Everyone has to be careful when making left-hand turns in Los Angeles, even Oscar-winning actresses. Earlier this week, Linda Hunt, who has a starring role on the hit CBS show NCIS: Los Angeles, learned this the hard way. Hunt was hospitalized after sustaining minor injuries in a Los Angeles crash. According to reports, Hunt was driving on Fountain Avenue near Orange Grove Avenue and attempted to make a left-hand turn when her SUV collided with two other vehicles.
While no one was seriously injured in the accident, Hunt could still be on the hook for damages if it is determined that she is at fault. If other drivers suffered property damage, medical bills, or discover an accident-related injury in the future, they may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the actress.
Left-Hand Turn Accidents in Los Angeles
Left-hand turns are some of the most dangerous maneuvers a driver can make. In order to turn left, drivers must cross over at least one, if not multiple, lanes of oncoming traffic. If drivers are not careful or fail to time their turns correctly, accidents can happen.
California law actually addresses the responsibility drivers have when attempting to cross or enter a roadway. California Vehicle Code Section 21804 VC explains “the driver of any vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from any public or private property…shall yield the right-of-way to all traffic…approaching the highway close enough to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that traffic until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.”
In other words, drivers who want to cross or enter a road must wait until they can do so without creating a dangerous situation for themselves and others. It must be “reasonably safe” for drivers to do anything that could impede the safe flow of traffic.
Many drivers, unfortunately, attempt to make difficult turns when it is not safe. This often happens when:
- There are blind curves in the road and oncoming traffic is hidden from view;
- Drivers misjudge the amount of time they have to execute a turn;
- Drivers (incorrectly) assume that others will yield to them; and
- Drivers are distracted and not paying attention to other drivers and traffic conditions.
If you are doing something that could impede the safe flow of traffic you have an obligation to yield to other vehicles (and pedestrians) until the coast is clear.
Los Angeles Considering Additional Turn Signals
In recent years, several new traffic signals, dedicated turning lanes, and signs have been erected across Los Angeles. The city has embraced these safety measures in an effort to reduce the number of accidents that occur at intersections. Many traffic signals have dedicated turning lanes and lights, which help to control the flow of traffic and make certain turns safe.
When approaching a green arrow, drivers may execute a left-hand turn without worrying about oncoming traffic. When approaching yellow flashing lights, drivers may execute a turn if the coast is clear. When approaching a steady red light, drivers must stop and wait until the signal changes to yellow or green.
It is always important, however, for drivers to be on the lookout for pedestrians in marked crosswalks, regardless of what type of traffic signal is present. Pedestrians are often injured at intersections because drivers are only paying attention to other vehicles, and not those who are crossing the street on foot. If a pedestrian is lawfully in a marked crosswalk, drivers may be liable for any resulting damages they suffer in a crash.
Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in a Los Angeles car accident and believe someone else is to blame, you may be entitled to compensation. Hiring an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney will increase the likelihood of recovering all damages to which you are entitled.
At Glotzer & Leib, LLP, our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your accident, find proof that the driver who struck you was negligent, and leverage their insurance company into offering a meaningful settlement. Call us today to schedule your free case evaluation.