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Who May Be Liable for Damages From a Right-Turn Accident?

Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on January 20, 2023


right turn laneA lot of car accidents happen while one driver is attempting a turn, such as a right turn. Generally, the driver making the turn is liable for damages if there is a collision. There are some instances when another party may at least share fault, though.

If you were injured in a right-turn crash, call our auto accident attorneys in South Bend today to discuss your claim. The initial consultation is free and confidential. We do not charge any upfront fees for our services. You only pay us if we win.

Below, we discuss how liability for a right-turn accident is determined.

Why Do Right-Turn Accidents Occur?

A right-turn collision between two vehicles can happen in one of two ways. The first is when one driver is attempting the right turn and a driver in the perpendicular lane crashes into him or her. The second is if the right-turning driver and a U-turning driver collide.

Right-turn accidents can also involve pedestrians, bicyclists or others in the crosswalk. Generally, these crashes occur after the driver makes the turn. They may also happen during the turn, as a bicyclist or pedestrian may be crossing the street.

These types of collisions usually occur because one person either violated another person’s right-of-way.

How is Fault Determined in a Right-Turn Crash?

The driver who is making the right turn is generally liable when an accident occurs. However, there are two major factors that may help determine fault.

Who Has the Right-of-Way?

Every type of intersection has a rule that drivers are expected to follow. If a driver is making a right turn while at a red light, he or she must yield the right-of-way to traffic in the perpendicular direction. He or she must also yield to anyone in the crosswalk.

However, if the light is green, the driver making the right turn has the right-of-way, so drivers attempting a U-turn, for example, must yield. Anyone in the crosswalk also has the right-of-way if the light is green.

These intersection laws about who must yield provide the basis for who could be liable if an accident occurs while one driver is making a right turn.

Was There a Violation of Other Traffic Laws?

The second most important factor to consider is whether a driver broke a different traffic law, such as by:

  • Speeding
  • Running a red light
  • Running through a stop sign

Drivers who run a stop sign or red light will most likely be fully liable for damages if they crash with a right-turning driver.

However, a driver who speeds through an intersection and crashes into a driver who is turning right might only be partially liable for damages. This is because the driver making the turn is required to make sure the roadway is clear before turning.

There are also some instances when a driver making a right turn may cross over multiple lanes. The standard rules for turning at an intersection are as follows:

  • Right turns should begin and end in the farthest lane to the right
  • Left turns should begin and end in the farthest lane to the left

Therefore, if a driver makes a right turn from the far-right lane but ends up in the far-left lane of the roadway where he or she is turning and collides with another vehicle, he or she may be liable for damages.

It is also important to note that it is illegal to change lanes within 100 feet of an intersection. This means that a driver who is heading straight through an intersection and moves into the far-right lane while another driver is attempting a right turn and causes a collision may be liable for damages.

What Other Parties May Share Fault?

Aside from other drivers, partial liability for a right-turn accident may also fall on someone in the crosswalk or bike lane (if there is one).

Although drivers are expected to take additional precautions with pedestrians and cyclists, these individuals must also follow traffic laws. For example, a pedestrian should not cross at an intersection if there is a “do not walk” sign. Bicyclists using the bike lane should also adhere to the rules of the road, including stopping at a red light.

Can I Still Recover Compensation if I am Partially at Fault?

Even if you are partially at fault for a collision, you may still be able to recover some compensation under Indiana’s modified comparative negligence laws.

However, you must prove you are less than 50 percent at fault for the collision.

Call a Knowledgeable Attorney Today

Our attorneys have decades of experience helping accident victims, including those injured in right-turn collisions.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your legal options. There are no upfront fees for our services.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases

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