left turn accident

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.

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