Making a left turn can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to cross traffic going the other way on a busy street. One simple mistake can be all it takes to cause a major accident with serious — potentially even deadly — consequences. Drivers turning left may also be sabotaged by a speeding vehicle or by a sudden, unexpected maneuver in the middle of the intersection.
Improper left turn accidents can easily result in a “T-bone” collision, where a vehicle creates a full-on impact force upon the broadside of another car. T-bone collisions have a high rate of creating major injuries, including spinal cord fractures, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, and more.
If you have been involved in a left-turn accident and are injured, you may wonder where you can turn for help paying your medical bills. Working with an experienced Florida left turn accident lawyer can reveal all of your available options, reduce the stress of filing an injury claim, and give your case a solid chance of bringing you the maximum compensation available.
Speak with a car accident attorney in Florida during a free consultation when you call 800-560-5059 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation appointment today.
Left Turn Laws in Florida
Florida law makes it abundantly clear that anyone who decides to turn left on a street should be cautious and should yield to other traffic.
§316.122 of the Florida Statutes states that:
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, or vehicles lawfully passing on the left of the turning vehicle, which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.
In other words, the vehicle turning is responsible for making the maneuver safe for everyone around them. Only in rare instances will they not be considered at-fault for an accident. If they blatantly caused the accident by proceeding carelessly or misjudging the time it takes to turn safely, then the driver could be held responsible for the costs of any injuries they cause.
Florida Statutes §316.151 similarly requires vehicles to use caution when turning at an intersection. They must use the left-most available lane and enter the intended roadway within the lane “lawfully available” to them, i.e. they must turn into a viable lane rather than turning into the lane where oncoming traffic might travel.
Additionally, Florida drivers are expected to yield to pedestrians, bicycles, and other traffic crossing the roadway they are entering.
Failure to obey these laws constitutes a moving violation, and it could be a deciding factor in determining who was at fault for an accident.
Proving Negligence in a Left Turn Accident Case
To prove negligence, a car accident lawyer in Florida must be able to demonstrate that a driver violated a standard of care that was supposed to prevent an unreasonable risk of harm to others on the road.
In the case of improper left turns, an attorney can highlight the fact that Florida laws place the responsibility of turning safely squarely on the shoulders of the turning driver. Simply put, if the driver thinks they could make the turn and they did not, there are very few circumstances that would make them not at-fault for the resulting accident.
Examples of reasons that a driver turning left may be found not at-fault or partially not at-fault for an accident include: the oncoming driver was speeding, the oncoming driver made an erratic maneuver, and an unexpected and previously unseen obstacle or obstruction was in the roadway in the path of the left-turning vehicle, forcing them to adjust their trajectory.
Who Pays for Damages in a Left Turn Accident?
Florida’s no-fault insurance laws mean that most car accident victims are forced to file their injury claim with their own personal injury protection (PIP) policy.
However, in the event that a “serious injury” is caused, the injury victim may be able to pursue a third-party liability claim against any at-fault drivers or other parties. To have a qualifying serious injury, you must have:
- A bone fracture
- Significant, permanent loss of a critical body system or function
- A permanent disability or debilitation
- Significant, permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Substantial total disability or loss of use of a critical bodily function for at least 90 days
Deaths that occur in accidents will also likely qualify the case for a wrongful death claim.
Florida uses a “pure comparative negligence” law, meaning that people are required to pay for the damages caused in an accident according to their portion of fault. So, if a left-turning driver was deemed 60% at-fault for an accident and the oncoming vehicle was seen as sharing 40% of fault, then the maximum damages the oncoming vehicle’s driver could claim would be 60% of the total.
How a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You After Your Left Turn Accident
Hiring an attorney can provide the legal resources and knowledge required to form a strong claim, backed by evidence. Your attorney can use Florida laws and prior case rulings to construct a solid argument for why another party was negligent and why your injury qualifies as a “serious injury.”
If you are forced to rely upon your PIP insurance only because you are unable to prove negligence or you do not have a qualifying injury, then your attorney can still assist you with estimating all of your damages, filing your claim, and negotiating with insurers for the maximum amount of compensation available.
However, know that many left-turn accident injury victims do not realize that they have a viable third-party claim until they speak with an experienced car accident lawyer in Florida.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a team of car accident attorneys that have a proven history of winning court cases and earning settlements for left-turn accident victims. Call the law offices of Michael Steinger, Sean Greene & Michael Feiner today at 800-560-5059 or by using our online contact form.