Each year, Boulton Law Group reviews hundreds of Indiana accident reports, and one of the common boxes checked underneath Driver Contributing Circumstances is Failure to Yield. In many instances, this involves a left-hand turn collision.
A large number of left-hand turn car accidents happen at light-controlled intersections in which a driver attempting to turn left across multiple lanes fails to yield to oncoming traffic. In almost all instances, Indiana drivers attempting to make a left-hand turn through an intersection, or across other oncoming lanes of traffic, will be found liable for the car accident.
However, it’s important to remember, just because you were struck by a left-hand turn driver, the insurance company will not always play fair.
If you were injured in a left-hand turn car accident, the insurance company’s goal will be to pay as little as possible on your claim. For this reason, we recommend that you request a free consultation with an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney.
Common Left-Hand Turns Risks & Accidents
The reason left-hand turns are so much riskier than right-hand turns (and other common driving maneuvers) is that the turn interrupts the natural flow of traffic in the opposite oncoming lane(s).
And while failure to yield is often the official cause of a left-hand turn car accident, there are a number of underlying risks that lead up to the actual collision, such as:
- Speeding through the intersection – Happens far too often: A driver simply tries to beat the intersection light.
- Mistiming – The left-hand turn driver thinks they have more time than they actually do and ends up in the direct path of an oncoming vehicle.
- Distractions – No surprise here. The number of accidents that happen because a driver is distracted continues to plague Indiana’s roads, including left-hand turn incidents.
- Blocked view – You commonly see this when two drivers in adjacent lanes are attempting to make a left-hand turn at the same time. Instead of waiting behind the turn lane line, one or both vehicles creep into the intersection attempting to see around each other. Many times both drivers are unable to fully see oncoming traffic, leading to a heightened risk for a serious collision.
- Driving under the influence – We have also investigated a number of left-hand turn accidents that involved a driver being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
And while much less common, there are instances in which a driver making a left-hand turn is free of any liability, or only partially at fault, such as:
- Disregarding the light – An oncoming driver that is found to have driven through a red light and hit a vehicle attempting to make a left-hand will likely be found liable for the collision.
- Excessive speed – If it is proven that an oncoming vehicle was driving above the speed limit, that driver may be found liable for striking the vehicle attempting to make a left-hand turn.
Boulton Law Group has also witnessed a number of left-hand turn accidents caused by less expected factors, such as animals in the roadway, inclement weather, malfunctioning street lights, and other dangerous road conditions.
Who has the Right-of-Way in Indiana?
Indiana has a number of laws that concern themselves with traffic and pedestrian right-of-way. If it is found that you failed to yield the right-of-way to another driver or pedestrian, you can expect to have all or the majority of liability placed with you.
With regard to left-hand turns, Indiana drivers must always yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. Generally, the only time a driver turning left has the right of way is when there is a green arrow light at the intersection.
Otherwise, Indiana drivers attempting to make a left-hand turn must also:
- Use a turn signal – Indiana law states that drivers must put on their turn signal at least 200 hundred feet in advance of the turn.
- Slow down – Too often drivers approach lights at much higher speeds than they should. Always reduce your speed when approaching an intersection before attempting to make a left-hand turn.
Indiana’s right-of-way laws are designed to serve as the final authority in left-hand turn accidents, however, it is important to remember that secondary investigations may sometimes be needed to determine who was truly negligent.
Determining Fault for a Left-Hand Turn Car Accident
In most instances, the Indiana accident report will serve as a big factor in establishing fault for a left-hand turn collision. However, we have also investigated claims in which the findings in a report was contradicted by a number of other sources, including:
- Witness statements
- Conflicting physical evidence
- Traffic camera footage
- Unknown road conditions, e.g., obstructions
Indiana maintains a comparative fault system, and this means that you may still have the right to seek compensation for your injuries if you were no more than 50% at fault for the accident. Keep in mind, however, your final compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident.
As such, depending on the nature of your injuries, and the evidence that may exist outside of the initial report, it may be determined that a follow-up liability investigation is warranted for a left-hand turn accident.
Injured in a Left-Hand Turn Car Accident?
Attorney Matt Boulton has more than 20 years’ experience in handling Indiana car accident claims on behalf of injured Hoosiers. A number of his cases have involved left-hand turn accidents in which a driver was injured after someone failed to yield the right of way.
If you were injured in a left-hand turn accident, we encourage you to reach out to Matt for free and friendly legal advice. There is never a cost to learn more about your rights, and you owe our firm nothing unless we make a recovery on your behalf. This Zero Fee Guarantee promise is part of making sure you Get Treated Like Family.
To speak with Matt direct, call 317-350-2680. If you prefer to write to us, please use our confidential contact form. Matt personally reviews every web contact received at our firm.
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.