Left-turn accidents can also be referred to as failure-to-yield accidents. These accidents occur when one driver makes a left turn across the traffic path of another driver. Depending on the type of traffic signal controlling an intersection, the accident victim may be going straight or maybe the driver making the left turn.
At the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we represent clients in South Carolina who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. Our Walterboro left-turn accident lawyers know how to prove liability and damages in cases where drivers fail to yield the right-of-way and cause accidents. Contact one of our Walterboro personal injury lawyers to get the compensation you are entitled to.
Right-of-Way in Left-Turn Situations
In traffic situations where paths of travel cross, South Carolina law directs who has the right to proceed first and who has the responsibility to yield. The following right-of-way laws apply to motorists:
- When two vehicles on different roads arrive simultaneously at an intersection without traffic signals, the vehicle to the left must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
- A vehicle turning left in an intersection must yield to another vehicle coming from the opposite direction on the same road and proceeding straight through the intersection.
- A driver crossing a road from someplace other than another road must always yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway being crossed.
- A driver must yield to any authorized highway maintenance vehicle in a designated work zone.
The following right-of-way laws apply between pedestrians and motorists:
- A vehicle must yield to a pedestrian working in an authorized highway work zone.
- Motorists must yield at crosswalks not controlled by signals when a pedestrian is on the side of the roadway that the motorist is traveling.
- A motorist must also yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk in front of opposing traffic if proceeding would pose danger to the pedestrian.
- A pedestrian must yield to a vehicle and not attempt to cross a roadway when a vehicle is so close as to make crossing hazardous.
Left-Turn Accident Frequency
A study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) focused on the crash factors related to accidents in intersections. The research concluded 40% of the nation’s injury and fatal traffic accidents occur in intersections, and 22% of intersection accidents involve a left turn.
A recent addition of the South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book reports that failure to yield the right-of-way is the primary contributing factor in 21% of the state’s traffic collisions involving injury or death. The driver who fails to yield is making a left turn 9% of the time.
Reasons Why Left Turns Are Dangerous
The NHTSA study found that failure to accurately assess the traffic situation in an intersection was a common error made by drivers involved in left-turn accidents. Four main reasons were associated with the drivers’ inability to accurately evaluate the risk of an accident.
- View obstructed while turning
- Failure to adequately survey the traffic conditions
- Inability to judge the distance between vehicles or the speed of another vehicle
- Made inaccurate assumptions about the actions another driver would take
Drivers Most Likely to Be Involved in Left-Turn Accidents
The NHTSA findings show that women are slightly more likely than men to be involved in intersection accidents.
All drivers aged 55 and older are more likely to be involved in an intersection accident. Drivers over age 65 are involved in more than 50% of all intersection accidents and are more likely to get into an accident in an intersection than anywhere else.
Motorcycles Are Especially Vulnerable to Left-Turn Accidents
Left-turn accidents pose a greater risk to motorcycles than to other motorists. Motorcycles are smaller, which makes them harder to recognize. They can also maneuver more quickly than bigger vehicles and may not be anticipated when they appear suddenly from behind another vehicle.
The driver’s failure to see a motorcycle is the reason given for 41% of all motorcycle crashes. A motorist turning left in front of a motorcycle accounts for 42% of all motorcycle fatalities.
Determining Fault After a Left-Turn Accident
A driver must yield to the oncoming cars when turning left across traffic in most situations. When accidents occur, it is presumed the driver made an unreasonable decision to turn left, and that decision caused the accident. But the presumption of fault is not absolute, and other factors may be shown to have intervened in causing the crash.
For instance, a malfunction of traffic signals might provide incorrect information to a driver. A driver might misjudge the time necessary to complete a safe turn due to the excessive speed of an oncoming motorist. Clear visibility around an intersection may be obscured by weather conditions.
An oncoming motorist may have had the last opportunity to avoid the accident. A left-turn accident lawyer in Walterboro can evaluate the circumstances of your crash and devise a strategy for proving fault in your left-turn accident.
Proving Damages from a Left-Turn Accident
Left-turn accidents often involve the front end of one vehicle and the side of another. Injuries can be severe depending on the vehicles involved and where the impact occurs. Injured persons can recover compensation for medical expenses and lost income as well as for pain and suffering and other quality of life losses caused by the accident.
Obtaining an appropriate compensation award for an injury claim requires convincing proof of the claimed damages. Proof may include medical records and the opinions of healthcare professionals. The credibility of the injured person is also very important because the extent of non-economic suffering is based on personal experience.
Why You Should Consider Hiring a Walterboro Left-Turn Accident Attorney
Getting injured in a car accident can affect your entire life and can change your plans for the future. You have a right to be compensated for your losses, but you may have to fight to receive the money you are entitled to.
A left-turn accident attorney in Walterboro will work diligently on your behalf to make sure you collect all available compensation. For a free consultation, contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm.Use our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.