According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the leading cause of a vehicle accident is a driver turning left at an intersection. These types of accidents are associated with increased risk of injury or death due to the crossing of oncoming traffic, which is typically traveling at a greater speed than the turning driver. However, determining who is at fault in a left turn collision can be difficult, and drivers need to know what to do if it occurs.
Who Has the Right of Way When Making a Left Turn?
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1141 states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection…shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.” Additionally, § 1163 of the Traffic Laws of the City of New York emphasizes that no turns should be made at an intersection unless they “can be made with reasonable safety.”
Are Left Turn Collisions Always the Fault of the Driver?
While the driver who completed a left turn that resulted in an accident is usually at fault, this is not always the case. For example, if the driver turned when the left arrow on the traffic light was green, and a vehicle ran a red light and struck the driver, the driver is not at fault. In some cases, the driver may also deem the conditions to be safe to turn, only to be struck by another driver who was traveling in oncoming traffic at an excessive and unforeseen speed. Determining who is at fault is not always straightforward, but a qualified attorney can examine the facts and make a reasonable conclusion.
What Should the Driver Do Next?
Anyone who has been in a left-turn collision, whether they were turning left or driving in oncoming traffic, should seek the assistance of an attorney right away. The legal process is lengthy and complicated, and it can be challenging to try to navigate alone, especially after a car accident. A personal injury attorney can help determine the cause of the crash and protect their client throughout court proceedings.
If you’ve been in a left turn collision or any type of car accident in New York, the experienced legal team at Leav & Steinberg LLP is here to help. Contact us today at 212-766-5222 to schedule a free consultation at our Manhattan office.