Car crashes can happen in a variety of situations. However, some situations are much more likely to result in a crash because there is a dangerous maneuver involved.
Turning left is one type of dangerous maneuver that often results in an accident. Millions of car crashes each year involve left-turning vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
While the driver turning left is often found at fault for a left-turn crash, that is not always how things play out. Liability for a car crash depends on the specific details of the situation.
Below, we discuss fault for a left turn crash in Louisiana. If you were injured in a left turn crash, our attorneys may be able to help you seek compensation for damages at no upfront cost. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
Why is the Driver of the Left-Turning Vehicle Often at Fault?
The driver of the vehicle turning left is often found at fault for a left-turn crash. This is because oncoming traffic has the right of way.
Under state law (Louisiana Revised Statute 32:122), drivers who are turning left within an intersection must yield to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction and are either within the intersection or close enough to be an immediate hazard.
Case law has also held that drivers who are turning left must use a high degree of care because they are doing something dangerous. That means the left-turning driver would have to prove he or she was not negligent, made the turn safely and the crash was caused by another driver.
Sometimes drivers speed up to make it through an intersection ahead of oncoming traffic. This is a bad idea because accidents are often more devastating when the vehicles involved are traveling faster. You may also be more likely to be found liable for the crash if you sped up. It makes it seem like you did not have enough time to make it through the intersection, which means you were negligent.
When Could Another Driver be Held Liable?
There are various exceptions when someone besides the left-turning driver could be held liable for a left-turn crash. For example, if the driver of an oncoming car ran a red light before crashing into the left-turning driver, he or she may be at least partially at fault for damages.
If an oncoming driver had a yellow light and you had a reasonable belief the driver had enough time to stop before the intersection, the other driver may bear fault.
Sometimes drivers who are turning left have a green light and not a green arrow. They may need to wait until the light turns yellow before they have enough time to make the turn. That means they could be in the intersection turning when the light turns red. If a crash happens at that moment, the other driver may be at least partially to blame.
There are times when something totally unexpected happens during a left turn. For example, an animal or child may have run into the road, causing you to slow down or even stop. If an oncoming driver hits you while you slow down or stop, the other driver may be at fault.
If the oncoming driver was distracted or fatigued, he or she may be partially or even fully at fault. You would need to provide evidence of distraction or fatigue, which is why you should strongly consider working with an experienced Lafayette auto accident lawyer.
It is important to note the burden of proof in an injury claim is on the victim. The burden may be heavier if you were turning left because it is often assumed you are at fault because you do not have the right of way.
You would need strong evidence to prove your claim. For example, traffic camera or dash camera footage or statements from witnesses.
Call Galloway Jefcoat Today to Learn More
For decades, our experienced attorneys have been helping crash victims seek compensation for their damages. We have secured millions on behalf of our clients and there are no upfront fees for our services.
Give us a call today to learn more about how we may be able to help you. We are committed to pursuing full compensation for damages suffered in a crash. We know compensation cannot change what happened, but it is an important part of moving forward for victims.
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Galloway Jefcoat. No upfront fees or obligations. Call (337) 984-8020.