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A 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Association report revealed that a critical factor in 22.2 percent of crashes in the U.S. was turning left.1   Left turns disrupt normal traffic flow and require more skill to make safely, yet Texas law on left turns is clear. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Are Left-Hand Turn Accidents So Common in Texas?

There are several reasons that these car accidents may be common in Texas.

Left Turns Are Allowed in Texas

Several states don’t allow left turns into right lanes, but Texas is not one of them. Drivers in the Lone Star State are legally allowed to complete a left turn into either lane of a cross street.

Making a Left Turn Is Complex

Many factors are involved in making a left-hand turn safely.  A driver must inform other drivers and those crossing the intersection of their intention by using their turn signals.

Then, they must be able to determine the distance and rate of speed of vehicles driving straight before they make the left turn. They must also watch for cyclists and pedestrians as they simultaneously cross opposing lanes of traffic.

Anyone Can Cause Left-Turn Accidents

Left-hand turn auto accidents can be caused by drivers coming from the opposite direction, as well as anyone who is crossing the intersection at the time.

What Kinds of Damage Can These Accidents Cause?

Vehicle damage is common during this type of accident. How severe that damage is depends  on the speed a vehicle is traveling. A vehicle making the left turn will typically sustain damage to the right side, where the vehicle traveling straight will sustain damage to the front and left sides.

Victims of these crashes can be injured in the following ways:

  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Brain injuries like concussions
  • Whiplash
  • Internal bleeding

Who’s at Fault?

Many individuals can be deemed at fault for the accident, and to different degrees. For example, a left-hand-turning driver may not have yielded to oncoming vehicles and been hit.

Or, the oncoming driver may have been going above the speed limit or running a red light or stop sign when they reached the intersection. Those who were crossing the intersection may not have noticed the traffic signal, or the driver may have forgotten to use their turn signal.

Texas Left Turn Law

The law is very clear about how to make a left turn safely in the state of Texas.

Section 545.152 of the Texas Transportation Code requires a driver making the left turn to, in part, “yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction.”2

Section 545.101 of the above code states that drivers turning left must “approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to a vehicle moving in the direction of the vehicle.” They must also leave the intersection, “so as to arrive in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of the vehicle on the roadway being entered.”3

All Texas drivers also have a “duty of care” to other drivers. This means they must operate their vehicles as safely as possible on public roads.

Comparative Fault and Seeking Damages

Comparative fault law governs all who find themselves involved in left-turn or other accidents in Texas. You are eligible for compensation as long as a judge finds you 50% responsible or less for the accident. However, the amount you receive in damages will be reduced according to what percentage you were found to be at fault.

Gathering the Right Evidence Can Make or Break Your Case

Male motorist involved in car accident taking picture of damage car

In order to receive the highest possible compensation for your injuries, enough of the right evidence has to be able to be gathered. This evidence includes:

  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Photos of vehicle damage and injuries
  • Cell phone records
  • Medical records to show treatment of injuries
  • Car repair receipts
  • Traffic or surveillance camera footage

This evidence is necessary because fault in left-turn accident cases is notoriously difficult to prove. This is where having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference.

Decades of Legal Experience in Left-Hand Turn Accidents

Many who try to go about getting compensation without an experienced attorney end up spending a lot of time and money for inadequate compensation.

At Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, we’ve been handling left-turn collision cases for over 45 years. We’re well aware of the tactics others will use to try and avoid responsibility, and are prepared to fight for you. Don’t wait to get the money you need for your injuries. Call us to claim your free consultation now: (713) 364-0723.

Sources:

  1. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811366
  2. https://texas.public.law/statutes/tex._transp._code_section_545.152
  3. https://texas.public.law/statutes/tex._transp._code_section_545.101

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Jonathan S. Harris and Matthew D. Shaffer are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Other attorneys are not board certified.  Principal office is located in Houston, Texas.