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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > General > Who Is at Fault in a Left Turn Collision?

Who Is at Fault in a Left Turn Collision?


When a car accident occurs, determining fault for the accident is critical. Who caused the accident will be a significant factor in determining who pays for the accident, and it could even prevent an injured party from recovering compensation. In this post, we’ll examine some common causes of left turn accidents and how to determine who is at fault in a left turn collision.

Marc Brown is an experienced car accident lawyer will work hard to investigate your case to determine the liable party and defend your rights. Contact us today to request a free consultation.

Types of Left Turn Accidents

Left-turn accidents can generally happen in one of three ways:

  • When a car is making a left-hand turn at an intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic lights. The car making the left-hand turn may have a green arrow (giving them the right of way) or a green light, forcing them to yield to oncoming traffic and allowing them to turn only if the coast is clear. Drivers may also run a red light into oncoming traffic.

  • At a stop sign, either a two-way or a four-way stop. The driver who wants to make the left-hand turn is obligated to stop if there is a stop sign, but they may have the right of way to proceed depending on the situation.

  • When exiting a driveway, usually from a place of business, and heading in the desired direction requires making a left-hand turn across at least one lane of traffic. This situation can be very dangerous, as the driver making the left turn is tasked with watching for traffic not just from one direction, but two.

Causes of Left Turn Accidents

The three situations above set the stage for where left-hand turn accidents tend to happen. In all of the above situations, either the driver making the turn or another driver involved could be to blame. Some examples of driver behaviors that contribute to this type of accident include:

  • Failing to look
  • Failing to yield
  • Distracted driving
  • Performing an illegal maneuver
  • Intoxicated driving
  • Aggressive driving

In most cases, left-hand turn crashes occur because a driver runs a stop sign or traffic light, fails to yield to traffic or another vehicle as required by law, or simply does not see an oncoming vehicle. Note that in most cases, with the exception of a stop sign or a green turn arrow where the left-turning driver has the right of way, the left-turning driver likely has the duty to yield to other vehicles on the road. As such, many—but not all—left-hand turn accidents are caused by the negligence of the left-turning driver.

While it is rare, other factors may contribute to a left-hand turn collision as well, such as poor weather, traffic sign/light failure, or a vehicle defect. In most cases, though, one or both of the drivers involved are to blame.

Determining Fault

Speculation regarding the cause of the accident simply won’t do. There are many factors that can contribute to the accident, and without a thorough analysis of what happened, determining fault is impossible. At the Marc Brown Law Firm, we can work on your behalf to hire accident reconstruction and other experts to investigate a claim and compile relevant evidence and data, especially when fault is disputed or unclear. Some types of evidence that can add clarity to a case and help to determine liability include:

  • Vehicles’ positions. The position of vehicles after a left-turn accident can add insight as to who struck whom, potentially solving the problem of determining who was at fault.

  • Eyewitness statements. If there were any witnesses to the crash, these witnesses may be able to offer testimony about which driver breached traffic laws or safety standards, thereby causing the crash.

  • Video footage. While not always available, there are situations where the entire accident is caught on camera, perhaps by a traffic camera or a nearby business’s security camera. Video footage provides straightforward details about how an accident occurred.

In addition to the above, drivers’ statements, police reports, damage to vehicles, skid marks and more can all be analyzed. Sometimes, vehicle event data recorder information is also available.

Injuries & Damages

The injuries and damages that will result from a left-hand turn accident depend primarily on the angle at which the vehicles collided and the speed at which the vehicles were traveling at the time of collision. Many left turn car accidents are T-bone accidents, where the left-turning vehicle is struck on the side and the other vehicle hits them head on. T-bone accidents are extremely dangerous, and often result in fatal or serious injuries. Non-fatal injuries might include bone fracture injuries, spinal cord injuries, facial injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and soft tissue injuries, among others. Psychological injuries are also possible.

In addition to injuries, damage to vehicles may be extensive and expensive. Medical bills will start piling in, and an injured person may suffer lost wages, too. As such, a person who is injured in an accident will need to start the claims process as soon as possible in order to recover compensation for their injuries. Because fault will play a role in the recovery process, knowing who was at fault and how to prove it is critical.

Our Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

At the office of the Marc Brown Law Firm, our car accident lawyer knows how devastating these types of collisions can be. If you’ve been seriously injured in a left turn car accident, you shouldn’t attempt to represent yourself. Instead, call Attorney Marc Brown for a free consultation. We’ll provide you with information about your rights and can recommend strategies on recovering compensation.

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