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Who Is at Fault for an Unprotected Left Turn Accident in Washington?

June 3, 2022 – Matt Albrecht

Who Is at Fault for an Unprotected Left Turn Accident in Washington?

Did you know that a significant percentage of multi-vehicle collisions occur when one driver is attempting to make a left-hand turn? There are two broad categories of left turns: Protected and unprotected. A protected left turn is one that generally occurs at a red light or stop sign. The driver turning left has the right-of-way. In contrast, with an unprotected left-turn, the turning driver must yield to oncoming traffic. In this article, our Spokane auto accident lawyer provides an overview of the key things that you should know about unprotected left turn collisions in Washington State.

Why are Unprotected Left Turns Potentially Dangerous?

An unprotected left turn is considered to be a “heightened risk” maneuver. These types of turns have the potential to be dangerous because the driver is forced to cross one or more lanes of oncoming traffic. It is imperative that motorists take extra safety precautions when making an unprotected left-hand turn. Making an unprotected left turn without having adequate time could cause an accident.

Fault is Not Automatic: Understanding Comparative Negligence

As noted previously, an unprotected left turn is one in which the turning driver lacks the right-of-way. In effect, this means that they are required to yield to the vehicle that is traveling straight. For this reason, the driver who is making an unprotected left-turn is far more likely to be deemed ‘at fault’ for a multi-vehicle collision. That being said, fault for a car accident is never automatically assigned in Washington State.

Under Washington law (Chapter 4.22.005 RCW), all motor vehicle collisions are subject to the comparative negligence standard. Each motorist involved in an unprotected left-turn crash will be held responsible for their proportionate share of the fault. In some cases, the oncoming driver could be deemed partially at-fault for an unprotected left-turn. For example, if they were speeding, did not have their lights on at night, or otherwise were negligent, they could bear partial—or even total—fault for the crash.

Recovering Compensation for an Unprotected Left Turn Collision 

Following an unprotected left turn accident in Washington, it is crucial that injured victims are able to maximize their financial recovery. In Washington State, injured auto accident victims can seek monetary relief for economic and intangible damages. An experienced Spokane car accident lawyer will help you seek the compensation you rightfully deserve after an unprotected left turn crash. You may be able to recover from vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Spokane Auto Accident Attorney

At‌ ‌Albrecht‌ ‌Law‌ ‌PLLC, our Spokane auto accident lawyer fights aggressively to hold insurance companies accountable. If you or your loved one were hurt in an unprotected left turn accident, we are here to help. Give us a call now or connect with us online to arrange your free, fully confidential initial appointment. From our Spokane office, we represent auto accident victims in Spokane County and throughout East Washington.

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