Picture this: you're cruising down the streets of Arizona, minding your own business, when suddenly a car making a left turn collides with your vehicle. Left turn accidents are all too common on our roads, but who bears the responsibility in such cases? Let's delve into the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) and the Arizona Attorney General's opinion to shed light on this issue.
Understanding Liability: In Arizona, determining liability in left turn accidents relies on a concept called "negligence." It means that someone failed to exercise reasonable care, leading to harm or damage. While it may seem obvious that the turning driver is always at fault, the reality is more nuanced.
ARS and Left Turn Accidents: Under ARS §28-772, a driver intending to make a left turn must yield to any approaching vehicle "so close as to constitute an immediate hazard." This places a duty on the turning driver to exercise caution and give way to oncoming traffic. However, this doesn't automatically absolve the non-turning driver of all responsibility.
Comparative Negligence: Arizona follows the principle of comparative negligence. This means that liability can be apportioned based on the degree of fault. For example, if the non-turning driver was speeding or ran a red light, they may share a portion of the blame.
Arizona Attorney General's Opinion: In an official opinion (Op. Ariz. Att'y Gen. No. I96-011), the Arizona Attorney General addressed left turn accidents. They concluded that the turning driver must yield to approaching vehicles, but it's not an absolute rule. Factors such as speed, visibility, and other relevant circumstances are taken into account when assigning liability.
Conclusion: Left turn accidents in Arizona require a careful analysis of the circumstances and the applicable laws. While the turning driver generally carries a greater responsibility to yield, other factors can influence liability. Because of this, it is it is important to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer if you have been involved in a left turn collision to get appropriate guidance for your particular situation. If you have questions about a similar case, please reach out and ask.