Left Turn Accidents
There is very little to protect a motorcyclist from the force of a collision. Sometimes an accident may occur at low speeds, and yet the motorcyclist suffers severe injuries, while the driver of a larger vehicle walks away without a scratch. Left turn accidents are common, and they often occur in Tennessee and elsewhere in the South when a driver of a larger vehicle fails to yield while turning left in front of an oncoming motorcyclist. Usually, these accidents occur at intersections, and the driver often claims that they did not see the motorcyclist. In truth, many drivers are distracted or not expecting a smaller vehicle. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our Memphis motorcycle accident lawyers help victims seek damages for these crashes.Left Turn Accidents May Cause Serious Harm
According to a report commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers who turn left in front of oncoming motorcyclists are a primary cause of motorcycle accidents. Often, a motorcyclist is forced to swerve as a result of a driver turning left, resulting in no actual collision, but the motorcyclist is injured by being thrown off the bike or wiping out. Quite often, a driver turning left does not understand how fast the motorcycle is traveling or does not see the motorcycle. Unfortunately, juries are often biased in favor of automobile drivers against motorcyclists and may assume that the motorcyclist was at fault, especially when there has been no collision.
This is why it is so important to retain an experienced attorney who understands motorcycle culture, evasive action, and liability in left turn accident cases. Although it helps somewhat for a motorcyclist to wear a helmet, bright clothing, and other gear, it may not be enough to prevent injuries when a motorcyclist is traveling at high speeds and is struck by a car.
Left turn accidents often result in traumatic brain injuries. Even riders who wear helmets may suffer a concussion from the impact of their heads hitting the ground. They may have a coma, permanent cognitive and concentration impairments, or a personality change. In some cases, they suffer from depression, broken bones, road rash, biker's arm, facial injuries, and neck or spinal injuries. A spinal cord or neck injury may result in paralysis that requires years of therapy to be rehabilitated.
Drivers turning left owe motorcyclists a duty to yield the right of way to them if they are driving straight through a green light or uncontrolled intersection. When a driver fails to do so, they may be found negligent. To prove negligence, a motorcyclist must show that the driver owed them a duty of care, failed to meet the duty, and thereby caused their injuries. In many cases, drivers claim that the motorcyclist was comparatively negligent. This requires the driver to prove that the motorcyclist owed a duty that they failed to meet and thus partially or fully caused their own injuries.
Different states have different rules about comparative negligence. In Tennessee, for example, courts follow the 50% rule, under which you may only collect damages if the fact-finder decides that your fault for the injury is 49% or less. If it is 50% or more, no damages will be awarded, no matter how severe the injuries arising from the accident were. Accordingly, insurers for drivers have incentives to try to find ways in which an accident was at least partially the fault of the motorcyclist. It is crucial not to talk to the insurer for an at-fault driver until you have consulted with your own attorney.
How much you may recover after a left turn accident, assuming that you establish liability, depends on how severe your injuries were. If you establish liability and damages, you can usually recover lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical bills, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.Retain a Memphis Attorney for Your Motorcycle Crash Case
If you are injured in a left turn accident while riding your motorcycle in Memphis or in Tennessee, you may be able to recover your damages. Our firm, which employs over 33 experienced attorneys and over 120 staff members, may be able to help you with this process. We serve accident victims throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi, including in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Caruthersville, Hayti, Oxford, Starkville, Grenada, Columbus, Tupelo, Meridian, Jackson, Little Rock, and Jonesboro. Call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-LAW-4004 or complete our online form to set up a free appointment with a motor vehicle collision attorney.