Liability for Accident if One Driver Turning Right and the Other Turning Left

Many serious accidents occur at intersections; in many cases, accident fault at an intersection is clear. In many others, such as when one driver is turning right and the other is turning left, fault can be much more confusing. Learn more about who has the right of way at an intersection below.

Who has the right of way at a stop light?

Stop lights, and who has the right of way, are simple to figure out when both drivers are continuing straight. When two drivers are turning, however, things become a little more complicated.

Who has the right of way depends on whether what traffic signal the driver has. Consider the following:

  • Driver turning right with a solid green light: The driver on the right has the right of way. This is because drivers turning left with a solid green light must yield to all traffic approaching from the opposite direction, per 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3322. (Note: This does not mean that a driver can turn right when a driver is already turning left. In this case, the right-turning driver must wait until the intersection is clear and no traffic is approaching from the left.)
  • Driver turning left with a green arrow: The driver turning left has the right of way.
  • Driver turning right on red: All other drivers have the right of way even if taking a right on red is allowed at this intersection.

Who has the right of way in other scenarios?

Not all intersections have traffic lights. Some have stop signs, yield signs, or no signs at all. Consider who needs to yield in these situations:

At a stop sign:

All motorists must come to a complete stop at all corners of the intersection. The first to arrive is the first to leave.

If both cars arrive at the same time, the driver turning left must yield to traffic approaching from the opposite direction. In this case, the driver turning right proceeds first.

Note: In some cases, a stop will include a sign underneath the stop sign that says “Except Right Turn.” In this case, the right-turning driver will have the right of way (unless a left-turning driver is already turning into the intersection).

Uncontrolled intersection:

Traffic turning left must wait until the intersection is clear and there is no closely approaching traffic. This means that the driver turning right will have the right-of-way.

How can I prove the other driver was liable?

The liable party in this type of accident is the party who did not have the right of way. For this reason, demonstrating who had the right of way is key in proving your case. To prove liability, you will need photos, eyewitness testimony, and the police report.

In many cases, the police report will play a critical role. While eyewitness testimony is helpful, many drivers do not know exactly who would have the right of way in this type of collision. We can depend on police officers to give a knowledgeable, unbiased view on the accident.

However, police officers are human and, as such, make mistakes. If you believe the officers made a mistake on the police report, we can investigate your accident and recreate it if necessary to determine exactly who caused the accident. In some cases, we find there are certain factors the officers at the scene did not consider.

How can Cordisco & Saile LLC help after a Bucks County traffic accident?

Fault is complex and depends on many different factors in this type of accident. Determining who is at fault in this type of collision requires an in-depth knowledge of Pennsylvania traffic laws, which our team has.

The car accident lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC will investigate your accident, interview eyewitnesses, and obtain the police report to help prove the other driver was liable.

Call us today at 215-642-2335 to schedule a free consultation and learn more.