Fort Lauderdale Left-Turn Car Accident Attorney

Home » Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents » Left-Turn Accidents

left turn car accident in fort lauderdale florida

Each year, Florida witnesses nearly 400,000 traffic accidents, making it crucial for drivers to navigate its roads with utmost caution. This rings especially true in bustling cities like Fort Lauderdale, where intersections serve as potential hotspots for collisions. Among the top concerns for Florida drivers are the failure to signal turns and a need for more attention to changing traffic signals.

Left-turn car accidents in Fort Lauderdale, in particular, present significant risks on the road. A 2016 study highlighting Florida’s dubious distinction of having some of the nation’s most hazardous drivers sheds light on the dangers of improper maneuvers during left turns.

At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys understand the intricacies of Florida’s traffic laws. If you’ve been involved in a left-turn car accident in Fort Lauderdale, our team is here to provide you with the expert legal counsel and representation you need.

Left-Turn Accidents Cause Nearly 25% of All Intersection Crashes

Left-turn accidents are a significant concern on the busy streets of Fort Lauderdale, contributing to a notable portion of roadway collisions. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 25% of all crashes at intersections are attributed to left-turn accidents.

Causes to Consider:

1.   Failure to Yield:

A common cause in Fort Lauderdale’s left-turn accidents is the failure to yield. This happens when a driver turning left does not give way to oncoming traffic, often at intersections controlled by traffic signals or signs. Distractions, unfamiliarity with right-of-way rules, or misjudgments about traffic flow can lead to this dangerous scenario.

2.   T-Bone Collisions:

Another prevalent type of left-turn accident is the “T-bone” collision, occurring when one vehicle’s front crashes into the middle of another. This often results from a left-turning vehicle being struck by a vehicle proceeding straight through the intersection, leading to severe side-impact collisions and injuries.

3.   Passing Mishaps:

In unfortunate instances, a left-turning vehicle may be hit by a car attempting to pass from the left. This reckless behavior poses significant dangers, especially when the left-turning driver has signaled their intent and slowed down.

Determining Fault:

Assigning fault in left-turn accidents involves examining the circumstances preceding the collision. Typically, the driver making the left turn is considered at fault if they fail to yield to oncoming traffic with the right of way.

For instance, if a driver with a green light turns left and collides with a vehicle moving straight through the intersection, they are usually held responsible. Florida law mandates that left-turning drivers yield unless traffic signals or signs indicate otherwise.

However, situations of shared fault can arise, especially on rural roads lacking signals or designated lanes. In such cases, a passing driver may fail to recognize the intention of a left-turning vehicle, leading to a collision.

Who is at Fault on a Left Turn Accident When There is a Green Light?

In the bustling streets of Fort Lauderdale, understanding the significance of yielding the right of way during left turns is crucial. When cruising down a Fort Lauderdale road, the sun casting a warm glow over the asphalt, a left turn collision on a green light can leave you disoriented, wondering, “Who is at fault?”

Left Turn Driver Liability

Left turns on green lights are permitted, but assuming the automatic right of way can lead to dangerous assumptions. In many cases, the left-turning driver bears responsibility for these accidents. Always signal your intent to turn left and practice defensive driving by anticipating the actions of others.

Exceptions and Complexities

While left-turning drivers are often at fault, exceptions exist. An oncoming driver speeding or running a red light can shift liability. Comparative negligence laws in Florida add nuance to fault determination.

Navigating Florida’s Traffic Signals

Understanding the nuanced laws governing left turns is pivotal. A green light means proceed with caution, yielding to oncoming traffic, while a green arrow provides a protected left turn. Remember, a green light does not equate to automatic right of way for left turns.

Risks of Misjudgment

Misjudging the speed or distance of oncoming vehicles is a common cause of left-turn accidents. Caution is vital, especially when crossing multiple lanes of traffic. Defensive driving and clear signaling of intentions can prevent accidents.

What is a “Failure to Yield” in a Left Turn Accident in Fort Lauderdale?

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the rules governing left turn accidents are outlined in Chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes, commonly referred to as “The Rules of the Road.” Specifically, Section 316.122 of the statutes addresses the responsibilities of drivers intending to make a left-hand turn.

Responsibilities of Left-Turning Drivers

According to Section 316.122, Florida Statutes, a motor vehicle driver planning to turn left into a road or driveway must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. In essence, this means that the driver attempting a left turn should give way to approaching vehicles.

Impact of Violating Traffic Regulations

Unfortunately, many drivers in Fort Lauderdale are either in a rush or simply careless in their vehicle operation on the city’s roads, streets, and highways. When a driver fails to yield while making a left turn, the consequences can be severe, often resulting in car accidents with personal injuries.

Legal Ramifications of Violations

In Florida, if a driver violates a traffic regulation such as Section 316.122, the law tends to favor the injured party. Even if the driver receives a traffic citation for the violation, the disposition of the citation does not necessarily determine fault in a civil case or claim.

Apportioning Fault in Florida Car Accidents

Florida operates as a comparative fault state, meaning fault can be divided among multiple drivers involved in an accident. This system allows for fault to be apportioned fairly based on the circumstances of the collision.

What Are The Traffic Laws in Florida?

When a driver intends to turn left, they must adhere to Florida Statute 316.122 by signaling their intent and yielding the right of way to vehicles approaching from the opposite direction. Failure to yield in such situations can result in a moving violation, and the driver may be at fault for any resulting collisions, especially in left-turn car accidents in Fort Lauderdale.

Rules for Stop or Yield Intersections

At intersections with stop signs, drivers must come to a complete stop according to Florida Statute 316.123. The vehicle that arrives first at a four-way stop has the right of way. If vehicles arrive simultaneously, the driver to the right is given priority. Similarly, drivers must yield to vehicles and pedestrians at yield signs, and failing to do so can lead to significant fines.

Overtaking and Passing Vehicles

Florida Statute §316.083 dictates that drivers must yield to overtaking vehicles, except when passing on the right is legally permitted. Overtaking vehicles may signal audibly or use their headlights at night. Drivers being overtaken should not increase their speed until the passing vehicle has safely completed the maneuver.

Yielding at Intersections

According to Florida Statute 316.121, drivers must yield when crossing or entering a highway, whether paved or unpaved. This is particularly important as vehicles on highways may be traveling at high speeds. In such situations, yielding to passing vehicles is crucial for preventing accidents.

Giving Way to Emergency Vehicles

Florida Statute 316.126 mandates that all motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians must yield to emergency vehicles such as ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks. Drivers should immediately clear intersections and move to the nearest curb when emergency vehicles are approaching.

A Deeper Look Into Florida Statutes § 316.075 and § 316.122

Florida Statute § 316.075

This statute governs the right of way at intersections and provides guidelines for situations where drivers are turning left or right. Florida Statute § 316.075 ensures safe and orderly traffic flow by specifying rules for yielding in various scenarios.

Florida Statute § 316.122

This statute specifically addresses the responsibilities of drivers making left turns, emphasizing the need to yield to oncoming traffic. Florida Statute § 316.122 provides the legal framework for determining fault in left-turn accidents, particularly in Fort Lauderdale.

What if I Was Turning Left and Was Hit By a Speeding or Reckless Driver?

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, left-turn car accidents can raise questions about liability and fault. While the driver making a left turn is often presumed responsible, there are scenarios where other drivers’ negligence plays a significant role.

Factors Beyond the Left-Turning Driver’s Control

  • Distracted Driving: The rise in distracted driving incidents has contributed to a surge in car accidents. When drivers are distracted, they may fail to notice a vehicle turning left, leading to a collision. In such cases, the distracted driver could be held liable for resulting injuries or damages.
  • Speeding Vehicles: Drivers executing left turns must assess the flow of oncoming traffic. However, this becomes challenging when vehicles are speeding. Accidents frequently occur when oncoming drivers exceed the speed limit, making it difficult for the turning driver to safely complete the maneuver.
  • Attempting to Beat a Red Light: Intersection-related left turn accidents are common. As the traffic light transitions to yellow, a driver making a left turn might believe they have sufficient time to complete the turn. However, if another vehicle accelerates to beat the red light, a collision can ensue, with the driver running the red light potentially bearing responsibility.
  • Vehicle Malfunctions: In some instances, a left turn accident might result from a sudden car malfunction while navigating through lanes of traffic. In such cases, it may be possible to hold the vehicle manufacturer accountable for the accident.

Other Scenarios of Potential Driver Fault

  • Failure to Signal: If a driver fails to properly signal their intent to turn left, it can lead to confusion among other drivers and contribute to an accident.
  • Illegal Maneuvers: Performing an illegal left turn, such as at a “No Left Turn” sign or in a designated turn-only lane, can result in liability for any resulting collision.
  • Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs a driver’s ability to make safe turns, potentially leading to accidents.
  • Aggressive Driving: Aggressive behaviors such as cutting off other vehicles or refusing to yield can escalate into left turn accidents, with the aggressive driver being at fault.

When Could There Be Exceptions To Florida’s Left-Turn Liability Rules?

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the general presumption is that the driver making a left turn is responsible for any resulting accident. However, there are important exceptions to this rule that could impact liability in left-turn car accidents.

1. Intersection with Left-Turn Only Signal

  • Right of Way for Left-Turn Drivers: When an intersection is equipped with a left-turn-only sign or signal, the driver intending to turn left is granted the right of way. In such cases, if an accident occurs during the left turn, the driver may not be held liable for the collision.

2. Speeding Oncoming Vehicles

  • Impact of Speed on Left-Turn Perception: The speed of oncoming vehicles significantly affects a left-turning driver’s ability to gauge the time needed to complete the turn safely. For instance, if a driver is making a left turn in a 40 mph zone, they might assume the oncoming vehicle is traveling at the speed limit. However, if the oncoming vehicle is speeding at 65 mph, the left-turn driver has considerably less time to complete the turn.
  • At 40 mph, an oncoming car travels approximately 58 feet per second, covering the length of a football field in about 5.17 seconds.
  • In contrast, a car traveling at 65 mph covers the same distance in approximately 3.15 seconds, leaving the left-turn driver with only 2 seconds less to complete the turn safely.
  • Perception Challenges: Estimating the speed of oncoming vehicles is challenging for left-turn drivers, especially when considering other hazards and calculating trajectories. If it can be proven that the oncoming vehicle was speeding, the left-turn driver may not be deemed at fault. Florida law recognizes “comparative negligence,” where fault is compared between parties involved.

For instance, if a left-turn driver is found 40% at fault and the oncoming driver is determined to be 60% at fault for a $100,000 damage case, the left-turn driver would be entitled to 60% of their damages.

3. Violation of Traffic Laws

  • Running a Red Light: If the driver of the oncoming vehicle runs a red light, they violate traffic laws. In such cases, the left-turn driver may not be held liable for the resulting accident.

4. Unexpected Obstructions

  • Sudden Obstacles: In scenarios where the left-turn driver is safely proceeding across lanes but encounters an unforeseen obstruction such as a darting pedestrian, animal, or other causes, they may not be considered at fault for the accident.

Auto Accident Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys are the trusted advocates for car accident victims in Fort Lauderdale. Our experienced legal team understands Florida’s traffic laws, including left-turn accidents. We fight for our clients’ rights, securing rightful compensation for their injuries.

If you’ve been injured, contact our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers for a free consultation. We provide dedicated legal representation to guide you towards recovery and justice.

Areas near Fort Lauderdale our experienced legal team serves include Hialeah, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, and more.