As a general rule, a driver who makes a left-hand turn does so at his/her own risk. This means when you make a left-hand turn, you better be extra cautious to make sure there’s no oncoming traffic or that you have enough space and time to make the turn before the traffic gets close. As always, there are exceptions to general rules. For example, drivers in the oncoming lanes can’t speed.
Drivers are required to follow Tennessee’s right-of-way laws. Specifically, Tennessee law has separate requirements for drivers turning left on two-way roads as opposed to other roads. The right-of-way laws provide guidance on where the driver should position his/her car before, during, and after turning in an intersection.
There are also common-sense standards for turning left that drivers should follow, such as waiting until oncoming traffic has passed completely before trying to make the turn, and not using their phones while waiting to turn.
Reasons why the other driver may be liable for a left-turn accident
Drivers who turn left may not be responsible if the other driver was being negligent, or if another driver pushed you into the turn before you were ready.
There are some physical factors that may help support your version of events, such as exactly where the damage to each car is and the force of the collision. Whether the damage to your car is on the right front corner or left front corner, for example, may help to show the other driver was distracted or going too fast.
It helps to have someone take photographs of the accident site to show what conditions would indicate the other driver was in the wrong. Skid marks may indicate the other car was speeding. It always helps if there are witnesses.
Suggestions for preventing left-turn accidents
Some drivers try to do the following to reduce the risk or avoid a left-turn car crash:
- Make as many right turns as possible
- Turn their signal on well before they plan to turn
- Stop before turning or departing a driving lane
- Enter intersections cautiously
- Look in both directions before executing the turn
Understanding comparative negligence in Tennessee
It may be that both drivers share some degree of fault. You can still be awarded damages, provided your degree of fault is less than the other driver’s degree of fault. Your damage award will be reduced by your degree of fault. For example, if your damage claim is for $100,000 and you are found 30% at fault, your award will be reduced to $70,000.
It’s important to move quickly after a left-turn car accident or any car crash. We need to speak with any eyewitnesses. Our investigators need to examine the vehicles and the scene of the accident. You need to treat with your physicians to return to health. At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our Memphis car accident lawyers have been fighting for injury victims and the families of deceased victims for nearly 35 years. We help prove liability.
Our lawyers demand damages for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. To make an appointment with our Memphis and Jackson lawyers, call us at 901-475-7434 or use our contact form.
As founder of Bailey & Greer, R. Sadler Bailey has battled his fair share of insurance giants and wrongdoers and has achieved numerous multimillion-dollar results for the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. What’s more, he has been involved in more than 40 appellate court decisions affecting Tennessee personal injury law, including many landmark appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Read more about R. Sadler Bailey