Is A Left-turning Driver Always At-Fault for An Accident?

Who May Be Liable for a Left-Turn Car Crash?

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on December 6, 2019 in Car Accidents

left turn signal painted on roadMany accidents occur when drivers make left turns. Most of the time, the driver of the car making the left turn is found at fault. However, there are exceptions when the other driver may be at fault.

The experienced Milwaukee car accident lawyers at PKSD are ready to discuss this type of accident with you in a free consultation. We may be able to help you seek fair compensation for your damages.

Frequent Causes of Left Turn Accidents

Many left-turn car accidents are caused by drivers who ignore Wisconsin’s right-of-way laws. State law requires drivers who are turning left at a green light to wait until oncoming traffic is gone and it is safe to turn. If there is no light, the driver turning left is still under the same duty to wait until traffic clears before turning.

Drivers who are turning left onto another roadway, alley or driveway or making a U-turn must yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.

Oncoming traffic is not required to stop, slow down or yield to the turning motorist.

When the Driver Who Is Not Turning May Be at Fault

While the general rule is that the driver turning left is usually responsible for a collision, there are exceptions. A left-turning motorist may not be liable for an accident involving:

  • Speeding – Although this can be difficult to prove if there are no witnesses, a reckless driver going too fast through an intersection may be at least partially at fault for a left-turn accident.
  • Running a red light – Because the driver going straight broke a traffic law by ignoring the traffic signal to stop, he or she may be liable for colliding with a vehicle turning left.
  • Unexpected circumstances – This scenario could include an animal, person or bicycle darting into the road without warning, causing the turning driver to stop suddenly.

How Vehicle Damage May Help Establish Fault

The damage to the vehicles involved in the accident may help establish fault because it shows where the vehicles hit each other.

For example, if you are driving straight and another driver makes a left turn in front of you, you might try to swerve to the right to avoid a collision. If you collide with the other vehicle, you will likely have damage to the left front corner or left side of your vehicle. This can help show that you tried to avoid the collision by swerving. The other vehicle would likely have damage to the right front corner, which can help show the driver might not have been paying attention and cut into traffic.

However, if the damage is to the right rear corner of the vehicle that was turning, this might show that the driver traveling straight might not have been paying attention.

Tips on Avoiding Left-Turn Accidents

There are ways that people can avoid being in a left-turn accident. Some helpful guidelines include:

  • Make a right turn whenever possible
  • Slow down before attempting to turn
  • Activate your turn signal well before the time you plan to turn
  • Allow plenty of space before attempting a turn
  • Be especially careful at intersections
  • Check all around for traffic
  • Keep the wheels of your vehicle straight before beginning to turn
  • Turn off your turn signal after making the turn

Contact PKSD Today

If you were injured in a left-turn accident that you believe was caused by a violation of a right-of-way law or another form of negligence, it is important to speak to an experienced lawyer who can explain your rights and legal options.

Contact PKSD today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a licensed personal injury lawyer.

We are here to help. No upfront fees. 877-877-2228

Back to top