If you drive in California, you probably drive under the assumption that, if you get into an accident, the driver who is making a left-hand turn is always at-fault for the crash. While this assumption is true in most circumstances, certain exceptions to the rule exist. As a result, it may be difficult for law enforcement, insurance companies, and attorneys to determine who is truly at-fault for the accident. Left-hand turn car accidents require thorough investigation to assign liability.
If you are making a left turn, you only have the right of way if you are approaching a left-turn green arrow. If you are preparing to make a left turn at a green light with no arrow, you must yield to oncoming traffic. You can only turn when the roadway is clear or approaching cars are far enough away for you to make a safe turn. You must also yield to any pedestrians and cyclists who are crossing the street or at a crosswalk.
If you are making a left turn at an intersection where you do not have a traffic light, you must adhere to these same rules. You must yield to all oncoming traffic and you can only turn if the roadway is clear and safe. You must also yield to any pedestrians or cyclists in the area. Because drivers making a left-hand turn rarely have the right of way at intersections, insurance companies and other entities nearly always assume them to be at-fault in an accident.
While left-hand turn drivers do rarely have the right of way, exceptions to the left-hand turn rule exist. If any of these occurrences happen to you while making a left-hand turn, causing an accident, you may only be partially liable for the accident or not liable for the accident at all.
The aftermath of a left-hand turn car accident can be disorienting and scary. However, these moments are crucial to your impending insurance claim or lawsuit – especially if you were the driver turning left. You can take certain steps to help facilitate your claim.
Whatever you do, do not admit fault for the accident until you speak to a San Jose car accident attorney. You may not know the full circumstances of the accident until after the investigation, and admitting fault early on can hurt your claim. Simply collect the information of the other driver, call 911 for medical and police assistance, and take pictures of the scene.
If you are involved in a car accident in California and need assistance filing an insurance claim or lawsuit, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Even if you are unsure who was at fault for the accident, your San Jose personal injury attorney can assist with the investigation.