Determining liability in a left turn accident seems cut and dry. Drivers turning left at an intersection must yield to oncoming traffic, so if a collision occurs, it’s the fault of the driver turning left, correct? This is not always the case. There are many factors at play in a car accident, and left turn accidents are no exception. If you have been involved in a left turn accident and you are unsure if you were at fault, a professional car accident attorney like those at Flores Law Group can answer your questions.
Why Left-Hand Turn Collisions Happen
Left-hand turn collisions are common. Why? Left-hand turn collisions can happen for many reasons. The most common is drivers need to understand right-of-way laws or have context for what is and isn’t allowed. Drivers need to understand the proper precautions they should follow to avoid being liable for causing a left turn car accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that left turns cause approximately 53% of cross-path crashes. They also say that 40% of the over 5.8 million police-reported vehicle crashes in the U.S. are intersection-related, most of which occur while making a left turn.
The most common place a left-hand turn accident will happen is at traffic-light intersections. The bigger and busier the intersection, the more likely an accident will occur. People may be in a hurry or distracted by what’s happening around them. Drivers may say to themself, “I’m just trying to make this light.” Let’s review all the ways left-turn accidents can happen.
What can cause a collision:
- Failing to signal 200 feet before yielding
- Yielding to oncoming traffic
- Not being in the proper turning lane
- Distracted driving
- Driving over the speed limit
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Blocked or obstructed view
- Misjudgment of opposing traffic or turning vehicle’s speed
Reading through these, you may have noticed that it would only be the left-turning vehicle’s fault in some scenarios. The oncoming car could be liable, or both/all vehicles could share the liability.
For example, the driver turning left needs to utilize their turn signal; while they might have had enough time to make their turn, the oncoming vehicle did not adjust their speed to accommodate their turn. This series of events resulted in a collision where both parties could be held responsible.
Indiana Left Turn Driving Laws
In Indiana, there are laws specifically regarding drivers completing a left-hand turn. In the event of a collision, an investigator will collect information regarding the crash and see if any of those particular laws were broken. Generally speaking, a driver only has the right of way to turn left when the traffic light gives a green left arrow.
The laws for drivers making left-hand turns include:
- Indicating the left turn at least 200 hundred feet in advance
- Slowing speed while approaching and driving through an intersection
- Yielding the right of way to anyone approaching the intersection or close enough that making a turn would create a danger.
Shared Liability in Indiana
Indiana is a modified comparative fault state. Known as “the 51% fault rule,” modified comparative negligence means that the more you are at fault, the less compensation you will receive in a car accident settlement; vice versa, the less liable you are, the more you’ll receive.
However, in Indiana specifically, you will not qualify for modified comparative negligence if you are over 51% liable for the accident.
If the plaintiff is over 51%, they will be barred from compensation. You are only recognized to have the right to modified comparative negligence if you are under 51% responsible for the accident.
Flores Law Group Is Here to Help
You can help prevent left-hand turn collisions by being an alert and careful driver. Using your signal, not being on your device, and maintaining the speed limit are all simple ways to be a preventative driver.
However, preventative measures only reduce accidents and don’t eradicate them. Left-hand turn collisions will still happen, and you’ll need to take action when they do. Our team of Indianapolis car accident attorneys at Flores Law Group can help you determine the fault of an accident and get you the best care and compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation or give us a call at 317-900-2556.