The Left-Turning Defendant Who Just Could Not Accept Fault
I’m fighting for a personal injury client who was a moped rider injured in an accident where a car turned left in front of her. She was going straight ahead at a constant rate of speed, as confirmed by eye witnesses. Traffic was heavy. There were three lanes of traffic that the Defendant driver wanted to turn across. All of the lanes had cars, some of which were stopped because of congestion. The Defendant claims he looked down the three lanes of traffic, saw that drivers in two of the lanes were stopped, waiving him through. He also claims that he saw no cars in the third lane, before he started to turn.
So, based on his assumption that the third lane of traffic was empty, he started turning left. Also because of his assumption, he thought it was safe to just drive forward through the intersection without the need to ever check again for oncoming cars. For some reason, because he had already entered the intersection, he thought (mistakenly) that he had the right of way and anyone else approaching the intersection would have to stop for him. As he crossed the first two lanes, and, before he entered the third lane, he did not look down to see if any vehicles were approaching. After he started his left turn, he never once made any other stops to check for oncoming vehicles.
By the time my client saw the defendant’s car emerging from where there were stopped cars, it was too late. She wasn’t able to stop in time to avoid a collision.
Of course, the Defendant admitted that he did not stop before entering the third lane. He was in continuous motion from the time he left his stopped position until the time of the accident.
All licensed drivers know that if you want to make a left turn, you must yield the right of way to any vehicles approaching the intersection. At his deposition, even the Defendant admitted that he knew that was the law.
So, because left turn drivers must yield the right of way, in a situation where you are turning in front two stopped cars in heavy traffic, you must “inch” your way out and check to see if its safe to enter that third lane, before you actually do so. It doesn’t matter if you “thought” it was clear when you started the left turn. You must maintain proper look out for oncoming cars at all times while you are turning. If you don’t, you could cause a serious accident, just like this defendant did.
Because of this driver’s negligence, he caused an accident which injured my client, the moped rider. The Defendant was at fault for this moped vs car accident. Please, if you are making a turn where the view is blocked by other cars, you must keep a lookout for oncoming vehicles. That means, slowly inching your way out and stopping to check for traffic, before entering the next lane.