Who Is at Fault in a Left-Turn Accident in Alabama?

Car driving on an empty road with left safety light turned on to turn to the left

Did you recently suffer injuries in a left-turn accident in Alabama? If so, you might wonder who will pay your medical bills, lost income, and other crash-related expenses. The answer will depend on who is at fault.

Alabama Laws on Left Turns in Traffic 

The Code of Alabama includes several statutes that pertain to how and when drivers can make left turns in traffic. Here’s what the law says:

  • Vehicles approaching or entering intersections – If two drivers arrive at an intersection at about the same time, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right.
  • Vehicles making a left turn– If a driver is preparing to turn left at an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway, they must yield the right-of-way to others. That includes drivers of vehicles approaching from the opposite direction that are either already in the intersection or close enough to pose an immediate hazard.
  • Vehicles entering highways from private roads or roadways – If a driver is preparing to turn left out of a private drive or property to enter or cross a highway, they must yield to all approaching vehicles on the road.

Determining Fault for Left-Turn Accidents

In Alabama, determining fault for left-turn accidents requires examining who had the right-of-way. State laws say that drivers making left-hand turns must yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic traveling straight or turning right in most circumstances. That means the driver turning left should proceed only when it’s safe and clear.

As a result, the driver making a left turn is frequently at fault in left-hand turn crash scenarios because they do not have the right-of-way. However, every left-turn accident is different, so investigators must review the evidence and the law to determine liability on a case-by-case basis.  

Circumstances When the Left-Turning Driver Is Not at Fault

There are left-turn accident scenarios in which the driver making the left turn is not at fault, such as when:

  • The oncoming driver is speeding — If the oncoming vehicle exceeds the speed limit, making it impossible for the left-turning driver to judge their approach safely, the speeding driver could be at fault for the left-turn accident. Alabama’s contributory negligence rules could prevent a recovery in that situation. 
  • The oncoming driver runs a red light – If the oncoming driver runs a red light and collides with the car making a left turn on a green arrow, fault likely lies with the driver who ignored the traffic signal.
  • The oncoming driver changes lanes unexpectedly – If the oncoming driver suddenly changes lanes, they could be at fault for catching the left-turning driver off-guard. 
  • A road obstruction leads to a sudden stop – Suppose a left-turning driver gets hit after slamming on the brakes due to an unexpected event, like a pedestrian darting into the road. In that case, they might not be at fault if their actions were reasonable under the circumstances.

Our Lawyers Are Ready to Help Victims of Left-Turn Accidents 

Need help understanding who is at fault in a left-turn car accident in Alabama? A car accident attorney with the law firm of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. is ready to assist you in determining the at-fault party and pursuing fair compensation from their insurance company. 

Contact us for a free consultation and case assessment today so we can review how the left-turn accident occurred, explain your legal rights, and explore your options for seeking fair compensation together.

Author Joey Aiello

After joining the Morris firm in 2004, it was his first venture into plaintiff’s personal-injury law. While he’s been co-counsel in numerous trials, he quickly took on the role of being the chief brief writer and appellate attorney in the office.