What Is an Unprotected Left Turn in Illinois and Who Is at Fault in an Accident?

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) estimates that around 22% of traffic accidents involve a left turning vehicle and 53% of all cross-path accidents involve left turns. 

Unprotected left turns, meanwhile, present more issues, since the right of way isn’t posted by signage. Here we’ll go over what unprotected left turns are, what drivers need to know about them, and how fault is determined during a left turn crash in the state of Illinois.

What Is an Unprotected Left Turn?

An unprotected left turn is a left turn across oncoming lanes of traffic that is not protected by signage or a left turn lane.

Protected left turns, on the other hand, have either a left turn lane or a dedicated green arrow to ensure safe traffic flow.

Determining Fault in Unprotected Left Turn Accidents

Much of the time in the State of Illinois, the party making the left turn is found to be at fault in the event of an accident, since oncoming traffic has the right of way. Because the person turning left is responsible for ensuring traffic and crosswalks are clear before they proceed, any accident as a result is often their fault and they can be held liable for an injury or fatality. 

There are, however, some circumstances in which the turning vehicle may not be found at fault, so it is imperative for you to consult an expert on the matter before making any assumptions. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Another driver running a light or stop sign
  • Oncoming traffic driving exceedingly fast or recklessly
  • If an animal or person runs into the street, causing the turning driver to stop suddenly

Safety Considerations When Making an Unprotected Left Turn

There are several reasons why turning left accounts for such a significant percentage of traffic collisions:

  • More attention is required: Drivers need to make several mental calculations when turning left — is traffic clear? Is the crosswalk clear? How fast is oncoming traffic going? How much time is left before the light turns yellow? This means that a distracted or intoxicated driver is much more likely to misjudge these calculations in the moment.
  • Crossing traffic: Naturally, the more lanes of traffic a person has to cross, the more likely they are to put themselves or others in danger. Right turns require no other lanes to be crossed, left ones may require several.
  • Obstacles: If traffic is heavy and another vehicle is turning left in front of you, it may obstruct the driver’s view of oncoming traffic.

What to do if You’ve Been Hit by a Driver Turning Left

If you’ve been hit by a driver that was turning left, unprotected or otherwise, establishing fault is critical and requires in-the-moment awareness. 

First and most importantly, if you are injured, seek medical attention. If possible, take pictures of your injuries as well as the damage to your vehicle and the intersection at which the incident occurred. This will be crucial in proving damages. File a police report as soon as possible to ensure there is an official record of the events that took place and ensure they interview any witnesses.

Contact an experienced personal injury attorney that will fight for your rights and help you secure compensation. You may not realize it now, but the costs of a vehicle collision can add up quickly — car repair, medical bills, lost wages, emotional damages, and other costs may start piling up. But if you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, why should you be the one to pay up? 

On top of that, insurance companies will do anything to get out of paying, including talking to you directly and coaxing you to say something that may weaken your case. An experienced attorney is adept at dealing with these companies to ensure your chances at compensation are not compromised.

Contact Brian Lewis If You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident

The trauma of a traffic collision, injuries you sustained, and the time away from work during recovery can take a significant toll on your physical and financial health. You should not have to worry about collecting and preserving evidence, ordering records, or any other steps involved in a lawsuit. That’s why Brian Lewis is here — to help you get back on the road to recovery while he fights for your rights and wins damages to cover medical bills, lost wages, and more.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in a car accident, schedule a free consultation today.

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