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Determining Fault in a Left Turn Accident

Jun 29, 2022

Accidents are fairly commonplace at intersections. While you are at an intersection, a moment of carelessness can quickly lead to a left turn accident or some other vehicular collision.

Steering clear of those accidents would be ideal, but negligent drivers have a knack for involving unwilling participants. If you ever find yourself in that situation, you need to know who to hold accountable. Your compensation is contingent on you doing that successfully.

Let’s use this article to see how they distribute blame in left turn accidents. Continue reading so you can protect yourself better if you ever end up in that unfortunate scenario.

What Are the Laws Regarding Left Hand Turns in Connecticut?

Drivers must always exercise caution when turning. Since you are aiming to move from one lane to another, you must move cautiously to avoid harming any of the drivers progressing along the lanes you are traversing.

Motorists must be extra careful when navigating often crowded intersections. 

What can you do to ensure that you are moving responsibly while turning through an intersection? Being mindful of Connecticut’s traffic laws will help you out.

Let’s go over some of the key laws you need to remember as a motorist in the state of Connecticut.

Connecticut’s Right of Way Laws for Left Hand Turns

According to Connecticut law, any driver turning left at an intersection must yield the right of way to any vehicle coming from the opposite direction. The key phrase to remember there is “right of way.”

Right of way refers to the legal right of motorists or pedestrians to move first along certain areas during certain situations. For example, motorists are almost always required to yield the right of way to pedestrians at a crosswalk. Drivers must abide by that rule or run into trouble with the law. 

The same thing can happen if you do not yield the right of way while you are turning at an intersection. It is your responsibility to give other drivers enough room to move while you are trying to complete your turn. Do not advance too early because you could end up clogging the lanes for everyone.

The law is clear when it comes to outlining the obligations of a driver who is about to turn at an intersection. If you fail to meet your obligations in that situation, you could find yourself in hot water.

Your failure to yield the right of way may be considered an infraction. A driver guilty of committing an infraction will usually receive a fine. Drivers who have accumulated a certain number of infractions within a three-year period may get their license suspended.

In addition to the potential fine and suspension, a driver who causes an accident due to failure to yield the right of way may pay damages. The amount they will pay will depend on the losses sustained by the victim. 

Connecticut’s Laws Regarding Signaling before Turning

Yielding the right of way is not the only obligation drivers must fulfill if they want to turn at an intersection. Before turning, a driver must also signal their intentions clearly.

Do not forget to switch on your turn signal before you go into your turn. Per Connecticut law, you should start using your turn signal as soon as you are within 100 feet of the spot where you intend to turn. Keep it on throughout that time so other drivers know what you are planning to do. 

You should not go out if one of your turn signals is not working properly. Fix that turn signal first because you could receive a fine otherwise. 

If your turn signal goes out while you are already on the road, you can still use your hand and arm to notify other drivers of your intentions. To indicate that you are turning left, you want to extend your arm and hand horizontally out of the window while also pointing your forefinger left. For right hand turns, you want to position your arm and hand vertically outside of your window.

We have all dealt with drivers who cannot be bothered to signal when they are about to turn, and they can be annoying. Do not be one of them.

Follow the law and use your turn signal or your body to let others know of your intentions. Doing something simple like that can prevent car accidents so make it a habit of yours.

Can the Driver Moving Straight Be Blamed for a Left Turn Accident?

The laws are clear when it comes to drivers and left hand turns. Drivers who are turning must signal their intentions clearly and yield the right of way. Fail to do either of those things, and you may be guilty of violating the law. 

If a left turn accident happens, law enforcement will go to the driver in the middle of turning first. Since they must signal and yield the right of way, it is easier to assume that their actions led to the accident. 

Most of the time, that assumption also proves to be accurate.

Still, it is not the case all of the time. There are also situations where the blame could and should be assigned to the other driver.

Do not accept the blame right away, even if you were the driver turning when the accident occurred. As you will see below, the actions of the driver moving straight could also be the cause of the accident.

The Driver Moving Straight Was Intoxicated

Intoxicated drivers are dangerous. They are often oblivious to their surroundings and they can move in unpredictable ways.

Even if you activated your turn signal well ahead of time and moved carefully into your turn, which may not matter if you are dealing with a drunk driver. They may plow ahead and crash into your vehicle without even knowing that you were there in the first place.

In that scenario, it is clear that the drunk driver is the one to blame for the accident. As long as you were in an appropriate position when the driver hit your vehicle, you do not need to worry about sharing responsibility for what happened. 

The Driver Moving Straight Was Distracted

To drive safely, you must always keep your eyes on the road. You cannot let things distract you and take your focus away from your driving.

You can argue that distracted drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers. Once your attention splits like that, your reaction time suffers greatly. 

Motorists can be penalized for using their smartphones or engaging in any other distracting activity while driving. If another driver hits you as you are about to turn, make sure you check if they could have been distracted because that can affect your case.

The Driver Moving Straight Was Speeding

The statewide maximum speed limit in the state of Connecticut is 65 mph. All drivers must follow that speed limit to prevent chaos on the road.

Speeding is inherently dangerous because it prevents you from reacting well to the other drivers around you. By the time you recognize the vehicle in your path, it may already be too late to hit the brakes or swerve out of the way.

As the driver turning, you cannot do much if another motorist is speeding toward you. You can argue that the road was clear, and the other driver only hit you because they were speeding. That is a viable defense you can use to avoid bearing the blame for the accident.

The Driver Moving Straight Ignored Traffic Signals

The rules of the road only work if everyone abides by them. Even if you take the time to turn, that will not matter if another motorist disregards traffic rules entirely. When the time comes for you to make your move, another driver may hit your vehicle because they sped through a red light.

In a situation like this, it will be easy to tell which party should be responsible for the accident. Traffic cameras should also capture the driver guilty of beating the red light so you can rest assured that the accident will not be on you. 

Can You Justify Making Unexpected Movements while You Were Turning Left?

Both the driver turning left and the driver moving straight can be blamed for causing the accident. However, they are not the only parties capable of causing that unfortunate occurrence.

Upon making the turn, you may spot an animal or pedestrian in your path. After noticing their presence, you immediately swerve or slam on your brakes to prevent hitting them.

You should be able to avoid blame in that accident if you were doing what you were supposed to. Instead, the blame will fall on the pedestrian who likely entered the roadway at the wrong time. Their inability to follow the basic rules of the road caused the accident, so they should be held accountable.

Obviously, holding an animal accountable for the accident will not be an option. The best you can do in that scenario is to get your insurer involved. They may be able to help you pay for your car repairs.

Why Is Determining Fault Important in Left Turn Accidents?

Identifying the party at fault for causing a left turn accident is crucial. The chances are that your vehicle was damaged badly during the accident. You may also be in the hospital nursing some injuries because of what happened.

Your insurer may cover your bills, but you can count on them increasing your rates in the future. That would not be an ideal outcome. Instead, you should seek compensation from the party responsible for the accident.

Go after them in court so you can pay for your losses without getting your insurer involved. You can force them to pay if you successfully pin the blame on them.

Assigning fault is also important because it directly affects how much compensation you may receive in your personal injury lawsuit.

It is important to remember that Connecticut is a modified comparative negligence state. Because the state follows that rule, they can reduce your compensation based on how who is at fault. To be more specific, they will use your percentage of blame for the accident to reduce your compensation. 

If the court finds that you were 25%  to blame for the left turn accident,  your $100,000 financial award may reduce to $75,000.

That reduction can make it harder for you to pay for your losses. On top of that, there is also a chance that you may not receive anything.

Plaintiffs do not receive damages in any case where they share more than 50%  of the blame. You need to fight for proper attribution of blame in your case because you may miss out on compensation entirely otherwise.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney Today

You could find yourself in a tough spot if you were the driver turning when a left turn accident occurred. Work closely with an attorney to prove that the accident was not your mistake. 

Ask your lawyer to gather evidence on your behalf. They likely have the connections needed to secure traffic cam footage as well as police accident reports. You can use those as pieces of evidence to bolster your case.

Hiring an attorney is also highly recommended so you can avoid unnecessary dealings with the other party. Let your attorney handle that so you can focus on your recovery.

We at Hassett & George, P.C. will work tirelessly to prove that the left turn accident was not your fault. Get in touch with us today so we can start telling the true story of your accident.