At some point, every driver will need to make a left-hand turn while in their vehicle. While it’s completely legal to do so, left turns present greater risks than other types of turns, often causing t-bone accidents and other collisions. They involve yielding to oncoming traffic and being especially careful about traffic signs. If you get into an accident in Georgia while someone is making a left-hand turn, you might wonder who is at fault for the collision.
The driver who is making the left turn often causes the accident, but it depends on the details. Below, we’ll look at Georgia’s laws on left turns and how fault works if one results in an accident.
What Does Georgia Law Say About Left-hand Turns?
All drivers must follow Georgia’s traffic laws at all times, including when making a left turn on any road. The rules on making left turns are detailed in the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Drivers Manual. (You can view all traffic rules in Georgia on their manuals page.)
When making a left-hand turn in your vehicle, you should:
- Use the appropriate signals and with sufficient time for the drivers ahead and behind you to see your plan to turn
- Move into the designated turning lane or, if there is none, the far left lane on the side you are traveling
- Keep your vehicle’s wheels straight until you start turning
- Yield to all vehicles that are approaching from the opposite directions and to pedestrians crossing either side of the roadway
- Turn into the lane closest to the center lane(s) in the direction of traffic on the street you are turning onto
- Stop for any pedestrians who are in the crosswalk of the road you’re turning onto
Also, once you enter the left-turn lane in at an intersection, you cannot change into another lane, even if you realized you made a mistake entering that lane.
All drivers are legally required to follow these laws on making left-hand turns.
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Who Is At Fault in a Left-hand Turn Accident in Georgia?
If a driver was not following Georgia laws on turning left and it caused an accident, that driver was at fault for the accident. By failing to follow local laws, they were negligent and in turn led to the crash happening.
Reasons a driver might fail to make a correct left-turn include:
- Misjudging how fast cars in the oncoming lane were traveling, assuming they had enough time to complete their turn instead of yielding
- Not seeing an oncoming car or bicyclist
- Not seeing a pedestrian crossing the road
- Driving while distracted, such as while texting, or while under the influence
- Not using a turn signal to alert other vehicles of the turn
- Turning into the wrong lanes
So, the driver who was making the left-turn is usually at fault for the accident. That being said, there are situations where the other driver may be liable. If the other driver ran a red light and crashed into another driver making a legal left turn, the first driver would clearly be at fault.
In rare cases, a left-turn accident can happen due to a manufacturing or maintenance error in a vehicle. In that situation, the party who created or worked on the car may be at fault for the accident.
What Costs Can I Recover After a Left-hand Turn Accident?
In Georgia, you have the right to seek compensation for all of your costs after an auto accident that you did not cause. Those costs are legally known as your “damages.”
If you were not at fault for your left-hand turn accident, you can recover for losses like:
- Medical bills, doctor visits, and hospital stays
- Prescription medications
- Travel to and from medical appointments
- Future treatment, such as physical therapy or surgeries
- Vehicle repair costs
- Lost wages
If the accident has left you with mental and emotional damages too, you can recover for those as long as they directly result from your physical injuries.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
John Foy & Associates is here to help after another driver causes a left-turn accident (or any other type of accident) in Georgia. We know how to win cases, and we have been helping injury victims do so for over 20 years.