Who Is At Fault for a Left-Turn Accident in Indiana?

Left-turn car accident in the road

The driver who executes an unsafe left turn is usually at fault for a subsequent collision. However, other parties may be at fault for an Indiana left-turn accident, depending on the particular circumstances at play. This could include the oncoming driver, other road users, or even government bodies.

Are There Exceptions Where the Driver Making the Left Turn Would Not Be At Fault?

In Indiana, determining fault in a left-turn accident is not always cut and dry. While the driver making the left-hand turn often bears a significant portion of the responsibility, there are exceptions where they may not be entirely at fault. The behavior of the oncoming driver might shift the blame away from the left-turning driver if they were:

  • Speeding – If the driver coming from the opposite direction exceeded the speed limit or otherwise drove recklessly, they might be found partially or entirely at fault for the accident.
  • Running a red light – A driver who failed to stop as directed would be at fault if they collided with a driver making a lawful left turn.
  • Passing illegally – If the oncoming vehicle illegally passed another car when the left-turn crash occurred, its driver may be held responsible.
  • Taking sudden and unexpected action – If the oncoming car suddenly swerved or took evasive actions that made it impossible for the left-turning driver to avoid a collision, the responsibility could shift to the oncoming driver.
  • Failed to yield – The driver approaching the intersection might fail to yield, even if the left-turning driver has a protected green arrow. This failure to yield can make them at fault.

Drivers involved in accident exchanging details for insurance claims.

What Is the Left-Turn Law in Indiana?

Here’s how Indiana’s left-turn laws apply in certain common scenarios:

  • Turning left at an intersection – A driver turning left at an intersection must yield the right of way to any vehicle within the intersection or close enough to be an immediate hazard.
  • Left turn on red – A driver can make a left turn on a red light when entering from a one-way street onto another one-way street unless posted signs prohibit such turns.
  • Left turn from a two-way street – When turning left from a two-way street onto another two-way street, a driver must yield to oncoming traffic and only proceed when it is safe.

What Are Common Causes of Left-Turn Accidents?

Left turns are inherently unsafe because they take the turning driver through the path of oncoming traffic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that a left turn was the critical pre-crash event in over 20 percent of all intersection collisions – more than any other factor.

While left-turn accidents occur for various reasons, some common causes include:

  • Misjudging the gap – A left-turning driver may misjudge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic.
  • Distracted driving A driver using a phone, adjusting the radio, or engaging in other distractions might overlook oncoming or left-turning traffic in front of them.
  • Impaired driving Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can impair a driver’s judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of left-turn accidents.
  • Signaling – Failing to use turn signals or using them incorrectly can confuse other drivers.
  • Aggressive driving – Aggressive maneuvers, such as trying to beat a red light, can result in collisions with someone turning left.

What Are Possible Injuries from a Left-Turn Accident?

Left-turn accidents can result in various injuries, from minor to severe. Some common injuries include:

  • Whiplash Sudden impacts from left-turn accidents can cause soft-tissue damage, resulting in neck and upper back pain.
  • Broken bones The force of a collision can lead to fractures, often in the arms, legs, or ribs.
  • Head injuries Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur if the head strikes an object or if there is a rapid deceleration during the collision.
  • Spinal cord injuries Severe left-turn accidents can lead to spinal cord injuries, which may result in paralysis or long-term disability.
  • Internal injuries – Impact forces can cause internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding, which may not be immediately apparent but can be life-threatening.

What Should I Do If I Am Involved in a Left-Turn Accident?

If you find yourself involved in a left-turn accident in Indiana, here are the steps to take:

  • Contact your insurance company – Notify them about the accident and provide them with the necessary information. Do not speculate about the cause of the crash or admit fault.
  • Follow up on your medical treatment – Adhere to your doctor’s treatment plan. Not only will it improve your prognosis, but it will prove to insurers that you are doing everything you can to improve your injuries and keep them from worsening.
  • Keep a journal – Record your pain levels daily to show the pain and suffering you’ve experienced over time. Also, take note of any activities you can no longer do and the emotional distress you are feeling.
  • Use caution on social media – You don’t necessarily have to stay off social media altogether, but do not mention your accident. Do not post photos of yourself that might give the false impression that you were uninjured, either. Insurance companies often follow claimants’ social media feeds, looking for anything that might give them an opening to deny or minimize a claim.
  • Consult an attorney – Speak with an experienced car accident attorney immediately, especially if there are disputes about fault or you’ve suffered significant injuries. They can help protect your rights and navigate the legal process.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Indiana?

In Indiana, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is generally two years from the date of the accident. Failure to meet this deadline may result in losing your right to pursue compensation for your losses.

Contact an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been involved in a collision and have questions about liability, compensation, or the legal process, speak with an experienced Indiana left-turn accident lawyer with Truitt Law Offices. We can evaluate your case, advise you on your rights, and advocate on your behalf for the compensation you need. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.

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About the Author

Phil Truitt joined Truitt Law Offices in 2018 after he earned his J.D. from Ohio Northern University Ohio Northern Pettit College of Law. However, his association with the law firm dates all the way back to childhood. His father, Richard, established the firm over 40 years ago. Growing up, Phil…