What is My Duty of Care When Turning Left?
How and when Florida drivers can make left turns is strictly regulated by state law and when drivers fail to comply with those rules they not only put others at risk, but can also be held liable for their actions. If you were injured in an accident because another driver turned left improperly or failed to respect your right to make a lawful turn, you may be eligible for compensation. To learn more, please contact one of our experienced car accident attorneys for advice.
Left Turn Laws
Under Florida law, drivers who are intending to turn left at an intersection must take certain steps, including:
- Approaching the intersection in the most left hand lane that is available to traffic moving in the vehicle’s direction of travel; and
- Making a left turn in such a way as to leave the intersection in a lawfully available lane.
When a driver fails to comply with these rules and to exercise proper care when making a left hand turn, he or she can be held liable for resulting damages, which includes compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Using Ordinary Care
The duty of care that a driver must use when making a left turn is higher than that required when driving down the street. For instance, left hand drivers must:
- Make sure that the turn can be made safely;
- Ensure that they can make the turn without endangering overtaking or oncoming traffic; and
- Refrain from impeding the flow of traffic in either direction.
If a crash, in which a left hand turning driver was involved occurs, the actions taken by the driver immediately before and after the accident will be analyzed. Accident reconstruction specialists will also be called in to account for the distance and speed of any approaching vehicles prior to the crash. After this analysis, the court will consider whether a person of ordinary prudence would have believed that the two cars would arrive in the intersection at the same time, which would in turn require him or her to wait for the proceeding vehicle to pass. If a driver using reasonable care would have waited, but the driver in the case at hand did not, then the at-fault party can be held liable for any subsequent accidents. There is, however, an exception in cases where the other party in the intersection had the ability and opportunity to avoid the crash by swerving around a collision or driving onto the shoulder, but he or she failed to do so. In these situations, the left hand turning driver could escape liability.
Call Today to Discuss Your Case with a Dedicated Florida Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident when a driver improperly turned left in front of you, please call 954-566-9919 to schedule a consultation with one of the experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys at Boone & Davis today. A member of our legal team is standing by to help you throughout each step of your case.