Is the driver making the turn always at fault for a left turn motorcycle accident?

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“Right of way" laws exist to make it clear what each person’s obligation is when proceeding through. If you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a left turn motorcycle accident, you need the help of an attorney to know what your rights are. Contact Washington car accident attorney Max Meyers Law PLLC today.

What does Washington law say about right of way?

Washington state statute § WPI 70.02.01 states that any driver intending to turn left at an intersection "shall yield the right of way" to any oncoming car or other vehicle approaching from a reasonable distance.

However, the right is not absolute. The statute goes on to say that, "The duty to exercise ordinary care to avoid collisions at intersections rests upon both drivers." However, the statute clarifies, that it is the left-turning driver's primary duty and responsibility to maintain "a fair margin of safety at all times."

So what does this mean in all practicality? It is clear that the liability for a left-hand turn would usually rest on the driver making that turn. So, for example, if the driver did not have his turn signal on and the oncoming motorcyclist had no way of knowing that the driver intended to turn, this would support liability on the part of the driver.

However, on the other hand, if the motorcyclist was traveling while intoxicated or otherwise impaired and simply failed to pay attention to the driver's turn signal, he may be liable for the accident.

What evidence would be relevant in such a case?

Sometimes fault is straightforward; other times it is complicated and highly contested. Evidence to support the determination of which party was responsible for the accident may include:

  • Witness statements
  • Photographs
  • Surveillance video
  • Testimony from drivers and passengers

So what should you do?

Left turn motorcycle accidents can be serious and the injuries sustained can be severe. But you also need to recognize that the legal issues involved can be complex and more than you should try to handle by yourself.

If you or someone you care about was hurt in a left turn accident, contact Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.