In a Mississippi car accident involving a driver making a left turn, the driver making that turn is usually considered to be at fault. That’s because Article § 63-3-803 of the Mississippi Code requires drivers making a left turn to yield the right of way.
However, other drivers or pedestrians involved in a left-turn accident can also be held responsible. An analysis of the circumstances that caused the accident can be carried out to determine the fault of each driver or pedestrian, which will factor into any compensation.
Mississippi Is an At-Fault State
Mississippi is an at-fault state, which means that everyone who contributed to the accident can be held liable to the extent of their role in it.
An at-fault or tort insurance system allows for insurers to pay for damages or injuries in an accident according to the degree of fault of each party. If one driver is determined to have been wholly responsible, they will have to compensate all other parties involved.
A left-turn accident is one example of an at-fault accident. If you have been involved in an accident of this kind, get in touch with a Mississippi car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Why Are Left-Turn Accidents the Responsibility of the Driver?
Since Mississippi law requires drivers making left turns to yield the right of way, the driver is responsible for making sure it is safe to turn. They are also required to signal before making the turn and obey traffic lights.
Left turns are dangerous traffic maneuvers, as you cross more active lanes of flow than most other turns. Because of this, the driver making the left turn should take reasonable care to make sure the road is safe and clear before turning. That includes using the turn signal, not speeding into the turn, and not turning when their vision is obstructed.
Who Is at Fault?
Despite the responsibility of the driver making a left turn at an intersection, they are not always held fully liable. The other driver can also be held responsible for a left-turn accident, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Here are some of the most common examples of when the other driver can be held partially or wholly at fault for a left-turn accident.
The Other Driver Ran a Red Light
When the other driver ran a red light or stop sign, you (as the driver making a left turn) may not be considered at fault. There is a reasonable assumption that the other driver would obey traffic rules and yield to you.
There Is Evidence that the Other Driver Was Speeding
If the driver going straight was significantly over the speed limit, they may be held partially or wholly at fault. However, cases like this often require solid proof of speeding, including traffic cameras or dash cams recording just before the accident happened.
A car being driven illegally and not adhering to road rules can still cause an accident even if the driver making a left turn judges the road to be safe. This is also true if the other party was driving under the influence or while distracted.
In this case, the driver making a left turn may be found partially or wholly not at fault.
When There Is a Green Left-Turn Arrow
Vehicles making a left turn have right of way when there is a green left-turn arrow. This is considered a protected turn, and other vehicles should be stopped by a red light or a stop sign.
If there was a green left-turn arrow, the driver making the turn is generally not considered to be at fault unless there were other circumstances regarding the accident.
When the driver making a left turn followed all traffic laws, but unforeseen circumstances caused an accident, they may not be at fault.
For example, debris falling from a vehicle, an animal or pedestrian darting suddenly into the road, or a dangerous driver can cause an accident even if you signal and wait as required.
How Fault Is Determined After a Left-Turn Car Accident
Insurance company adjusters determine who was at fault in a car accident. They rely on hard evidence, witness reports, police reports, and technical analysis to determine the degree of liability assigned to each party.
Photo and video evidence collected at the scene will be critical in determining fault. Ideally, you should also have the names and contacts of witnesses at the scene, as well as a police report.
Vehicle Damage Can Also Help Determine Fault
Sometimes there isn’t enough evidence collected at the accident scene. In this case, technical analysis of the car damage patterns and other indications can be used to determine fault.
The location and extent of the damage are useful in helping adjusters determine what actions drivers took. For example, damage on the right side of the car heading straight could indicate the driver tried to swerve. In this case, the driver making the turn could be liable.
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Had a Left-Turn Accident in Mississippi?
As Mississippi is an at-fault state, if you are the party partially or fully at fault in a left-turn accident, it is important to find an attorney who has the experience to defend your case in a lawsuit. A car accident attorney from Morris Bart can guide you in collecting evidence, witness statements, and more.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of a left-turn accident, an experienced car accident attorney at Morris Bart can help you prove fault. The attorney can also help you pursue additional compensation if the driver’s insurance policy isn’t enough to cover your injuries or damages. Call us now for a free consultation so that we can get started on your case.
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