Left Turn Accident Attorneys In Oakland

Imagine this scenario: you’re driving through Oakland, perhaps returning home from a long day’s work. As you approach an intersection, an oncoming driver, who’s been patiently waiting to make a left turn into a local grocery store’s driveway, suddenly decides to accelerate and cut across your path.

In the blink of an eye, your vehicles collide, leaving your car significantly damaged, and you with a painful neck injury. Naturally, your mind races with concerns, especially the common belief that the one who makes the left turn is the one held responsible for the accident.

The good news is, in most left turn accident cases, the law tends to favor individuals who find themselves in your position. In simpler terms, you’re likely not the one at fault, and it’s the responsibility of the driver who made that ill-fated left turn to cover the damages.

Who Is At Fault In A Left-Turn Accident In Oakland?

Determining fault in a left-turn accident in Oakland, as in many other places, typically depends on the specific circumstances of the accident and the applicable traffic laws. However, there are some general principles that often come into play when assessing fault in left-turn accidents:

  • Left-Turning Driver’s Liability: In many cases, the driver who makes a left turn is considered at fault if an accident occurs. This is because the driver making the left turn is required to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. If they fail to do so and cause a collision with an oncoming vehicle, they are typically held responsible.
  • Right-of-Way Violations: Left-turn accidents often involve violations of right-of-way rules. If the driver making the left turn proceeds without having a clear and safe opportunity to do so, they can be found liable for the accident.
  • Speed and Timing: Factors such as the speed of both vehicles and the timing of the turn can be crucial in determining fault. For example, if the oncoming vehicle was speeding or ran a red light, it could shift some or all of the fault to that driver.
  • Signal and Traffic Light Violations: If the left-turning driver fails to obey traffic signals, such as running a red light or making a left turn on a red arrow when it’s prohibited, they can be found at fault.
  • Contributory Negligence: California follows a “comparative negligence” system, which means that fault can be apportioned between both drivers based on their respective contributions to the accident. For instance, if the driver making the left turn had the right-of-way but the other driver was speeding excessively, the fault might be shared between them.
  • Witness Statements and Evidence: Eyewitness accounts, traffic camera footage, and other evidence can also play a crucial role in determining fault. These pieces of evidence can help establish the sequence of events and each driver’s actions leading up to the accident.
  • Police Reports: Law enforcement officers who respond to the accident scene will often file an accident report. This report can be valuable in establishing fault, as it typically includes statements from the involved parties, witnesses, and the officer’s own observations and conclusions.

When Is the Driver Turning Left Not At-Fault In Oakland?

In Oakland, as in many other places, the driver making a left turn is not always automatically at fault in a left-turn accident. There are several scenarios where the left-turning driver may not be deemed at fault:

  • Green Arrow or Protected Turn: When a left-turning driver has a green arrow signal, it indicates a protected turn, and they typically have the right-of-way. If another driver collides with them during this protected turn, the other driver is usually at fault for failing to yield.
  • Pedestrian Right-of-Way: If a left-turning driver stops to allow pedestrians to cross in a marked crosswalk, and another vehicle rear-ends them or collides with them while they are stationary, the left-turning driver is usually not at fault. It’s the responsibility of the following driver to maintain a safe following distance.
  • Oncoming Driver Runs a Red Light: If an oncoming driver runs a red light or violates traffic signals, and the left-turning driver has a green light or arrow, the oncoming driver is typically at fault.
  • Speeding or Excessive Speed: If the oncoming driver was speeding or driving recklessly, and the left-turning driver had a reasonable opportunity to make a safe turn, the fault may shift to the oncoming driver.
  • Sudden Mechanical Failure: If the left-turning driver’s vehicle experiences a sudden and unexpected mechanical failure, such as brake failure, that prevents them from completing the turn safely, they may not be held at fault.
  • Failure to Yield Right-of-Way by Oncoming Driver: If the oncoming driver fails to yield the right-of-way when the left-turning driver has it, the oncoming driver is typically at fault.
  • Contributory Negligence: Sometimes, fault can be shared between both drivers based on their respective contributions to the accident. If both drivers had the opportunity to avoid the collision but failed to do so, fault may be divided between them.

Can Both Parties Be At-Fault for a Left-Turn Accident In Oakland?

Yes, in a left-turn accident in Oakland, as in many other places, it is possible for both parties involved in the collision to be deemed partially at fault. This concept is known as “comparative negligence” or “shared liability.” It means that each driver’s actions contributed to the accident to some degree, and fault is apportioned accordingly.

Here’s an example of how both parties could share fault in a left-turn accident:

Let’s say you are the driver making a left turn at an intersection. You have a green arrow, which typically grants you the right-of-way for a protected turn. However, the oncoming vehicle is speeding well above the posted speed limit. You make your left turn, believing you have a safe opening, but the speeding oncoming vehicle is unable to stop in time and collides with your vehicle.

In this scenario, both parties may share fault:

You might be considered partially at fault for not exercising reasonable caution and ensuring that it was safe to complete your left turn, even with the green arrow.

The oncoming driver would likely be deemed at fault for speeding and failing to stop or slow down in a timely manner to avoid the collision.

The degree of fault assigned to each party can vary based on the specific circumstances and the findings of the accident investigation. For instance, the oncoming driver’s excessive speeding may be seen as a more significant factor contributing to the accident, resulting in a higher percentage of fault assigned to them.

Pure comparative negligence is the legal standard in California, so you can still file a claim for damages even if you contributed to the accident in some way. The amount of blame attributed to you will, however, be deducted from the compensation you get. Therefore, you would receive 80% of the total damages you are entitled to if you were determined to be 20% at blame for the accident.

It’s important to consult with an experienced attorney if you’re involved in a left-turn accident where shared liability is a possibility. They can help protect your rights and advocate for a fair assessment of fault in your case.

How Do I Prove the Other Driver Was At-Fault In Oakland?

Proving that the other driver was at fault in Oakland, as in any jurisdiction, requires a systematic approach to gathering evidence and presenting a compelling case. First, ensure you promptly report the accident to law enforcement and obtain a copy of the police report, as it can contain valuable information and initial assessments of fault.

Additionally, collect eyewitness statements, photographs of the accident scene and vehicle damage, and any available surveillance footage. Medical records documenting injuries sustained in the accident can also be crucial.

Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is often the most effective step, as they can help analyze the evidence, interview witnesses, and employ their legal expertise to establish the other driver’s liability.

Remember, a well-documented case and a legal professional by your side can significantly strengthen your claim for compensation.

How Much Can I Collect in Damages For A Left Turn Accident In Oakland?

The amount of compensation you may be entitled to after a left-turn accident in Oakland will depend on a number of variables, including as the severity of your injuries, the extent of any property damage, the determination of fault, and other pertinent facts.

Economic and non-economic damages are the two basic types of losses in a personal injury claim.

Economic Damages: These are the tangible, quantifiable losses you have incurred as a result of the accident. They can include:

  • Medical Expenses: This covers the cost of medical treatment, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any future medical care related to the accident.
  • Property Damage: The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other damaged property.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for income you’ve lost due to the accident, including past and future earnings if your injuries affect your ability to work.
  • Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses: This may include transportation costs to medical appointments and home modifications if needed.

Non-Economic Damages: These less obvious losses might have a big influence on your life but are harder to measure. They may consist of:

  • Compensation for your physical, emotional, and mental suffering as a result of the accident and your injuries, including pain and suffering.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If your injuries have diminished your quality of life or prevented you from participating in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Loss of Consortium: In cases where the accident has affected your relationships with family members or a spouse.

In some cases, if the other driver’s conduct was particularly reckless or egregious, you may also be eligible for punitive damages, which are intended to punish the at-fault party.

To determine the specific amount you can collect in damages for your left-turn accident, it’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. They will evaluate the unique circumstances of your case, assess the value of your damages, and help you pursue a fair and just settlement or take your case to court if necessary.

Contact the Pacific Attorney Group for a free case consultation.