Who Is at Fault for a Right-Turn Crash?
Driving in Kentucky can be challenging, particularly when you are required to navigate crowded and often chaotic intersections. Because intersections bring opposing flows of traffic together in one place, involve multiple vehicles traveling at various speeds, and often include pedestrians and cyclists, it is not surprising that they are the site of frequent collisions.
According to research conducted by the Kentucky State Police, the majority of fatal car accidents in and around Lexington occur at intersections, including the city’s busy intersections like South Broadway at West Vine Street and Alumni Drive at Man O’ War Boulevard. If you’ve been injured in a right-turn crash, a Lexington car accident lawyer from Golden Law Office is ready to represent you. We have helped many crash victims right here in our area recover compensation for their damages.
What Is a Right-Turn Crash?
A right turn generally happens at an intersection with a stop sign or traffic light. It is necessary that the turning driver follow all appropriate and applicable rules, such as coming to a full and complete stop at the stop sign or checking to see whether a car is allowed to turn right on red at that particular intersection. Other regulations also apply: for example, the state of Kentucky mandates that all drivers signal their intention to turn with the use of a turn signal. When a driver fails to adhere to these traffic rules, or uses poor judgment when turning, a right turn can become hazardous or deadly.
Statistically speaking, left-hand turns at intersections are more dangerous. Findings published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that 61% of intersection-related crashes involved left turns, while only 3% involved right-hand turns. Because right-turn crashes are less expected, drivers may be inclined to be more careless as they prepare to turn. These circumstances can make this type of car crash even more devastating when it does occur.
What Constitutes Fault?
In reports published by the NHTSA, a surprising statistic emerged: less than 3% of crashes at intersections could be attributed to environmental factors. That means that the overwhelming majority of collisions that occur in or near an intersection are caused by driver error.
Kentucky is one of 13 states which adheres to a “pure comparative negligence” law, meaning that if both parties in the accident are partially responsible, the fault will be divided between them based on percentage. For example, you may be found 25% responsible for the accident, and your loss recovery will be adjusted to reflect that percentage. It is important to know that you can still receive compensation for your losses regardless of the amount you are determined to be at fault.
State law of Kentucky lays out specific guidelines for turning and right-of-way, and for how vehicles can proceed under various conditions at intersections. Numerous causes, when proved, can be used to determine fault in the accident.
The following behaviors can indicate that the driver making the right-hand turn is at least partly liable for the crash:
- Failing to yield
- Making the turn without the right of way
- Incorrectly estimating the amount of time needed to safely turn
- Not leaving enough space in front of an oncoming car
- Turning right on a red light when it is prohibited
- Not stopping completely at a stop sign or red light
- Taking the turn with too much speed
- Failing to use a turn signal
In other cases, it may be concluded that the oncoming car was responsible, or partly responsible, for the collision. The following causes can show that the non-turning driver was at least partially to blame for the crash:
- Speeding through the intersection
- Driving distractedly or not paying attention to the road ahead
- Using a cell phone or texting
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Changing lanes in the middle of the intersection
- Not using headlights when appropriate
- Rushing to make it through a yellow light before it turns red
It may be surprising to learn that many right-turn accidents involve cyclists or pedestrians. Because a driver may not be looking at the crosswalk, instead focusing on the cars coming from the opposite direction, it is regrettably common for those on foot or bike to be struck in right-turn incidents. Drivers should remember to be wary of bicyclists and pedestrians, not just other cars, when making a right turn. Cars that block a crosswalk may force pedestrians into the middle of the street and put them in the path of oncoming vehicles. Furthermore, the presence of cyclists and pedestrians in the roadway can lead to more vehicular collisions when drivers attempt to steer clear of those on foot or bicycle.
In every situation, you should only proceed into traffic when it is absolutely safe to do so—for you, for other drivers, and for those who may be crossing the road at the intersection. This may mean that you give up the right of way, even when it is legally yours. Sometimes it is best to wait safely for the right conditions in order to stop a car accident from happening.
We Offer Reliable, Understanding Representation
A car accident can have a significant and lasting impact on your life, especially in consideration of the pain and expenses that continue long after the incident. If you’ve been injured in a right-turn crash, you may be wondering what to do next. Our lawyers at Golden Law Office have a track record of success in helping those injured in Kentucky. We know the roads around our neighborhoods, and we have the legal expertise to advocate for those in our community who have been wrongfully harmed. Our lawyers understand that you need to receive the compensation you deserve so you can go back to the things that are important in your life. Call us today so we can set up a free, no-obligation consultation for your case.