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Left Turn Accidents—Who Is At Fault?

October 29, 2015

We have all sat patiently in the left turning lane waiting for a never ending stream of traffic to pass. We may even have sat through multiple light changes before we finally inched up to the line. When an opening arrives in the flow of traffic, we quickly proceed through to the other side. We have also been on the other side of this scenario and proceeded straight towards an intersection, only to see the light turn yellow. Here, we are presented with the choice to either stop or speed on through the intersection.

Unfortunately, many car accidents result from left turns. When a left turn accident occurs, who is at fault? Is it the driver who turned left or headed straight through the light? The answer will depend largely on the circumstances surrounding the crash.

The Left Turn Driver Faces More of a Challenge

The driver proceeding straight through the intersection is considered to be the dominant vehicle and has the right of way. The driver making the left turn is required by law to yield the right of way to traffic approaching from the opposite direction. However, once the driver has yielded as required, the left hand turn driver then has the right of way and can proceed through the intersection. Approaching vehicles must then yield the right of way to the turning car. In sum, if there is enough room for the driver making the left hand turn to turn safely and the driver proceeds, the driver heading straight must yield to the driver who has already begun his or her turn.

When the light has turned yellow, a court will additionally need to consider the law related to yellow lights. Georgia law says that a circular yellow light is intended to warn drivers that the green movement is being terminated and a red light will issue immediately afterward.  At this point, all traffic must stop. Accordingly, in the state, it is not illegal to run through a yellow light, but it will be unlawful if it is not safe to do so.

In the case of a left turn accident, the court will consider who had the right of way, whether the driver exercised caution and looked before either turning or continuing straight, the speed of the drivers, weather conditions and the status of the light. Anyone injured in a left turn accident will require the assistance of an skilled automobile accident attorney who will represent their interests to the fullest extent.

Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law: Seasoned Automobile Accident Attorneys Seeking the Best Results for Injured Accident Victims

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, contact the Georgia Auto Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law. We are dedicated to assisting those injured in all manner of traffic accidents across Georgia and in the Southeast. Our firm brings over 38 years of experience to your automobile accident case, providing you with the zealous representation you need to obtain the best possible outcome. The sooner you act after your injury, the greater your chances of obtaining a full recovery. As such, it is important that you seek the assistance of an attorney as soon as possible. Call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.



Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.