Drivers making careless left-hand turns in front or on top of motorcycles is a significant problem for motorcyclists. These are common accidents that injure and kill thousands of motorcycle riders and passengers every year. You might never expect this type of collision to happen to you. If it does, however, know you’re not alone. The Phoenix car accident lawyers at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Start with a free consultation at (602) 254-6071.
What Is a Careless Left Turn?
A driver making a left-hand turn must always yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic, unless he or she has a green turn arrow and the intersection is clear. A green light alone (no arrow) does not give the turning driver the right to cut off oncoming vehicles. It is the driver’s responsibility to watch for oncoming cars, turning only when it is safe to do so. Drivers making left turns must obey the following roadway rules:
- Turning left turn signal on prior to making the turn
- Using a left-turn lane, if available
- Coming to a complete stop before making the turn
- Looking both ways to make sure the lanes of oncoming traffic are clear
- Never making a left turn on a red light (unless permitted to on a one-way street)
- Yielding to bicyclists or pedestrians crossing the street
- Never entering the right-hand lane when making the turn
- Never making illegal U-turns from left-turn lanes
A “careless” left turn is one that breaks one or more of the above-listed rules. A driver might carelessly turn left if he or she doesn’t check to make sure oncoming lanes of traffic are clear, or if the driver ignores the right-of-way of other stopped vehicles or pedestrians at an intersection. Texting and driving, driving drunk, speeding, ignoring traffic signs, and other acts of negligence and recklessness commonly cause left-turn accidents in Arizona.
How Do Careless Left Turns Factor into Motorcycle Accidents?
A driver turning left too soon is a nightmare scenario for a motorcyclist. An accident in this way often takes the form of a head-on collision for the motorcyclist, who will hit the broad side of the turning vehicle head on. A T-bone accident is also possible, in which the front of the vehicle strikes the side of the motorcycle. Colliding with the side of a smaller passenger vehicle could propel the motorcyclist over the top of the car, while colliding with a taller vehicle (such as a semi) can mean a high-speed impact between the motorcyclist and the metal shell of the car.
Left-hand turn accidents can be fatal for motorcyclists. They may suffer serious injuries such as broken bones, contusions, head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, whiplash, road rash, and internal injuries. An injured victim may have to deal with significant pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages if he or she does survive a left-hand turn accident. Always talk to a lawyer about your rights as an injured motorcycle accident victim in Phoenix.
Liability for Left-Turn Car Accidents
A left-turn accident involving any type of vehicle could be deadly for victims. Although the driver turning left will most likely be responsible, exceptions to the rule do exist. If the left-turn driver was engaged in a lawful and prudent driving maneuver at the time of the collision, he or she may not be responsible for the accident.
- The other driver was speeding significantly, making it difficult for the turning driver to reasonably estimate his or her speed
- The other driver ran a red light or rolled through a stop sign, crashing into the left-turn driver
- The left-turn driver had to unexpectedly swerve, hit the brakes or speed up while making the turn because of unforeseen circumstances
- The traffic light malfunctioned, causing the left-turn driver to mistakenly think he or she had the right-of-way
- The intersection had a dangerous and confusing design, making it unreasonably likely to get into a left-turn collision
Many different elements could determine a driver’s fault for a left-turn accident. It often takes a thorough investigation of events to find out if a factor such as distracted driving, drunk driving or a defective car part contributed to the crash. As a victim, do not admit fault for the left-turn accident at the scene. Instead, wait for investigators to officially assign fault after analyzing all the elements of the crash.
What To Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Left-Turn Collision
A left-turn collision could cause serious and fatal car accident injuries. If you were in a left-turn car or motorcycle accident in Arizona, or if this type of crash took the life of a loved one, completing certain tasks can optimize your chances of securing financial recovery from the at-fault driver. Although a compensation award will not make up for significant losses you suffered, it could help you and your family move forward after a left-turn collision.
- Get information from the driver. Record the other driver’s full name, address, phone number and vehicle registration number. You also have the right to request to see a driver’s license.
- Request medical assistance. If the left-turn accident caused injuries to you or others, call 911 and request an ambulance.
- Gather evidence. If you are able, collect evidence from the scene of the accident. Take photos of the damaged vehicles and the roadway where the collision occurred.
- File an insurance claim. Arizona is a fault-based insurance state, meaning your claim will go to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Be careful when talking to claims adjusters, as they may underestimate the value of your case.
- Call an attorney. Determining liability for a left-turn accident can be difficult, as can negotiating a fair insurance settlement. A lawyer can make sure no one takes advantage of you as a crash victim.
An attorney from Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. can help you and your family obtain the compensation you need to move on after a damaging left-turn accident in Phoenix. Our attorneys can investigate the crash, collect evidence and help you prove another driver’s fault, if applicable. We can also take over insurance settlement negotiations or take the at-fault driver to court in pursuit of fair compensation.
Arizona Law Regarding Left Turns
Complex collisions such as left-turn accidents often involve the rule of comparative negligence. Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning you could be eligible for compensation even if you partially contributed to the left-turn accident. Do not assume partial responsibility for causing the crash will automatically bar you from recovery. Even if you were 80% responsible for the left-turn accident, you could still receive 20% of a settlement or judgment award. The courts will simply reduce your recovery amount by your percentage of fault for the accident.
Who Is at Fault in a Careless Left-Turn Motorcycle Accident?
The driver of the vehicle making the left turn will most likely be liable for the accident. Drivers making left turns must always yield the right-of-way to oncoming vehicles. Failure to do so, resulting in a motorcycle crash, is the turning driver’s legal responsibility. The only exception to the rule is if the driver has a left turn arrow. An accident in this situation may be the fault of the motorcyclist, if he or she ran a red light and continued straight through an intersection.
Liability for left-turn accidents isn’t always black and white. The nature of these accidents can make placing blame a difficult task. Take your case to a Phoenix personal injury attorney if you’re having trouble determining fault or securing compensation. Call Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. at (602) 254-6071 or contact us online for your free motorcycle accident review in Phoenix.