Left-hand turn accidents account for a significant percentage of accidents that occur annually. When this happens, the parties involved will likely want to know who is at fault, and Atlanta auto accident attorneys can help.
Georgia law requires the driver turning left across oncoming traffic to yield to approaching traffic and only turn when the road is clear and safe. This is because the driver trying to turn left is crossing an opposite traffic pattern. So they must watch out for traffic and yield to the oncoming vehicles and pedestrians.
Sadly, many drivers lack patience when making left-hand turns because they’re in a hurry and end up facing oncoming vehicles and pedestrians. In some cases, this error can be quickly corrected. While in other instances, it’s too late for both drivers to do anything, leading to an accident.
This is why left-hand turn accidents are often the fault of the driver making the turn. However, there are some exceptions in which the other driver is fully or partially at fault. This article will explore what left-hand turn accidents are, what Georgia law says about left turns, and how to determine fault in a left-hand turn accident accurately.
How Do Left-Hand Turn Accidents Happen?
Left-hand turn accidents occur when a driver refuses to yield and drives left into traffic traveling straight. Many left-hand turn accidents are side-impact collisions, where the front region of one vehicle hits the side of another. It is also referred to as a T-bone impact.
A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on crash factors in intersection-related accidents revealed that turning left was the leading event in intersection crashes. It causes almost 1 of every 4 of these types of crashes.
Some reasons a driver fails to make a correct left turn include:
- Misjudging the speed at which oncoming vehicles were traveling, assuming they have enough time to complete their turn instead of yielding;
- Not seeing an oncoming car, pedestrian or bicyclist;
- Driving while distracted, such as while calling, texting, or driving under the influence;
- Not using a turn signal to inform other vehicles of their intention;
- Turning into the wrong lanes.
Georgia’s Laws on Left-Hand Turns
In general, Georgia drivers taking left-hand turns must yield to oncoming traffic. Drivers must also watch for pedestrians. This applies to drivers at a green light without a turn arrow and drivers at an intersection with a flashing yellow turn arrow.
Unless a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, drivers with a green turn arrow have the right of way. Drivers turning left must also enter the lane nearest to the center lane in the appropriate street traffic direction.
Who Is at Fault in a Left-Hand Turn Accident?
You may still get involved in a left-hand turn accident regardless of your super-driving skills. The accident may be totally, partially, or not your fault. Determining fault in left-turn accidents is one of the areas of expertise of Atlanta auto accident attorneys.
Georgia traffic laws mandate the driver making the left turn wait patiently for oncoming traffic and pedestrians. They are only to move when traffic is clear. This is why the fault is often assigned to the driver making the left turn. It is always assumed that the driver making the left turn wasn’t patient enough or refused to yield to oncoming traffic.
However, the reality is that the situations surrounding the accident are used to determine who is at fault. There are some exceptions where the responsibility lies with the oncoming driver, not the left-turn driver. Some of these exceptions include:
- The oncoming driver ran a red light and didn’t yield the turn of the left-turn driver.
- The oncoming driver was driving under the influence.
- The oncoming driver was driving at a very high speed and could not slow down on approaching the vehicle making a left-hand turn.
- Something unexpected occurred while the driver tried to make a left turn that caused the car to slow down or stop.
If you have been involved in a left-hand turn accident, it is advisable to hire a lawyer to help you with the legalities that follow, whether with the insurance companies or the courts.
What Can Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyers Do for Me in a Left Turn Accident Case?
If you’re considering hiring an attorney shortly after your left-hand turn accident, here are some things to expect from them:
Collect Every Piece of Evidence
A good auto accident lawyer will start by collecting every piece of evidence related to your case. This evidence will include traffic cam footage, eye witness statements, accident and police reports, expert witness statements, medical records, etc.
This helps to determine the at-fault party in your case and the extent of the damages you can claim. It will also support and justify the compensation amount you want to collect from the insurance companies.
Negotiate With the Insurance Company
It is not advisable to go against an insurance firm alone. The insurance adjuster and their legal team have the experience and knowledge to convince you to take a lower or no compensation.
They work tirelessly to get the best outcome for the insurance company. However, an auto accident experienced attorney has the experience and technical ability to get you every compensation you deserve. They have worked on similar cases and know how to negotiate to get you what you deserve.
Represent You in Court
Sometimes, the matter may escalate to a lawsuit. If this happens, an Atlanta auto accident attorney will represent you and fight to get the best possible outcome for you.
As your case progresses, your lawyer will provide regular updates about it. They will also table your legal options at every stage and advise you on the best course of action. In addition, your attorney will explain the applicable laws and legal terms that are unclear to you.
Hire the Best Atlanta Auto Accident Attorneys Today!
Accidents are unfortunate events that no one prays for. However, they happen unavoidably sometimes. When left-hand turn accidents occur, the injuries that follow may range from minor to severe. You may be liable to get economic and non-economic damages such as medical bills, loss of income and benefits, loss of future earning potential, pain, and suffering, etc.
As a victim of a left-hand turn accident, you can benefit from the legal guidance of a personal injury lawyer in Georgia even if your case never goes to court. The lawyers with The Weinstein Firm are available to help you. Call now to speak with one of our attorneys and find out how we can help you.