Car accidents often involve making a turn. This is no surprise: it’s easy for two drivers to predict what the other one is doing when both are going straight ahead, but much harder once a turn is factored in. Accidents involving turning can relate to several factors:
- The car making the turn brakes, and another car hits them from behind (rear end collision)
- The car making the turn does not signal the turn
- The driver attempts the turn when there’s not enough of a break in traffic
- Another car is speeding (or runs a traffic signal) and hits the car mid-turn
Who is at fault in a turning accident in Georgia?
In Georgia, the driver who caused the accident is considered “at fault” and is responsible for all costs. But adjudicating fault can be complicated. The driver making the turn is generally at fault if:
- The turn was illegal
- They did not signal the turn, and this is why the accident happened
- They made the turn when it wasn’t safe to do so (even if legal)
In other cases, the drive who hits the turning car is at fault, especially if they were speeding or driving recklessly.
In a left turn accident, is the driver making the turn always at fault?
Usually, but not always.
Left turn accidents are some of the most common car accident claims. This is because they involve drivers making a judgment call about whether it is or isn’t safe to turn, and then cutting across one or more lanes of moving traffic. If a driver misjudges how much time they have to make a turn, or how fast the traffic is coming, terrible accidents can ensue.
Because of this, the law puts the responsibility for a safe turn on the person making the turn. Oncoming traffic has no control over how quickly you turn, so they carry no fault in most cases. Instead, the rule is simple: you are not supposed to turn left at all unless you’re sure you have ample time to do so safely.
There are rare circumstances, however, where the oncoming driver is at fault. These can include:
- The oncoming driver was speeding. Usually, they need to have been going very fast to be at fault—substantially over the speed limit.
- The oncoming car ran a traffic light or stop sign.
- The driver started the turn when it was safe to go, but something stopped them from completing the turn, such as a sudden obstruction in the street.
Even in these cases, fault may be shifted only partially to another party. The driver making the turn may still bear some of the responsibility.
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