Who is at Fault in a Left Turn Accident?

April 29, 2022

Making a left turn can be a tricky maneuver on the roadway. This typically means yielding the right of way to others, but even if you yield, there is no guarantee that the turn will be easy. Here, we want to discuss left-turn accidents, particularly who may be at fault when these incidents occur. This is important because you may be able to recover compensation if another driver caused your left-turn accident in West Virginia. Speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer to learn more about your legal options.

How Are Left Turns Dangerous in West Virginia?

Making a left-hand turn can be a dangerous maneuver in a vehicle. As any driver is well aware, left-hand turns typically mean that you have to cross over a lane of oncoming traffic to get to your desired lane. Information available from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that left-hand turns are responsible for 61% of all collisions that happen when a vehicle crosses an intersection. The data also shows that left-hand turns are responsible for approximately 22% of all motor vehicle accidents on the roadway.

But why are left-hand turns so dangerous?

When you make a right-hand turn, this typically means that you were able to turn right into a lane of traffic without crossing any kind of oncoming traffic. That is not the case with a left-hand turn. For example, if a driver is waiting at an intersection to turn left, it will typically have to yield to oncoming traffic and then wait for there to be a large enough gap for them to make their turn safely. This type of turn relies heavily on the judgment of the driver wanting to make the turn. If a driver decides to turn without a clear path, they could go right into oncoming traffic and cause a T-bone or head-on collision. This often leads to catastrophic injuries to drivers and passengers involved.

It is not uncommon for left-turn accident victims to sustain fractured or dislocated bones, serious lacerations, amputations or crush injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, significant bleeding, scarring and disfigurement, and more.

How to Determine Fault for a Left Turn Accident

Determining fault for a left-hand turn collision will depend on various factors related to each particular incident. The actions of every driver involved will have to be examined, as well as the traffic laws for the area where the collision occurred. Usually, all drivers are required to stop in the yield to oncoming traffic before they decide to take their turn. That said, it is not uncommon for various traffic signals or signs around West Virginia to clearly indicate whether or not a driver is allowed to complete a left-hand turn and when they are allowed to do so.

However, it could be the case that there was simply a green light or a yellow light, and a driver was required to wait until oncoming traffic was clear. In West Virginia, the law is usually going to presume that the driver making the left-hand turn is at fault for these types of collisions if they turn into oncoming traffic.

In some circumstances, the driver already in an oncoming lane could be at fault, including if they were operating at high rates of speed, distracted by their phones or other devices, or impaired by alcohol or drugs.

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