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How to Determine Liability in a Left-Turn Car Accident in Florida?


Many car owners in West Palm Beach and other parts of Florida tend to think that the driver of the vehicle turning left is always at fault. However, that is not the case in 100% of all left-turn car accidents in Florida.

We are going to discuss the circumstances that might affect liability and fault in a vehicle crash that involves a car turning left.

When is the Driver Turning Left at Fault? 

Here are four hypothetical situations in which the driver of the left-turning vehicle would be deemed at fault in a left-turn car accident.

Under Florida Statute § 316.122, a car driver turning left at a solid green light must yield to any motorist approaching from the opposite direction that entered the intersection or is so close to it that it would be unable to stop in time to avoid a crash. For example, if another vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction and driving straight through the intersection, the driver of the vehicle turning left would be at-fault for the resulting collision.

Florida Statute § 316.075, meanwhile, requires the driver of the left-turning vehicle to yield to pedestrians and cars that are lawfully in the intersection. The driver must wait until the pedestrian in the crosswalk makes it across the street before executing a left turn.

Similarly, if another vehicle entered the intersection lawfully and is still in it when the left-turning driver gets the left-turn arrow, the latter must wait until the car clears the intersection to proceed with his or her maneuver.

Left-turning drivers are also prohibited from turning on a red light, though there are exceptions, which we will discuss below.

When is the Other Driver at Fault? 

The motorist who goes straight through the intersection can be either partially or fully at-fault if he/she:

  • Runs a red light
  • Speeds through the intersection
  • Attempts to beat a yellow light
  • Does not use the left straight lane to proceed through the intersection (instead, uses the left-turn lane)
  • Turns left where no left turns are permitted
  • Violates traffic laws while driving

Is Driver Who Turns Left on Red Always at Fault? 

A widespread presumption is that the driver who turns left on a red light is always at fault. However, it is legal to execute a left turn on a red light in Florida.

Florida motorists are permitted to turn left on red under the following circumstances:

  • A driver is turning from a one-way street onto a one-way street;
  • The vehicle has come to a complete stop;
  • The left-turning driver has yielded to all pedestrians and traffic legally in the intersection; and
  • There is no “no turn on red” sign.

Proving Fault in a Left-Turn Car Accident 

When it comes to gathering evidence to prove fault in a left-turn car accident, all of the following pieces of evidence can play a vital role in establishing the other driver’s fault:

  • Photos at the scene
  • Surveillance video
  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Skid marks
  • A conclusion by accident reconstruction experts

Consult a West Palm Beach auto accident attorney if you have been in a left-turn car crash to help you establish responsibility and recover financial compensation from the at-fault motorist. Contact Pike & Lustig, LLP, to discuss your situation. Call at 561-291-8298.


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