Good advice.

Good advice.

Fault at Intersections: 3 Situations to Be Aware Of

DBM Law Blog

The majority of motor vehicle accidents occur in intersections. This is likely a surprise to no one, as every driver knows that navigating a busy intersection requires utmost attention. With traffic coming in multiple directions and in many cases pedestrians and cycle lanes to account for, the potential for a collision rises greatly.
When it comes to car accidents in intersections, ICBC has no set fault provisions to follow, but rather decides fault on a case-by-case basis. If you suffer a personal injury in an accident at an intersection, DBM’s personal injury lawyers will work to make sure fault is fairly determined and that you receive all the damages you deserve.
1. Collision during a left turn
As most drivers know, the left turn is the most dangerous turn to make. Not only do you have to cut across oncoming traffic, but you also have to make sure the crosswalk you will enter is clear of all pedestrians.
After signalling left, yielding to oncoming traffic, and ensuring there are no other obstacles to safely executing your left turn, it then becomes the responsibility of drivers coming in the opposite direction to allow you to clear the intersection safely, by yielding to you. This becomes especially important if, for example, a dog darts across the road and you are unable to complete your turn.
With the variety of factors involved in making a left turn, the apportionment of fault is often difficult to determine. However, in cases where the left-turning driver did not make every effort to make sure it was safe to do so, they will most often be found 100% at fault.
2. Collision during a right turn
In contrast to a left turn, executing a right turn is one of the safer ways to enter an intersection. However, while right turns generally present less chance of a car accident, they certainly aren’t collision-free situations.
When making a right turn on a red light, you must yield to the drivers that have the green light. And when making a right turn on a green light, especially in downtown areas, busy crosswalks pose a serious hazard, as do both single- and multi-direction bike lanes. With the expansion of cycle lanes across Greater Vancouver, paying attention to posted signs prohibiting right turns on red is more important than ever.
Like left turns, right turns present a variety of factors that go into determining fault in collisions. Failing to obey posted signs and improperly checking for the presence of cyclists in bike lanes and pedestrians in crosswalks will usually place fault firmly with the right-turning driver.
3. Collision at an intersection with no traffic signals
One traffic rule to keep at the forefront of our minds is that the vehicle on the right has right of way—always, every time. In car accidents where two cars collide after arriving at an uncontrolled intersection at the exact same time, ICBC almost always determines the driver on the left to be 100% at fault.
However, it is not always so cut and dry. if the vehicle on the left is already “reasonably and substantially within the intersection,” then it has the right of way and the vehicle on the right would be at fault for any collision. Further, regardless of right of way rules, no driver is allowed to avoid getting into a collision if they have opportunity to do so, even if they have right of way.
If you’ve been injured in an accident at an uncontrolled intersection and need further advice, contact DBM’s personal injury lawyers at 604.939.8321.

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