Determining Fault in a Left-Turn Collision

driver attempting to make a left-hand turnLeft-turn collisions often happen at intersections and stop signs. One driver may be going straight through the intersection while another driver is attempting to make a left-hand turn at the light. The driver going straight thinks he or she has the right of way. At the same time, the driver turning left thinks the driver going straight is required to stop, so he or she has the right of way.

If a collision happens, who is at fault? Is the driver turning left automatically liable or are there exceptions? Ontario law offers some guidance on this issue, but the answer can vary based on the unique facts of a case. Below, we further discuss how liability is established in a left-turn collision.

There is no cost to you to learn more about your potential legal options with a Windsor-based car accident lawyer from our firm. An initial consultation comes with no risk or obligation to move forward.

Common Causes of Left-Turn Collisions

Left-turn collisions are commonly caused by drivers who fail to follow Ontario’s right of way laws. The Highway Traffic Act does not dictate where a driver attempting to make a left-hand turn should wait at an intersection. However, it does require drivers turning left to make sure they can make a complete turn safely. Negligent behaviors that can lead to a left-turn collision include:

  • Misjudging the speed of oncoming vehicles
  • Miscalculating the distance across the intersection
  • Failing to signal before turning
  • Turning when there is an obstructed view
  • Trying to beat the light or other drivers approaching

Establishing Liability in a Left-Turn Collision

Generally, the driver turning left will be found liable for the collision. Drivers making a left-hand turn must maintain a proper lookout and yield to oncoming traffic until it is to safe to proceed.

At a yellow light, Ontario law allows drivers to proceed through an intersection with caution if they feel that it is unsafe to stop. However, what one driver may consider safe may not be safe to another driver. This is why drivers turning left should never assume that a driver going straight will stop.

An experienced lawyer could help prove fault in a left-turn collision by reviewing traffic laws, conducting an independent investigation into the collision and analyzing any filed police reports. The report may show that the other driver made an illegal left turn. Ontario drivers who make an improper left turn can receive a $110 fine and have two demerit points added to their driving record.

Photos, video surveillance and eyewitness testimony can also be collected with the help of a lawyer in order to prove what happened at the time of the collision and build a strong case on your behalf.

It is also important to remember that Ontario is a no-fault insurance province, which means that even if you are partially or fully to blame for the collision, you may still be eligible to pursue compensation.

When the Other Driver May Be at Fault

It is a common misconception that the driver turning left is automatically at fault for a collision. Liability will depend on a number of different factors, including who had the right of way, the speed of the vehicles, the duties of each driver, and what a reasonable driver would have done in a similar situation.

There are times when the other driver may be at fault. Examples include:

  • He or she was speeding when approaching the intersection
  • He or she ran through a red light or stop sign
  • He or she was distracted and rear-ended the driver turning left

No Upfront Fees to Use Our Services

If you have been injured in a collision, our lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners are here to help. We know what it takes to establish liability in these cases and are available anytime, day or night, to take your call. Our initial consultations are free of charge, and there are no upfront fees to use our services.

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