Turning left at a busy intersection is without a doubt one of the riskiest maneuvers you can perform as a driver. Even the slightest miscalculation or mistake on your part can result in a catastrophic accident.
What makes a left-hand turn such a risky driving maneuver and who can be held liable in the event of a left turn accident? Here are some important details about this topic:
The Risks Involved in Making a Left Turn
There are many reasons why making a left turn is considered a dangerous maneuver:
- The United States follows the right-hand traffic rule, as a result of which you are required to drive on the right side of the road. So, when you make a left turn, you are driving against the flow of the traffic, which makes it a dangerous maneuver.
- Many drivers – especially young and inexperienced drivers – tend to accelerate while turning left in an attempt to beat the oncoming traffic. This is, needless to say, an extremely dangerous practice. If your timing is off even by a couple of seconds, you could crash into an oncoming vehicle or an oncoming vehicle could crash into you.
- Many drivers – elderly drivers in particular – tend to mistakenly believe that the oncoming driver will slow down upon noticing their vehicle trying to make a left turn. Since vehicles traveling in a straight line almost always drive at a higher speed than vehicles making a turn, the oncoming driver might not even notice your vehicle, and even if they do, they might not be able to slow down in time to avoid a collision.
- When you try to make a left turn, you have to take a number of factors into account – you need to keep an eye on the signal, you need to make sure that the oncoming lane is clear, and you need to keep an eye on the vehicles directly behind you which are also trying to make a left turn. In addition to this, you might also have to gauge the speed of oncoming vehicles and decide if you have sufficient time to make the turn. The presence of so many variables increases the risk of a collision to a great extent.
Who is at Fault for a Left Turn Accident in Alabama?
When two vehicles – one turning left and one driving in a straight line – are involved in an accident, the driver who made the left turn will be held liable in most cases, due to the implicit assumption that they might have miscalculated the time and space needed to make the turn.
Moreover, at an intersection, the vehicle which is attempting to turn left is supposed to yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles which are driving straight. If you fail to do so, you can be held liable for the resulting accident.
Does this mean that the driver who makes a left turn will always be held liable in such accidents? Not necessarily.
The other driver, who is driving in a straight line, can also be held responsible for the accident under the following circumstances:
- If the driver was driving over the speed limit;
- If the driver ran a red light;
- If the driver was impaired as a result of consuming alcohol, drugs, or prescription drugs.
Statute of Limitations for Left Turn Accidents in Alabama
According to section 6-2-38 of the Code of Alabama, the statute of limitations for all personal injury cases – which includes left turn accident lawsuits – is two years from the date of the accident. It should be noted that the two-year deadline is applicable to you only if you suffered bodily injuries as a result of the accident and want to recover damages for the same.
If, on the other hand, you want to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for vehicle damage, you can do so within a period of six years from the date of the accident.
The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Alabama
If you have been involved in a left turn accident, it is absolutely essential for you to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who has the knowledge, skills, and resources to pursue a favorable outcome for you.
The importance of hiring an experienced trial attorney cannot be overstated in such cases, particularly due to Alabama’s contributory negligence doctrine. Under the doctrine, you can be barred from recovering any sort of compensation from the at-fault party – if it is proven that your own actions contributed to the accident – even to a small extent.
For well over two decades, Mann & Potter, PC has been fighting for the rights of injury victims in Alabama. The firm’s founding partners – Ted Mann and Robert Potter – have been practicing law for several decades and have recovered millions of dollars in damages for their clients.
The personal injury attorneys at Mann & Potter, PC can help you recover damages for the injuries you sustained from a left turn accident – either through settlement or trial. Contact us today on 205-879-9661 or message us online for a free consultation.