A crash report prepared by the Alabama Department of Transportation shows that left-turn and failure to yield right-of-way accidents are among the leading types of accidents in Alabama. In a left-turn accident scene, it is more likely that the left-turning driver will carry the fault of the accident. However, there are instances where the left-turning driver is entirely innocent.
The Alabama law recognizes such instances, and the court has opened a window for the drivers to overcome such presumptions.
How Is Fault Determined in a Left-Turn Car Accident?
A driver who has been involved in a left-turn accident can attest that it was not an easy ride to determine who caused the accident. The most pressing questions after being in such an accident are; Will I be compensated? Will I be held responsible for the accident?
Fault determination in a left-turn accident is not a straightforward case, even in instances such as ignoring the traffic lights. The cases are complicated because Alabama is a “pure contributory negligence” state.
Collecting Evidence in a Left-Turn Accident
Collecting evidence in a car accident is made problematic by factors such as the victims having no recollection of what happened and lack of tangible evidence. Fault in a left-turn accident can be determined after examination of evidence in the form of:
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Skid marks on the road
- Dashcam or surveillance footage
- Official documentation of the accident, including medical and police report
The more evidence available, the easier it is to determine who is to blame for the accident.
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Alabama Is a Pure Contributory Negligence State
A ‘pure contributory negligence’ state is one where the law states that the injured might fail to get any compensation if they are found to be liable for the accident by a certain percentage.
Pure contributory negligence dictates that even if the other party is at fault, you will not be compensated if you have contributed to the accident by a slight 1%. Therefore, it is critical to build a strong case for yourself and have a sound attorney by your side.
The number of factors to be considered in order to determine the faulty party in a left-turn accident further complicates the situation.
Left-Turn Restrictions in Alabama
Left turns in Alabama are legal as long as the driver is following all the traffic and right of way rules.
Every driver should enter and stay in the furthest left lane when making the left turn. The left-turning driver must yield the right-of-way to all oncoming traffic until it is clear enough for them to make the turn.
A left-turning driver should not assume that the oncoming driver is going to notice him making the turn and slow down. If the driver makes the turn while on other lanes, other than the far-most left lane, and fails to give right of way to oncoming traffic, then the left-turn is illegal.
Legal Obligations of the Left-Turning Driver
To give the right of way, the left-turning driver should follow the traffic signs and be attentive to the activities on the road. The driver should be observant of traffic signs that give them a go-ahead to make the turn or halt and give right of way.
The driver has no legal right to hit a passenger crossing on an adjacent crosswalk or an oncoming driver who missed the traffic signs despite the traffic signs. If two or more cars making a left-turn approach an intersection at the same time, they should line up and make the turn in a single file; behind each other.
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Drivers Who Make a Left-Turn Are Often Blamed for Accidents
The general traffic rule is that all drivers keep right. This automatically makes a left-turn paradoxical. When a left-turn accident occurs, we are often quick to blame the left-turning driver based on the basic right of way rule.
The right of way is the main reason why left-turning drivers are typically blamed for accidents. However, there are instances where the straight-going driver is responsible for left-turn accidents.
Instances Where the Other Driver Can Be Held Responsible for a Left-Hand Turn Accident
Despite the right of way rule, here are some instances where the other driver can shoulder the blame for a left-turn accident:
If the oncoming driver is engaging in distracting activities such as eating, using the phone, or other activities that take their attention from the road, they can be held responsible for the accident.
Missing visual cues such as left-turning traffic heightens roadway risk, and the driver is more likely to be held accountable.
Driving under the influence(DUI) is a fatal traffic crime in all instances. Intoxication exacerbates intersectional road accidents by impairing drivers’ judgment and causing risky, unpredictable roadway behavior.
Intersections have speed limits; if you cause an accident while driving above the speed limit, you will shoulder the accident’s responsibility. High speeds can result in miscalculation of turning time or prevent the driver from visual cues, resulting in a collision.
Running through a Red Light or a Stop Sign
The most common reason the other driver is held responsible for left-turn accidents is that they ignore the traffic lights and signs. If you run a red light when the left-turn driver has a green light, you are likely to be held responsible for the accident.
There would be room for debate if a left-turn accident was caused by unforeseen circumstances, such as an animal crossing the road. If an animal ran to the road as the driver was making a left turn, the oncoming driver ought to have stopped or slowed down.
Get Help from a Left-Turn Accident Lawyer in Alabama
If you get involved in a left-turn accident, you might need the help of a competent advocate to help you sort the issue out. Our lawyers at Morris Bart LLC are competent and well versed to gather proper evidence for your case, structure your claim and handle your case professionally.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation and to discuss your legal options.
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