Intersection Accident Lawyers in Orange County
Intersections are one of the most common areas for traffic collisions to occur. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), out of a total of 37,133 traffic fatalities in a recent year, 10,301 occurred at an intersection. Wrecks at intersections have many different causes, and a large number of these incidents involve driver negligence. If you have been injured in an intersection accident that was the result of other individuals’ negligence, you and your family could be facing a difficult and challenging time. To get the help you deserve, and to have the legal matters resolved quickly and correctly, contact the legal team at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie today!
As stated by FHWA, crossing and turning maneuvers at intersections create many opportunities for collisions with other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Because unsignalized (no traffic lights) intersections make up the vast majority of intersections in the U.S., they are of particular concern. This type of intersection may be completely uncontrolled (no signs or signals), yield sign-controlled, or stop sign-controlled. Of the 10,301 traffic deaths that occurred at intersections in a recent year, 7,030 were at unsignalized intersections.
It may be relatively simple in most cases to determine who is at fault for an intersection accident, as there is typically a clear violation of traffic laws that directly lead to the accident. Drivers must:
- Stop on red at traffic lights
- Stop at stop signs
- Yield the right-of-way according to uncontrolled intersection and four-way stop rules
- Yield to oncoming traffic when making a left-hand turn
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
At an uncontrolled intersection or a four-way-stop intersection, the driver who arrived first has the right-of-way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right. When making a left-hand turn, a driver should yield to all oncoming traffic, even if he or she was the first to arrive at the intersection.
Intersections are busy places and hotspots for traffic crashes. Vehicles are passing through perpendicular traffic and making turns, while pedestrians are crossing streets in different directions. This combination of factors can lead to intersection accidents, most of which are caused by driver error. The following are common causes of crashes in intersections.
Failure to Ensure the Intersection Is Clear Before Proceeding
Crashes often occur at intersections when drivers fail to check that the way is clear before they move forward. Examples of this type of crash include:
- Motorcycle crash, when a driver turning left at an intersection fails to register an oncoming motorcycle in the roadway
- Pedestrian accident, when a driver turning left or right at an intersection fails to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk
- Collisions when a driver drives into the intersection and does not follow the correct right-of-way rules, and cuts in front of an oncoming vehicle.
In each of these cases, the driver who failed to yield the right-of-way may be held liable for accidents and injuries.
Turning with an Obstructed View
A driver’s view can easily be obstructed while negotiating a left-hand turn at an intersection. For example, a driver in a small sedan waiting for a break in traffic to make a left-hand turn may not be able to see around a large SUV traveling in the opposite direction that is attempting to turn left against traffic. In some cases, a driver with an obstructed view may turn left without knowing for sure that the coast is clear, violating another driver’s right-of-way. If an accident ensues, the left-turning driver will likely be liable for injuries.
Falsely Predicting Another Driver's Actions
A driver may try to predict what another driver will do and get it wrong. For example, at a four-way stop with two vehicles, both drivers may advance at the same time, causing their vehicles to collide, because each thought the other would yield. According to four-way stop driving rules, the driver on the left should yield to the driver on the right. False predictions can also happen when drivers fail to signal turns, leading to collisions. In this case, fault and liability may lie with either the driver who failed to signal or the other driver involved in the crash.
Serious wrecks can occur at intersections when drivers exercise poor judgment and decide to take chances. Fault and liability usually lie with the driver who violated the applicable driving rules. Intersection crashes may occur as:
- Side impact (T-bone) collisions, usually caused by one driver who failed to stop or yield
- Head-on collisions, when a vehicle turns into oncoming traffic
- Pedestrian accidents, when a driver fails to stop at a crosswalk and hits a pedestrian
- Motorcycle or bicycle accidents caused by drivers with limited visibility in large vehicles executing turns
If you have been hurt by a negligent driver who failed to follow traffic rules at an intersection, speak with an experienced Orange County auto accident attorney right away. Contact Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie at (949) 752-7474 for effective and dedicated legal representation after a serious intersection accident.
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