How Improper Lane Changes and Illegal Turns Upend Lives

no u-turn sign with mountain in the backgroundEvery motorist in Washington has a legal obligation to ensure that they drive with reasonable care. Unfortunately, some drivers do not respect the rules of the road. When people let impatience, road rage, or recklessness blind their sense of right and wrong, they endanger not only themselves but everyone around them.

While automobile accidents could happen anywhere, they are especially common in and around intersections—a common feature of every commute that, when traversed without caution, become uncommon sources of danger.

Improper Turns and Car Crashes

When someone initiates a turn or enters an intersection without checking for oncoming traffic, they could cause a serious motor vehicle accident. Improper turns could have catastrophic consequences if a negligent motorist makes an improper:

  • Left turn. An improper left turn could occur when a motorist approaches an intersection and attempts to take a left turn without checking for oncoming traffic, approaching bicyclists, or pedestrians moving through a crosswalk. While left-turn crashes are among the most common variety of intersection-related collisions, they can still have catastrophic consequences. Motorcyclists are at especially high risk of sustaining serious injuries in left-turn crashes since inattentive drivers may not notice the comparatively small profile of an approaching motorcycle.
  • Right turn. Washington law permits motorists to turn right at a red light after coming to a complete stop, provided that no pedestrians or other vehicles have the right-of-way. However, this relatively simple maneuver could cause an accident if the turning driver does not ensure that traffic has cleared before changing lanes or entering another road.
  • U-turn. U-turns are permissible only when such a movement can be made safely and without interfering with other traffic. Before attempting a U-turn, drivers should always look both ways to be certain that they are not endangering pedestrians, bicyclists, or other motorists.

Common Automobile Accident Injuries

The severity of an improper-turn car accident could be dependent on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • The relative speed of both automobile
  • The relative size and weight of each vehicle
  • The angle and point of impact

However, even though high speeds and other risk factors correlate with a greater risk of injury, even minor collisions can result in serious injuries, such as:

  • Bruises and contusions
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Head and shoulder injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Herniated discs
  • Whiplash
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Some injuries have the potential to become chronic, long-lasting medical conditions. Whiplash, for instance, may not present any noticeable symptoms for days, weeks, or even months after an accident. However, once whiplash-related symptoms become apparent, they may be untreatable and could persist indefinitely.

What to Do After Being Involved in an Improper-Turn Collision

If you or a loved one has been involved in a Washington car accident that was not your fault, you should protect your rights to recovery by:

  • Calling 9-1-1 to report the collision
  • Seeking immediate medical attention, even if you do not believe that you have been seriously injured
  • Collecting evidence from the crash site, including photographs of your damaged vehicle and visible injuries
  • Speaking to eyewitnesses and asking them for their full name, phone number, and other contact information
  • Following your physician’s recommendations, even if they are inconvenient
  • Contacting an experienced Seattle-area car accident attorney to fight for your rights and increase your chances of securing a favorable settlement

Your Potential Damages After a Seattle-Area Car Crash

Washington state does not currently limit the damages that an accident victim could receive after filing a personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney could help you secure compensation for damages, including:

  • Your past, present, and anticipated medical care
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Prescription medication co-pays
  • Reimbursement for paid care deductibles
  • Lost income from work
  • Lost vacation time
  • Physical disability
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Disfigurement

While Washington does not cap car crash-related damages, the Evergreen State does have a strict statute of limitations: if you wait too long to contact an attorney, the court could dismiss your automobile accident claim without giving you a chance to even present evidence.

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