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Who is at Fault When There is an Accident at an Intersection?

cars backed up in city traffic

Ask any seasoned driver and they will all collectively agree that one of the scariest parts about learning how to drive was learning how to make the dreaded left turn at the end of an intersection. Even worse is the situation where there are stops signs for all four stops and every car arrives at the same time, causing a “Mexican standoff” where now each driver is waiting for someone else to take their turn so that they are also able to follow.

Slowly inching your car out into the intersection while traffic speeds by you on either side can be highly anxiety-inducing for new and seasoned drivers alike. We’ve all been in a situation where we are caught at an especially busy intersection where there is no way in which you are able to make a left turn during the green light and so have to resort to turning when oncoming traffic yields for you during the yellow light, or even worse, quickly scrambling to get out of the intersection when the light turns red.

Accidents in an Intersection

According to the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, more than 50% of the combined total of fatal crashes and crashes with an injury occur at or near intersections. Some of the factors which may play such a high role in this number can include driver confusion, poor or inadequate signage, or lack of driver experience. One of the biggest factors which play into this statistic is driver lack of knowledge as to which car is supposed to yield to whom at an intersection.

While most car accidents tend to occur closer to home as drivers feel most comfortable and relaxed in their surroundings when they are familiar, drivers who are not careful in navigating an intersection can cause deadly accidents which are hard to understand. While some accidents caused at an intersection are due to a driver’s mistake or confusion, most of them are due to distracted drivers, such as drivers who may be texting, or reckless drivers.

white car hit by another oncoming vehicle

Stop Signs

According to Driver’s Education, drivers who find themselves at a four-way stop intersection should always yield to the drivers at the intersection who have arrived at the intersection before they did. In addition, in the off chance that two drivers arrive at the intersection at the same time, then the vehicle which arrived at the right shall have the right of way.

While these rules seem pretty simple, some drivers are not familiar with these rules. This could lead to horrible accidents including head-on collisions and T-bone collisions where another car is slamming right into your passenger door.

Left Turns

According to Driver’s Education, when a vehicle is making a left turn at an intersection, the general rule of thumb is to always yield to the oncoming traffic, and then making the left turn when it is safe to do so. In addition, vehicles making a left turn should leave the intersection into the left turn lane only if their front two tires have passed the yellow lines at the crosswalk.

Far too familiar is the instance in which at a busy intersection, multiple vehicles attempt to turn left at the time that the light turns red for lack of wanting to wait through another red light. This can create an extreme situation where drivers who are crossing the intersection as oncoming traffic have the right of way but are now met with a vehicle making a left turn during a yellow, or even when the light has been red for them.

It’s because of the need for the left turn lane to yield for oncoming traffic that for most accidents involving a driver of the left turn lane, the driver making the left turn is going to be found at fault for the accident, if not, at fault to some percentage in the accident.

Injuries from Intersection Accidents

There’s no shortage of information out there telling us that intersections are where some of the most dangerous accidents occur due to their tricky natures. While there are a lot of moving parts happening at an intersection one wrong move could cause an accident which inflects serious bodily injuries on occupants of a vehicle such as traumatic brain injuries.

However, accidents from an intersection can also leave you with general pain and suffering including damage to one of your limbs or organs, impairment or loss of physical abilities, or overall pain and discomfort which is caused by your injury. While accidents that occur at intersections are tricky, experienced traumatic brain injury lawyers are able to determine who is really at fault in an accident that occurs at an intersection, allowing you to get the maximum compensation that you deserve for your injuries.

Navigating these cases on your own is stressful and can involve technical evidence which is difficult to acquire in order to prove which driver should have yielded to whom, and with the help of an experienced attorney, these cases can be handled with ease and peace of mind. To complicate matters, even more, some drivers on the road may not have adequate insurance coverage or may not have insurance at all, meaning that in the event of an accident with physical injuries, the other driver will not have any method in which your damages could be taken care of. An accident at an intersection can be deadly, and especially when that accident is with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

If you or someone you know has been injured following, or as a result of being involved in a car accident, The Heidari Law Group can help you recover damages as a result of your injuries. With offices in Fresno, California, Sacramento, California, Los Angeles, California, Irvine, California, San Jose, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, the Heidari Law Group has qualified car accident lawyers who are experts in navigating fault in accidents where the right of way may be tricky or seem ambiguous.  Whether you were the person who was making the left turn at the intersection, or, misjudged how much time you had to get through the intersection, the experienced attorneys at Heidari Law Group will be able to discuss all of the options you have available to you.

Regardless of whether you’ve been in a car accident in California or Nevada, the Heidari Law Group is able to assist you at every step of your recovery process and ensure that you are equipped with all the tools that you need in order to receive fair compensation. Reach out to our offices and call for a free consultation today!

***Disclaimer: This blog is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this blog, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.

Sam Heidari

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