Who Is Liable in a Left-Turn Accident?

Posted On May 24, 2022 Car Accidents Written by John Allen Phebus

Making a left turn is a dangerous maneuver under any circumstance. A driver must use the utmost care when cutting across traffic traveling in the opposite direction to turn left. Choosing to turn at the wrong moment can cause a devastating car accident, such as a T-bone collision. If you get injured in a left-turn accident, you may have grounds to file a claim against the other driver for negligence. Determining liability for this type of crash can be difficult.

How Is Liability Determined in an Arizona Car Accident Case?

Holding someone accountable, or liable, for a left-turn accident requires first understanding your state’s fault law. Arizona’s insurance system is fault-based, meaning the driver or person at fault for a car accident is who pays (a third-party claim). In a no-fault state, all injured parties file claims with their own car insurance companies (a first-party claim), regardless of fault. Fault-based claims often result in greater financial compensation than no-fault claims, but the drawback is that victims must prove fault.

Why Do Left-Turn Accidents Happen?

When determining fault or liability for a left-turn accident, investigators must find out which party made the mistake or traffic infraction that resulted in the collision. This may involve returning to the scene of the crash, checking traffic camera footage, interviewing eyewitnesses, analyzing photographs and hiring accident reconstruction experts. Common issues behind left-turn accidents are:

  • The driver turning left or the oncoming driver runs a red light.
  • The driver turning left fails to yield the right-of-way to the oncoming driver.
  • The driver turning left miscalculates the speed or distance of an oncoming car.
  • The oncoming driver was traveling at an excessive speed.
  • The driver turning left fails to notice a motorcyclist or bicyclist.
  • The driver turning left made the turn safely, but then something caused them to slow down or stop in the intersection.

Left-hand turns are so dangerous because they rely in large part on the judgment of the driver. With a green light (not a turn arrow), drivers can turn left but only when it’s safe to do so. They must yield to traffic in the lane they are crossing. These turns require more cognitive energy and focus than right-hand turns, meaning that any type of distraction, intoxication or fatigue can be detrimental. In addition, the driver turning left may have a blocked or impeded view of the road due to vehicles stopped in the opposite lane that are also trying to turn left. 

How Do You Prove Fault in a Left-Turn Accident?

When you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit for a left-turn accident in Arizona, you have the burden of proof. This means it is your responsibility to establish the grounds of your claim. The burden of proof in a civil claim is a preponderance of the evidence, or clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is at fault for your wreck with a certainty of at least 51 percent. 

Fault for a left-turn accident usually goes to the driver that broke a traffic law when executing the maneuver. For instance, without a green arrow, the driver making the turn must yield and wait until oncoming traffic has passed. Cutting across traffic when it is not safe or legal can lead to that driver being liable for the wreck. Proving that the other driver involved in your collision is to blame will require collecting evidence of fault, such as a police report, photographs, videos and expert testimony. 

Were You Injured in an Arizona Car Accident? We Can Help

A car accident lawyer in Glendale can help you understand your rights, seek fair financial compensation for your injuries and prove fault for a left-turn accident. A lawyer can thoroughly investigate your crash to determine who had the right-of-way and who broke a traffic law. Then, your lawyer will take care of the claims filing process – along with communications and negotiations with an insurance company – on your behalf while you spend your energy healing. For a free consultation with a car accident attorney about your case, call The Law Offices of John Phebus Glendale Criminal and Personal Injury Lawyer at (623) 400-5675.