Free consultation (800) 362-7427

Who Is At-Fault for a Left Turn Accident in California?

Posted on March 27, 2023 in Car Accidents

Turning left is a tricky maneuver that can be dangerous if not done carefully and correctly. Unfortunately, a large number of motor vehicle drivers ignore the rules and violate traffic laws when making left turns – resulting in harmful car accidents. Determining fault for a left turn accident requires a close look at the circumstances of the collision.

Who can be liable for a left turn accident

Left Turns and the Right-of-Way

The right-of-way refers to the legal right to proceed, such as to proceed into an intersection or across the road. Left turns are so dangerous because it is often up to drivers to know and obey the state’s right-of-way laws. If a driver wrongly assumes he or she has the right-of-way to turn left at a steady green light, this can result in a collision with an oncoming vehicle.

If the intersection has a left turn arrow, the driver must wait until the green light to turn left. Many intersections have round green lights rather than turn arrows, however. At these intersections, the driver turning left legally must yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. This means the driver cannot execute the left turn until the opposite lane is clear and it is safe to proceed.

Drivers turning left must proceed with caution if they are not presented with a left turn arrow. Failing to follow the right-of-way rules at an intersection can place the turning driver directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle. The oncoming driver may not have enough time to hit the brakes and prevent a collision. These accidents are especially harmful since they take the form of T-bone or head-on collisions.

Common Causes of Left Turn Accidents in Los Angeles

There are many different causes behind left turn accidents in Los Angeles, California. This is an extremely busy city that is notorious for its heavy traffic volumes. In many cases, a long line of vehicles trying to turn left gets backed up at an intersection – especially if it does not have a left turn arrow. Unfortunately, this leads many drivers to run red lights to make left-hand turns.

Aside from running red lights, other common causes of left turn accidents are failing to yield the right-of-way, speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while distracted, misjudging the speed or distance of oncoming vehicles, turning with obstructed vision, and failing to use a turn signal.

Proving Liability for a Left Turn Accident

In most car accident cases involving a driver who was turning left at the time of the crash, the turning driver is financially responsible (liable). This is because it is the driver making the left-hand turn’s responsibility to yield the right-of-way and proceed across the intersection with caution. A driver who knowingly or negligently violates California’s road rules and causes a left turn accident can be held liable for the crash.

California is a fault-based or tort-based car accident state. This means an injured crash victim must prove that the other driver or party is to blame for the collision to qualify for insurance coverage. In a no-fault state, all drivers seek compensation from their own car insurance companies and do not have to prove fault. Establishing that the other driver caused your crash by making an unsafe or illegal left-hand turn may require evidence such as surveillance footage, traffic cameras, photographs, eyewitness testimony, a police report and accident reconstruction.

A car accident attorney in Los Angeles can help you prove fault for a left turn accident by gathering and presenting clear and convincing evidence. If you or a loved one has been injured in this type of crash in LA County or the surrounding area, contact Rose, Klein & Marias, LLP for a free case consultation with a Los Angeles car accident attorney. We can help you determine and prove fault for your left-turn collision.