Who Is At Fault In A Left Turn Car Accident?

One of the most confusing, and dangerous, maneuvers that anyone can perform in a motor vehicle is to make a left turn at an intersection where there is not a dedicated left turn signal.  This is particularly true where the law is misunderstood by many people.  Florida law is clear that, if an intersection lacks a dedicated left turn signal, a motorist is to wait until there is a break in oncoming traffic to make a left turn.  This leaves anyone wanting to turn left at the mercy of oncoming traffic.  Given how heavy traffic in South Florida can be, this can leave someone waiting for a break in traffic that may never come.  Nevertheless, Florida law states that the oncoming traffic has the right of way, so if you cause an accident, then it would stand to reason that you would be at fault, right?

However, the truth of who caused an accident where someone was turning left is not always so simple.  In some cases, the car that you hit may have been speeding to try to beat a red light or not paying attention to what he or she was doing.  This may mean that, even though you might have some responsibility for the accident in turning left when you should not have done so, that does not mean you still cannot file a personal injury claim against the other motorist for whatever amount of fault he or she may have had in causing the accident.

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, we are not afraid to take on difficult cases.  Motor vehicle accidents can be complicated, and many times multiple parties can be at fault in causing the accident and any resulting injuries to the motorists involved. Even if you bore some responsibility for the accident, like if you turned left when someone else had the right of way under Florida law, you may still be able to recover for your injuries and damages that were caused, even in part, by another motorist.

Turning Left on a Yellow Light Under Florida Law

Florida law, despite being somewhat misunderstood on the topic, is fairly clear that a vehicle turning left at an intersection must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic that has a green light unless the turning vehicle has a green arrow. Therefore, if you turn left and cause a motor vehicle accident, you will typically be held liable unless another motorist was negligent or operating his or her motor vehicle in a manner that was not appropriate or legal.

Left Turn Car Accident: Very Common

Several studies over selected years from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), the federal agency responsible for safety on the nation’s highways, show that turning left is one of the primary causes of motor vehicle accidents in this country.  In one study looking at accidents which occurred while someone was turning or crossing an intersection, 61% of the crashes studied involved left turns, as opposed to just over 3% that involved right turns.  Another NHTSA study found that over 20% of the total crashes nationwide involved a motorist trying to turn left at an intersection.

How This Affects Your Ability to Recover for Your Injuries from the Other Party

Florida is a pure comparative fault jurisdiction for purposes of the apportionment of fault in personal injury cases.  What this means in plain English is that, even if you bore some fault in the accident in which you were injured (such as if you made a left turn when traffic was not clear), you can still recover from the other motorist for whatever proportion of fault for your damages that the other motorist bears if he or she was negligent and that negligence contributed to your injuries and damages.  For example, if a jury determines that you were 60% responsible and the other motorist was 40% responsible for the accident in which you were injured, then you can recover 40% of your damages from the other motorist involved in the accident.  This is still better than not being able to recover anything.

Contact Schwed, Adams, & McGinley If You Were in a Left Turn Car Accident

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of representing the victims of motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury scenarios in Florida.  During that time, we have represented both parties who were injured through no fault of their own as well as in situations where the blame rests with both parties to an accident, such as when our client is turning left and perhaps made the wrong choice in doing so, caused an accident, and was injured.  We are not afraid to take on difficult cases where both parties may be at fault.  If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in Florida, even if you too may have borne some fault in connection with the incident in which you suffered injuries, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.