Car Accident Attorneys Discuss Arizona Laws
So many serious car accidents in Arizona take place at intersections. Everybody thinks of the highways as the place they are in the most danger of potentially suffering severe injuries. Of course, the speeds on our highways are much greater than they are on the surface streets. Therefore, there are many serious car accidents and many deaths in Arizona that take place on our highways due to the higher speed limits. However, there are a vast number of serious car accidents and injuries that take place at intersections. Far too often, these injuries take place where one person is going straight and the other person is trying to turn left.
People hear so much about red light runners causing car accidents, but there is not a lot of discussion about the laws related to people who are turning left at the intersection. As Arizona car accident attorneys, we have handled so very many cases that came down to law when it comes to making a left turn at an intersection. According to ARS 28-772, the person turning left at an intersection must yield the right of way to the oncoming traffic where that car is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
In plain English, and the way this usually plays out, is that the person who turns left almost always has fault for an accident - even if they shouldn't. That is because very often there are no witnesses left at the scene, or there were never witnesses who saw it in the first place. That is because even when there are witnesses at the scene they often disagree as to whether or not one car that was going straight ran a red light or whether or not the light was still green or yellow. However, everybody can agree that when one car turns left in front of the other, that that car was, in fact, turning left. Therefore, there is this natural and repeated "fallback position" to look at 28-772 and put at least some of the fault on the person who is turning left at the intersection.
Now, we handle so many car accident cases that we can think of many exceptions to this rule. There are certainly many times that the car accident was not caused by the person turning left, but by the car who ran a red light and caused the car crash. There are many cases where the person turning left did so legally, because the other car was nowhere near close enough that they may have constituted an immediate hazard at the time the left turn began, but only because they were speeding at such an unbelievably excessive rate that the car crash ever happened in the intersection.
Nonetheless, it is vital for people to be aware of this law. For car accident injury cases that go to juries, the cases that we try in court, we know that the law will be read to the jury before they make their final decision. That means the jury will hear this law that puts the onus on the car making the left turn, to not begin any turn that can cause an accident.
From our standpoint, we just want to see serious injuries reduced if not eliminated. We do know that the person making the left hand turn is in a position to hold off as long as they need to to avoid beginning a turn that can end up with either themselves getting t-boned, or them t boning another car. We urge caution before turning left. This does not excuse the many people who run red lights. However, we urge people to be aware of this law and to do everything possible to avoid needing to hire an Arizona injury lawyer. We would be much happier to see left turn accidents eliminated. We would be much happier if our clients never had to trust in us to begin with, never had to hire us to begin with, and never needed us because they had never been hurt. For those that have, and for those that are needed, deciding whether or not ARS 28-772 will prevent them from bringing a claim or prevent them from realizing fair compensation requires a complete analysis from an experienced and skilled injury trial lawyer.
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