepare:

  • Be forthright about the events surrounding the incident
  • If you cannot understand a question, seek clarity before you answer
  • Use simple language and avoid exaggerations such as ‘the car came out of nowhere!’ And ‘the car was going at 120 miles an hour!’ as such statements raise doubt on your awareness during the accident and your ability to correctly describe the occurrence
  • Keep your answers short and succinct
  • Do not embellish the incident, including the severity of your injuries
  • Remain polite throughout the discussion
  • Don’t agree to any settlement offers

Hire a Skilled and Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney Today

When you work with an attorney at Stein & Fox in your auto accident claim, you can rest assured that we will work tirelessly to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. We understand that insurance company representatives are protecting their own interests by trying to minimize claim amounts.

With our attorneys by your side, you can expect maximum compensation for your losses. For a no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team, call today at (770) 961-1700.