Los Angeles is famously one of the most traffic-congested cities in the country, and dozens of traffic accidents occur every day. One of the most common places we see auto accidents occur is in our busy intersections. When one driver fails to take reasonable care – which can include failing to follow traffic laws or engaging in distracted driving – this can mean that that driver is financially responsible to all other injured parties (including other drivers, passengers in their own cars, passengers in other cars, bicyclists, pedestrians, and so on) for their medical bills, pain and suffering costs, and inability to work.
If you have been in an automobile accident in Los Angeles, you should speak with a California auto accident attorney as soon as possible afterwards to maximize your ability to put together a compelling case for liability and win recovery. That said, here are a few common types of intersection accidents and overview of who might be liable.
Turning Left After the Light Has Turned Red
For many drivers in LA, trying to make a left turn against a constant stream of traffic is the bane of their daily commuting existence, especially when there are no arrows. Thus, drivers often have to wait until traffic stops from the other direction for a red light to make a left turn. Problem is, many drivers do not stop coming forward through the light until after the light has turned red.
According to the California DMV handbook, a driver attempting to make a left turn at a lighted intersection may enter the intersection only if they “have enough space to complete the turn before creating a hazard for any oncoming vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian.” Thus, if you do make a left turn at a light but are hit by an oncoming car that has failed to properly yield at a yellow or red light, the other driver could be liable. But drivers who cause accidents by trying to be the third or fourth driver making a left turn after a light has turned red could find themselves liable.
Making a Right Turn Against a Red Light
It is legal for drivers in LA to make a right turn against a red light, unless there is a sign that says no turns on red are allowed. Furthermore, drivers may only turn when they can safely do so in light of oncoming traffic. Thus, drivers that cause accidents by turning right on a red light may be partially liable.
Making a Right or Left Turn From Several Lanes Over
You should only turn onto a one-way or two-way street from the lane closest to the direction you are going (left-most lane for a left turn or right-most lane for a right turn), thus turning from several lanes over might be considered negligent.
Running a Red Light or Stop Sign
This may be a relatively straightforward issue, but many accidents are caused all the time in Los Angeles by drivers running red lights or stop signs, and that failure to follow traffic rules can be used against them in determining liability.
Other Issues to Consider (Distracted Driving)
Many auto accidents are not straightforward and involve multiples factors, and perhaps even multiple drivers who have been negligent. And it is important to note through all of these issues that, even where an injured driver or pedestrian has been negligent, that person may still be able to recover if another party was negligent as well.
Other issues that a judge or jury (or attorneys negotiating a settlement in light of what a judge or jury will do) might consider include:
- Drunk/drugged driving
- Texting while driving and other distracted driving
- Failing to use turn signals
- Defective auto maintenance (e.g. defective brakes)
- Natural conditions (e.g. rain or standing water)
Talk to a Los Angeles auto accident attorney to discuss your particular circumstances and legal options as soon as possible after an accident occurs.
Contact Geragos Law Group Law to Begin Pursuing Your Automobile Accident Claim
At Geragos Law Group, our personal injury team has decades of experience in successfully winning settlements and verdicts for our clients across Los Angeles and the greater Southern California region. We have built our lasting reputation as a champion of injury victims by always placing the needs of our clients first in providing compassionate legal counsel while aggressively pursuing the relief they are owed on their behalf. By contacting a member of the Geragos Law Group today for a free consultation, you can take the first and most important step to recovery in obtaining compensation for your automobile accident.