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Who May Be Liable for a Left-Turn Crash?

image of a traffic light with a green arrow signalLeft-turn crashes not only cause serious, life-altering injuries, they are also a leading cause of car crashes at intersections. Regardless of who may be liable, these types of crashes are responsible for a lot of physical, financial and property damages each year.

Learn more about Michigan’s unique left-turn laws, why many left-hand crashes are caused by the turning driver and evidence used for determining fault.

Injured in a left-turn crash by a negligent driver? At Jay Trucks, we are prepared to help you understand your legal options after this type of crash, including whether you may be eligible to pursue additional damages beyond your no-fault benefits. Our Flint car crash lawyers have a proven track record, recovering millions for injured clients, including $935,000 for a female who suffered multiple fractures in a left-turn crash.

Learn more in a free case review. Call: (800) 762-8623

Understanding Michigan’s Unique Left-Turn Laws

Both new and experienced drivers may be a bit confused by Michigan’s traffic laws about turning left, especially if you recently moved here from another state. Here are some important left-turn traffic rules you need to know about:

Turning Left at a Traffic Signal With Arrow Indicators

Nearly ten years ago, Michigan implemented new traffic signals to help make left-hand turns safer. Michigan’s Department of Transportation (MDOT) provides a YouTube video to explain how to make a legal left-hand turn at these signals. Essentially, the law says you can turn left at these signals when:

  • Flashing yellow arrow: Drivers may turn after fully stopping and then yielding to any oncoming traffic.
  • The green arrow: This means the oncoming traffic should have stopped and you can proceed with your turn. It is still good to check for red light runners first.
  • Solid yellow arrow: Drivers must slow down and prepare to stop. Going through a solid arrow could get you a ticket or cause a crash.

The Michigan Left

Drivers in the state are accustomed to the Michigan Left, a common turn implemented decades ago to help reduce both traffic congestion and increase safety. According to statistics, the Michigan Left increases left-turning capacity by 20 to 50 percent.

To turn at a Michigan left, you must first go straight – or turn right, depending on the sign guidance. When you reach the implemented median crossover, you can make a U-turn.

Turning Left on a Red Light Onto a One-Way Street

This maneuver may seem odd to many drivers from out-of-state, but in Michigan, you can turn left at a solid red light – but only:

  • If there are no signs, traffic indicators or other markers that indicate turning on red is not permitted
  • After coming to a full and complete stop and checking for oncoming traffic and pedestrians
  • When you are turning onto a one-way street that is going the same direction as when you turn

Left-Turning Crashes and Who May Be At Fault

Regardless of which type of signal allows you to make a left-hand turn, you are required, by law, to yield the right of way to vehicles approaching from the opposite direction. Failure to do so may result in both a ticket and other hefty fines.

How is Fault Determined in a Left-Turn Crash?

Determining fault for a left-hand crash can be tricky in Michigan, in part, because of the unusual left-turn laws that exist. However, to establish fault for this type of collision, an attorney will:

  • Thoroughly investigate the scene of the crash to gain insight into the cause
  • Review photographs taken of the vehicles, road debris or fresh tire marks after the crash
  • Speak with involved drivers as well as any eyewitnesses
  • Examine police reports – and speak with the responding officer, if possible
  • Review any available video footage of the crash
  • Hire an accident reconstruction specialist, if necessary, to help determine liability

Often, the accident may be caused by a driver turning left who:

  • Did not adhere to Michigan’s laws for making a legal left turn
  • Failed to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic
  • Neglected to use a turn signal to alert other drivers he or she was about to turn

The oncoming driver going through the intersection may be at least partially liable for a left-hand turn at times, such as if he or she sped through a red light and collided with the left-turning driver.

How You May Avoid a Left-Turn Crash

Here are some steps you can take to help prevent a left-turn crash in Michigan:

  • Make sure you understand and adhere to all left-turn laws in Michigan
  • Slow down and double-check traffic before turning – even if you have the right of way
  • Use your signal, giving others around you enough notice to react to your signal and avoid a crash
  • Be sure you have adequate space from oncoming traffic before turning
  • Check not only for motor vehicles but also cyclists and pedestrians before turning left
  • Do not turn the wheels of your vehicle until you start your turn
  • Remember to shut off your turn signal after completing your turn

Injured By a Left-Turning Driver? We Are Ready to Help

At Jay Trucks, we have been helping injured victims involved in a variety of collisions – including left-turn crashes. Our experience is extensive and, combined with our successful track record, speaks volumes about our commitment to our clients.

If you were injured in a left-turn crash caused by a careless driver, we are prepared to help. Contact our firm to learn more about your potential legal options in a free, no-obligation case review. We are ready to help.

No Upfront Costs. Ph: (800) 762-8623