In general, when a traffic accident involves a driver making a left hand turn when the other driver was coming straight from the opposite direction, the driver turning left will be at fault. This rule is usually automatic, though it is possible to prove otherwise. There may be an exception to this rule if:
- The car going straight was driving well over the speed limit
- The car going straight ran a red light
- The car turning left began the turn when it was safe, but something unexpected occurred that made the driver slow down or stop. This can be a difficult concept to prove.
The left-turning car is almost always held responsible because it is considered that driver’s duty to ensure that it is safe to turn in front of on-coming traffic. Drivers have certain duties to make sure they avoid harming anyone else on the road. It they violate any of these duties, they will be found to be negligent, meaning they did not act with reasonable care. Duties of a reasonable driver include:
- Driving at a reasonable speed. Drivers are required to drive at a reasonable speed. Any driver traveling at a speed that is not reasonable in relation to the amount of traffic, road, visibility, or weather conditions may be negligent. This means that someone who is driving at the speed limit could still be found to be negligent. For instance, if there is bad weather and low visibility, a reasonable and prudent driver would be expected to drive slower.
- Remaining alert and vigilant. Drivers are expected to be able to notice anything an ordinary and prudent person would see. This means being aware of other vehicles, pedestrians, and other road hazards. If a driver is not keeping a proper lookout and fails to take care when driving by a school crossing, construction workers, or something else a careful driver would see, they would be negligent.
- Maintaining control of the car. Drivers are expected to be able to reasonably control their car in normal conditions, for instance, by being able to stop quickly. If a driver loses control of the car for no apparent reason, they might be negligent.
- Maintaining the car and the car’s equipment. Drivers have the duty to properly maintain their car and to keep it in safe, working order.
So, when a driver is making a left hand turn while they are involved in an accident, it is almost always their fault, since it is their duty to be vigilant and prudent while making that turn. Left turn accidents are considered a type of “no-doubt” liability accident. In these kinds of accidents, one of the drivers is found responsible almost automatically. In left turn accidents, it is the driver making the left turn.
Another type of no-doubt liability accident is rear-end collisions. If you are hit from behind, it is almost always the other driver’s fault, no matter why you stopped. this is because it is a driver’s duty to be able to stop safely if traffic is stopped ahead of them. If the driver cannot stop safely, then that driver was not driving as safely as the driver in front of them.