Who is to Blame for a Left-Turn Accident in Wisconsin?

driver turning left at an intersectionMany accidents happen when drivers are making a left-hand turn. Most of the time, the driver turning left must yield to oncoming traffic before crossing an intersection and for this reason, the turning driver is often found at fault in a crash. There are certain cases, however, when the other driver may be to blame.

If you have been injured in a left-turn accident, do no hesitate to contact an Appleton car accident lawyer from our firm. We have decades of experience conducting accident investigations and gathering supportive evidence to build strong claims for compensation. Our consultations are 100 percent free.  

Causes of Left-Turn Accidents

Left-turn accidents are often caused by a driver who does not follow Wisconsin’s right of way laws. State law requires drivers turning left to yield to oncoming traffic and only turn when traffic has cleared, and it is safe to do so. This is true at a green light and at an intersection without a traffic light.

Drivers turning left onto a roadway, alley or driveway, or making a left U-turn must also yield to oncoming traffic. Although oncoming traffic does not need to slow down or stop for any driver making a left-hand turn, all drivers must be attentive and take evasive actions if able.

Aside from a failure to yield the right of way, these accidents can also happen when drivers turning left:

  • Misjudge the speed of oncoming traffic
  • Try to beat the light or other drivers approaching
  • Miscalculate the distance across the intersection
  • Fail to signal before making a turn
  • Have an obstructed view when turning

Establishing Liability in a Left-Turn Accident

Wisconsin is an at-fault state, which means the driver who is found liable for the crash is also responsible for damages. Generally, these costs will be paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

An experienced lawyer can help establish liability in a left-turn accident by reviewing state traffic laws to see whether the driver made an illegal left turn. The location of the impact and the damage done to the vehicles involved could also say a lot about how a crash occurred.

For instance, if you were driving through an intersection and another driver made a left-hand turn in front of you, you may have attempted to swerve to avoid getting hit. If you were hit, you would likely have damage to the left front corner or left side of your car. This could help show that you attempted to avoid the crash by swerving. The other driver’s car would likely have damage to the right front corner, which could help show that the driver was not paying attention when turning left into oncoming traffic.

A lawyer can also use the services of an accident reconstruction specialist to determine how the crash happened, whether either driver was negligent, and who may have caused or contributed to the crash.  

When the Driver Turning Left May Not Be to Blame

Although the driver turning left is usually to blame for an accident, there are certain cases in which another driver may be the one at fault. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Speeding – Video footage may show the other driver was going too fast through an intersection and hit the driver turning left. He or she may be found at least partially liable for the accident.
  • Running a red light – The other driver may receive a citation for breaking the law and be liable for the crash for not stopping at the light and hitting the driver turning left with a green arrow.
  • Distracted driving – Witness statements may show the other driver was not paying attention when approaching an intersection, causing him or her to rear-end the driver turning left.
  • Impaired driving – The other driver may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he or she went through an intersection when the driver was halfway through the turn.  

Tips on How to Avoid Left Turn Accidents

Practicing good driving habits is the best way to avoid being involved in a left-turn accident. Some helpful tips to keep you and others sharing the road safe from harm include:

  • Driving defensively and not assuming oncoming traffic will yield to you
  • Adhering to the speed limit so you can make a turn with reasonable safely
  • Using your turn signal to inform other drivers that you are about to turn
  • Waiting to turn until your vision is not obstructed by the weather or the sun
  • Looking in both directions to make sure the traffic has cleared before turning
  • Leaving enough space in front of you while turning if you need to brake quickly

Get Help from One of Our Attorneys Today

The attorneys at Sigman Janssen are prepared to offer legal help after a left-turn accident. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, let us discuss your rights and potential options for pursuing compensation during a free consultation. We know what it takes to establish liability in these cases.

Contact us anytime, day or night, to get started. You are not obligated to have us represent you. We do not charge any upfront fees and only receive payment for our services if we help you obtain a recovery.

Sigman Janssen. Millions Recovered. Ph: (877) 888-5201