Illegal U-Turn Accident Injury Claims in California
Drivers who make U-turns might endanger other drivers who are not expecting them to turn their vehicles in the opposite direction. Because of the risks presented by drivers who complete u-turns, many U-turns are illegal in California. People who are involved in accidents that were caused by drivers who were making illegal U-turns in Los Angeles might benefit by getting help from an experienced personal injury attorney so that they might recover damages to compensate them for their losses.When U-Turns are Illegal
The state has a number of different laws that explain when U-turns are allowed and when they are prohibited. The laws address U-turns at controlled intersections, in business and residential districts, and on highways. The law also addresses using a fire station driveway and parking lot to complete a U-turn.U-Turns at Controlled Intersections
According to Cal. Veh. Code § 22100.5, drivers in California are not allowed to make U-turns at intersections that have traffic control devices unless they do not have signs that prohibit them under Cal. Veh. Code § 21451. That code specifies that drivers are allowed to make U-turns when they are approaching an intersection with a green light unless there are signs that prohibit U-turns.
Drivers who are at intersections with green lights that allow U-turns are supposed to yield to all oncoming traffic that has the right of way. They also must yield to pedestrians who are in adjacent crosswalks.U-Turns in Business Districts
When people are driving through business districts, they are not allowed to make U-turns at controlled intersections unless they do so from the left-most lane under Cal. Veh. Code § 22102. Drivers are also prohibited from making U-turns on divided highways unless there have been openings provided in them for that purpose.U-Turns in Residential Districts
U-turns in residential districts are governed by Cal. Veh. Code § 22103. Under that statute, drivers may not make U-turns in residential districts unless vehicles that are approaching from the opposite direction are at least 200 feet away. However, drivers who make U-turns at intersections with traffic control devices may make U-turns when the oncoming vehicles are controlled by the traffic signals.U-Turns in Fire Station Driveways or Parking Lots
Some drivers turn into the driveways and parking lots of fire stations so that they can continue in the opposite direction from what they were driving. This is illegal under Cal. Veh. Code § 22104. Under this law, drivers may not use the driveways and parking lots of fire stations for the purpose of turning their vehicles around to drive in the opposite direction.U-Turns on Highways
If you are driving on a highway and need to make a U-turn, you must have an unobstructed view before you can do so. Under Cal. Veh. Code § 22105, it is illegal for drivers to make U-turns on highways unless they can see for a minimum of 200 feet in both directions.What Happens When People are Injured by Drivers who Make Illegal U-Turns?
People who are injured by drivers who made illegal U-turns have the right to file personal injury claims against the drivers. In claims that involve ordinary negligence, people must prove that the defendants were negligent and that the negligence was the proximate cause of their injuries. To prove that a driver was negligent in a case involving ordinary negligence, the plaintiffs must show that the driver's actions were not the what a reasonable driver in the same situation would have done. As we have previously discussed, plaintiffs must prove several things to prove that a defendant was negligent. They must be able to prove that the defendants owed a duty to act in a certain way. They must then demonstrate that the defendants violated their duties. Then, the plaintiffs must show that the defendants' breach caused their injuries. Finally, they must show that they suffered financial harm as a result.
However, claims involving statutory violations are different. In a case in which an accident is caused by a driver who was making an illegal U-turn, the statutory violation is considered to be negligent per se. This means that the conduct will automatically be considered to be negligent, and the plaintiffs will not be required to prove that the defendants were negligent. In a lawsuit against a defendant whose conduct was negligent per se, the focus will be on proving that the illegal U-turn was the proximate cause of the injuries and financial harms that the plaintiffs suffered.Proving Negligence Per Se
In a case in which a driver's illegal U-turn caused the accident and resulting injuries, the plaintiff will not have to prove that the driver's conduct was negligent. Instead, the plaintiff will need to prove the following:
- The defendant broke the law;
- The law that was broken was meant to prevent the types of injuries that the plaintiff suffered; and
- The plaintiff is a person that the law was meant to protect.
It is not very difficult to prove that a driver broke the law if he or she completed an illegal U-turn. You might get a copy of the citation. If the driver paid a fine and entered a guilty plea to the illegal U-turn citation, that is sufficient evidence to show. It is likewise straightforward to prove that you were a member of the class of people that the law prohibiting illegal U-turns was meant to protect. The intent of the prohibitions against illegal U-turns clearly is to prevent injuries in accidents caused by drivers who make them. Negligence per se claims are easier to prove than claims involving ordinary negligence. Since you do not have to prove the negligence of the driver, a claim involving an illegal U-turn may be easier for you to win.Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Being involved in an accident can change your life if you are injured. If a driver in Los Angeles struck your vehicle while completing an illegal U-turn or turned in front of you and caused the accident, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat at (323) 944-0993 to schedule a consultation.Sources
- Chapter 6. Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals [22100 - 22113] - 22100.5
- Article 3. Offenses Relating to Traffic Devices [21450 - 21468]
- Chapter 6. Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals [22100 - 22113] - 22102
- Chapter 6. Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals [22100 - 22113] ( Chapter 6 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. ) - 22103
- Chapter 6. Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals [22100 - 22113] ( Chapter 6 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. ) - 22104
- Chapter 6. Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals [22100 - 22113] ( Chapter 6 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. ) - 22105
- Legal Definition of Negligence Under California Law