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Improper Left Turn Car Accident in California: What are My Rights?

I Hit Another Car Making a Left Turn in Front of Me: Can I Recover Compensation?  Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers Explain Why Your Car

A common type of car accident is a left-turn crash.  It often occurs when a vehicle going straight broadsides a vehicle making a left turn.  The driver of the vehicle going straight often feels like it is his or her fault too.  This is because the left-turning vehicle usually goes first and is through most of the intersection when the vehicle going straight hits it on the passenger or rear passenger side.  But even though it looks like the vehicle going straight that hit the vehicle turning left is at fault, it is not.  Our experienced car accident lawyers in Los Angeles know that the vehicle turning left is usually at fault for the accident, even though it does not appear that way.

Here at the Broadway Law Firm, our experienced Southern California car accident attorney handle all types of motor vehicle accidents; including a left turn accident.  While the driver and the insurance company of a vehicle turning left may aggressively bombard you that it is your fault, it actually cannot be farther from the truth.  We can help defend you from these overly aggressive adjustments and use the improper left turn against the insured defendant.  This is because we know the law and have the skills and experience necessary to help protect your rights under California law.

Vehicles Turning Left Must Yield to All Other Vehicles

While the facts may not appear clear at an intersection, especially a busy intersection, California law is very clear.  Under California Vehicle Code section 21801 (a), “[t]he driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left . . . upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn . . . can be made with reasonable safety.”

As a result, this means that all vehicles turning left must yield to the right-of-way of all other vehicles that are approaching and could constitute a “hazard.”  This means that turns must be done with reasonable safety too, and a driver who fails to exercise reasonable safety in making a turn could be liable under the Vehicle Code.

Violations of the Vehicle Code Can Result in Negligence Per Se

A motorist who violates the Vehicle Code can be negligent per se.  This is a legal doctrine that allows a victim to use the violation of a statute made by the Legislature to automatically establish liability if the following elements are met:

  • The defendant violated the statute (does not have to be convicted)
  • The victim was in the “class of persons” to be protected by the statute, and
  • The harm caused was within the “class of harms” sought to be prevented by the statute.

In an improper left turn car accident case in California, a vehicle going straight that hits a left-turning vehicle will likely be able to establish a cause of action for an improper left turn against a defendant.

Common Law Negligence 

In addition to establishing a claim by negligence per se, a victim of an improper left turn car accident in California will also assert a claim for common law negligence.  This is judge-made law that has evolved over years of judicial decision-writing and decision-making.  A cause of action for negligence requires a victim to establish that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances in the use or operation of a motor vehicle.  That failure has to be the proximate cause or a substantial factor in causing the damages to the plaintiff.

In a left turn car accident case, the victim will likely be able to establish that the defendant failed to act reasonably by making an imprudent left turn in front of the vehicle going straight.  This will provide another avenue for collecting compensation in California.

Ask the Broadway Law Firm for Help in California

If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a left turn car accident, or if a loved one was wrongfully killed, ask our experienced car accident lawyers in Los Angeles at the Broadway Law Firm for help.  Our compassionate staff can review your medical records, go over your injuries with you, work with your treating physicians, and help prove your damages in court.  Our legal team and hired experts can prove fault against a defendant to establish liability.  Learn how we can help you during a FREE consultation by calling (888) 824-1025.

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