Who is at Fault for a Left Turn Accident?
Left turn accidents are notoriously common on our roadways. Reports from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) say that left turn accidents account for approximately 22% of all automobile accidents in the country.
What Makes a Left Turn So Dangerous?
There are a number of reasons why making a left turn is considered a risky maneuver by many:
Driving Against the Flow of Traffic
Whenever you make a left turn, you tend to disrupt the natural flow of traffic. You have to watch out for oncoming cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians, many of whom might not even notice your vehicle attempting to turn left.
If you misjudge the speed of the oncoming vehicle and crash into it, or if the oncoming vehicle fails to notice you and crashes into your vehicle, it can result in a T-bone collision.
Many vehicles these days have wide A-pillars, which are designed to support the roof, hold the windshield firmly in place, and to minimize the damage caused to the vehicle in the event of a rollover. The problem with a wide A-pillar is that it tends to partially obstruct your view and create a blind spot, as a result of which you might not be able to get a clear view of the oncoming traffic – bicycles and pedestrians in particular – while making a left turn.
Accelerating While Turning Left
A vast majority of drivers tend to accelerate while attempting a left turn at an intersection, just so they can complete their turn quickly. The problem, however, is that most of the time, the oncoming vehicles also tend to drive at high speed. So, if you misjudge the speed of the approaching vehicle even by a second or two, a crash may be inevitable.
Turning Left at Unfamiliar Intersections
Making a left turn at an unfamiliar intersection, in particular, is extremely risky. Since you have no idea how wide the intersection actually is, you might misjudge the amount of time needed and the distance you have to cover in order to complete the turn. This, needless to say, increases the risk of a collision considerably.
Who is at fault in a left turn accident?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors.
If you misjudge the speed of the oncoming vehicle while making a turn and crash into it or if you hit a bicycle or pedestrian who was in your blind spot, you are likely to be held liable for the accident.
The other driver can be held liable for the accident under the following circumstances:
- If they ran a red light;
- If they were driving over the speed limit;
- If they were drunk or under the influence of drugs;
- If they were texting or talking on the phone.
How to minimize the risk of left turn accidents?
The risk of left turn accidents can be minimized to a great extent by taking the following safety precautions.
- Reduce your speed as much as possible before turning left at an intersection.
- Use your vehicle’s turn signal to let everyone know that you are about to turn left.
- Look for oncoming vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians – directly in front of you as well as on either side.
- Make sure you yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Do not try to beat the oncoming traffic by making a quick turn.
- Whenever possible, avoid making a left turn altogether. It might take you a bit longer to reach your destination using a right-turn-only strategy, but it can reduce the risk of collisions to a considerable extent.
What you should do if you are injured in a left turn accident?
You are required to report a left turn accident to the police if it results in:
- Injuries to yourself and to the passengers in your vehicle, if any;
- The death of a passenger in your vehicle;
- Damages to your vehicle, the cost of repairing which will exceed $500.
The police report must be filed within 10 days from the day of the accident.
The No-Fault System in Kentucky
Under the no-fault system, drivers in Kentucky cannot sue others or be sued by others in the event of an accident, except under the following circumstances:
- If the victim’s medical expenses exceed $1,000;
- If the victim suffers bone fractures;
- If the victim is permanently disfigured;
- If the victim sustains a permanent injury;
- If the victim sustains a mortal injury and dies as a result.
You have, however, the right to opt out of the no-fault system if you want. If you do, you will be able to sue other drivers without any restrictions in the event of an accident. At the same time, you can be sued by other drivers as well.
Left Turn Accident Lawyers in Kentucky
John H. Ruby & Associates has extensive experience successfully representing victims injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents in Kentucky. We work closely with our clients, and we have the knowledge, skills, resources, and commitment to help ensure that they obtain maximum compensation for their injuries.
Call us today at 502-895-2626 or message us online to schedule a free consultation. You may also stop by our Louisville office in person at your convenience.