Left Turn Related Car Accidents in California: Who is Liable?

More often than not, car accidents occur as a result of a driver making a left turn against oncoming traffic. The question is often asked, “Who is at fault – the vehicle making the left turn or the vehicle that was traveling in the opposite direction?”  Under the law, California Vehicle Code § 21801(a) states that the driver of a vehicle must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction and shall continue to yield to approaching vehicles until the left turn can be made with reasonable safety.

Based upon California Vehicle Code § 21801(a), the driver of a vehicle making a left turn can avoid some or all liability resulting from an accident if he or she can make the following showing:

  • The vehicle traveling straight in the opposite direction was driving too fast;
  • The vehicle driving in the opposite direction drove through a red light; and/or
  • The vehicle making the left turn began the turn when it was safe, but something unexpected occurred which made it stop or slow down.

Determining liability for left turn related accidents is dependent upon the evidence found at the accident scene and, therefore, it is important to collect the following pieces of evidence at the time of the accident:

  • Obtain a police report which will usually contain a police officer’s conclusion of liability;
  • Obtain witness information to specifically determine the circumstances of the accident and whether or not the vehicle that made the left turn properly yielded the right-of-way;
  • Obtain any security camera image which captured images of the accident in real time; and
  • Take pictures of the positioning of the vehicles involved in the accident in order to reconstruct the accident.

The abovementioned process regarding determining liability for left turn related accidents is difficult and should be handled by a properly skilled car accident attorney in Los Angeles. If you have been involved in a left turn related car accident, you should immediately contact a qualified car accident attorney in Los Angeles.  The Law Offices employs experienced car accident attorneys to represent victims involved in left turn related car accidents.  Contact the firm today for your free consultation.

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