California Intersection Accident Lawyers
Intersection design and traffic controls in California are crucial elements of making sure drivers can pass through crowded intersections safely.
However, despite all the effort to reduce vehicle accidents at intersections, most serious and fatal car accidents happen within or near an intersection.
These common vehicle collisions frequently occur when a car is attempting to make a left turn and moves too far into the intersection, or when a car makes the turn too soon as the signal light changes and another car collides with the turning vehicle.
Of course, another common reason for car collisions at an intersection is when one car runs through a red light.
When you get behind the wheel, you expect that other drivers will take the same precautions as you to prevent injury to yourself or others.
Unfortunately, many drivers behave irresponsibly on the road, and their failure to abide by traffic laws can lead to serious accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), more than half of all injury and fatal motor vehicle accidents occur at an intersection due to driver error, such as failure to stop at red lights or properly yield to other drivers.
If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one in an intersection accident in California when the other driver was at fault, you may be entitled to monetary compensation.
Even if the other car driver was clearly at fault, they might tell a different story.
To receive maximum compensation to cover your medical bills and other expenses, you will need to speak with a car accident lawyer to learn the best options.
For more information, our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are reviewing intersection collisions below.
What Are the Causes of Intersection Accidents?
Most intersection car accidents in California are preventable, but when they occur, the liable driver must be identified and held accountable for the damages.
Intersection accidents take place because of dangerous driver behaviors or a driver's failure to act. Often, these at-fault drivers don't properly follow traffic signal or related signs, which increase the chances of an accident.
Some of the most common causes of intersection accidents in California include the violation of:
- Vehicle Code 22350 VC – speeding,
- Vehicle Code 23123.5 VC – cell phone use,
- Vehicle Code 22100 VC – improper turning,
- Vehicle Code 22108 VC – turn signals,
- Vehicle Code 23103 VC – reckless driving,
- Vehicle Code 23152 VC – driving under the influence,
- Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC – DUI and drugs, and
- Distracted driving,
- Aggressive driving,
- Negligent driving,
- Failure to yield right-of-way,
Some intersection accidents occur when the driver does not have time to respond, such as when an object suddenly enters the road or weather conditions make driving difficult. However, drivers can prevent most of them by following traffic laws.
Many intersection collision scenarios include failing to stop at red lights, failure to watch immediate surroundings, and making a left turn without first looking for other car drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists.
By far, most intersection accidents in California are related to vehicles making left turns causing head-on or T-bone collisions.
Put simply, these collisions occur when one car enters the path of another driver, which describes intersections and shared paths.
Types of Intersection Accidents in California
Intersection collisions between vehicles occur in many different ways, including the following:
- T-bone accidents are the most common type of intersection collision and occur when one car collides with the side of another car. This most often happens when one vehicle fails to yield to the other when one car is attempting to make a left-hand turn and the other is driving straight through the intersection.
- Rear-end accidents can occur in an intersection when a rear driver assumes the front driver is attempting to proceed through the intersection, but rather are making a right or left turn, and collides with the front driver from behind.
- right-turn accidents are common intersection accidents that involve a vehicle driver striking a bicyclist or pedestrian. This happens when they are attempting to cross the intersection while the vehicle is making a right-hand turn right into the victims because they failed to yield.
- Head-on collisions are not as common as the other types of accidents above, but they do occur when car drivers are driving under the influence, impaired by drugs or prescription medication, extremely fatigued and fall asleep, or aggressively driving at a high rate of speed.
Type of Injuries at Intersection Car Collisions
Intersection car accident injuries can range from minor scratches, or the much more catastrophic injury, such as paralysis or even death.
Being involved in a serious car accident can be a life-changing event. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Broken bones,
- Traumatic brain injury,
- Back injuries,
- Neck injuries,
- Cuts and abrasions,
- Airbag injuries,
- Spinal cord injury.
You need to immediately seek medical attention after a car accident to avoid making the injuries worse. Your recovery time will depend on the type of injury and the quality of medical care you receive.
Your injury attorney can ensure that you receive the best medical attention for your injuries and help you recover lost wages from missing work.
California law protects drivers who were injured due to another driver's negligence.
Can You Sue a Driver for an Intersection Accident in California?
If you suffered an injury in an intersection accident in California, you can sue the driver who caused your accident for damages.
Awards vary by case, but an attorney can help you determine the types and amounts to pursue.
Some of the types of financial recovery you may seek include compensation for:
- Emergency medical care,
- Healthcare for ongoing treatments related to the accident,
- Lost wages or loss of earning potential,
- Property damage for your vehicle and other items you lost in the accident,
- Pain and suffering for your physical and emotional trauma.
You can also sue a driver in an intersection accident if you lost a spouse or a child because of the driver's negligence.
In wrongful death cases, families may also recover funeral and burial expenses and loss of consortium, also known as loss of companionship.
What If I Was Partially at Fault?
California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that plaintiffs in motor vehicle accidents can seek compensation from others involved in the accident.
Unlike many other states, plaintiffs in accident claims may qualify for compensation even if they are up to 99% responsible for the collision.
The Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) no. 405 holds that if a defendant accuses a plaintiff of being partially at fault for the accident, the jury will decide whether the plaintiff did, in fact, exercise negligence that contributed to their injury.
If the jury finds that you and the other driver are at fault, the judge will determine the percentage of your shared responsibility and deduct that amount from the total award.
For example, if the award amount totaled $400,000 and the court found you 10% responsible for the accident, you would receive 90% of the award, or $360,000.
What If the At-Fault Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
Even though California requires drivers to carry a certain amount of auto insurance to drive legally, some people do not maintain the appropriate level of insurance to cover damages in an accident.
California also requires that insurance companies offer drivers underinsured and uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, but this level of coverage is optional.
If you have UM/UIM insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company to recover compensation for injuries and property damage from your intersection accident.
If you do not have UM/UIM insurance, you can file a claim against the other driver. However, drivers who do not have insurance often do not have the financial means to cover damages, so you may not receive financial recovery from them.
An attorney can help you determine your best options considering your circumstances.
How Can an Attorney Help Me with My Claim?
Personal injury attorneys can help with your intersection accident claim by building a strong case, handling each step of the process on your behalf, and ensuring you file your claim within the statute of limitations.
California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1 gives most victims and their families up to two years to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Exceptions apply in some cases, so you should file as soon as possible to avoid missing your deadline.
When an intersection crash occurs, understanding California's vehicle accident recovery laws is crucial. Our car accident injury lawyers can help you.
An intersection accident could result in serious injuries and massive expenses, including medical bills and lost wages.
When you are harmed due to another's negligence, you deserve to be financially compensated.
At Injury Justice Law firm, we are dedicated to providing the best legal representation for accident victims. We know how to determine fault and negotiate with insurance company adjusters.
For a free consultation, call our law firm at (818) 781-1570, or fill out the contact form.