Many accidents come down to whether one or both drivers acted negligently or if someone made a mistake and performed an illegal maneuver. Performing a U-turn, especially in a congested area, must be done with extreme caution and only in legal areas. Failing to do so will likely lead to a traffic violation or, worse, a catastrophic accident.
A U-turn maneuver can be made from different parts of the road. A general 500-foot rule applies before executing the U-turn, meaning you need at least 500 feet of visibility to be safe. Remember that U-turns can only be done in legal areas; many intersections that disallow U-turns should be marked.
Just as it is with many car crashes, liability will come into question in a U-turn accident. If the person who made the U-turn did so illegally, it is more than likely they would be the one held liable for the crash. However, it is not always as cut and dry.
There are many aspects of a U-turn accident to consider when determining liability, such as:
- If the oncoming driver had enough time to react to the turning driver, or was there a hill or other traffic obscuring their view?
- If the turning vehicle was visible, especially if the accident occurred at night or in adverse weather conditions.
- If the turning vehicle made the U-turn legally at an intersection, or was it done illegally?
- If the turning vehicle violates the oncoming driver’s right-of-way.
- If the turning vehicle had the right-of-way with a green arrow while in a left-turn-only lane.
- If a driver fails to yield to pedestrians or bicyclists.
In most cases, the driver making the U-turn, even in a legal area, is the one who is held liable for the crash.
How to Prove Liability for a U-Turn Accident?
Proving liability can be complicated. You likely will need the help of an accident lawyer who can review the details and evidence and help build your case. They may need the following:
- Police report: Many police reports include the officer’s notes about the accident.
- Video footage: Many intersections have traffic cameras that can be used to help determine fault.
- Witness statements: Witnesses in the accident area may have an account of the events before the collision.
- Expert statements: Your lawyer may have an expert reconstruct the accident for trial purposes, which can help determine how a crash happened.
What if Both Drivers Were Responsible for the Crash?
It is not uncommon for both drivers to share responsibility in a U-turn accident. For instance, the driver performing the U-turn may have done so in an illegal area, but the oncoming driver also ran a stop sign.
In cases where both parties share responsibility, the plaintiff asking for damages in the lawsuit must be less responsible than the defendant to receive compensation. The amount of fault assigned to the plaintiff, usually as a percentage, is subtracted from their total award.
Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at D’Amato Law Firm Help People Who Have Been Injured in U-Turn Accidents
In many cases, the driver performing a U-turn is responsible if they cause an accident. If you were in a U-turn accident, speak with our Atlantic City car accident lawyers at D’Amato Law Firm. Call 609-926-3300 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City, and Woodbury.