Left-turn accidents occur when a car, motorcycle, or truck performs a left turn ahead of an oncoming driver. This type of accident in Clearwater generally occurs at intersections, where one driver tries to pass another vehicle that is waiting for their way to be free of oncoming traffic. Other times, drivers ignore the rules of the road by turning into an intersection without authority or trying to beat a traffic signal.
Drivers in Florida have a presumed duty of care, meaning that they are required to drive sensibly to keep those around them safe. However, when they act recklessly, they put others in danger and must be held accountable.
If you have been hurt in a car accident involving a left turn in Clearwater, then you might be able to claim compensation to recover damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, and emotional suffering.
At The Law Place, we will review your case as a team, so you can benefit from our combined experience and knowledge, which spans over 75 years. At the same time, you will have a dedicated Clearwater car accident lawyer who will become your advocate and support you at what can be a deeply troubling time.
Contact us now for a free consultation on (941) 444-4444.
Left Turn Accidents and Collisions in Clearwater, FL
Under Florida law, a driver in Clearwater who wishes to turn right at an intersection must be as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the road.
As for left turns, the vehicle turning left at an intersection must approach the intersection lawfully, in the extreme left-hand lane. And, once they have entered the intersection, the left turn must be performed to leave the intersection available for the traffic moving in other directions.
A person riding a bicycle who wishes to turn left is entitled to the full use of the lane, where the turn may legally be made. However, where possible, the left turn should be made in the left of the center of the intersection.
Florida law dictates that if a governing authority installs a traffic control device in Clearwater, then drivers must obey the signals and the rules of the road that they bring even if the device directs people to take a different course, then what is described in Florida Statute 316.151.
In brief, this law determines how a driver should turn at an intersection unless the traffic signal instructs otherwise. When you drive in Clearwater, these laws apply to you and anyone else who is using the road.
Florida law can become a little complex, and determining who was at fault for a left-turn accident can be a daunting task. Our car accident attorneys at The Law Place are here to help.
Negligence for Violating Florida’s Left Turn Law
Clearwater is government by Florida’s statutory traffic laws that dictate how drivers should make left turns on public roadways. If a driver ignores the rules of the road, then the law specifies that the driver should be issued a ticket, or fined.
However, driving laws in Clearwater are also governed by Florida’s common law, which is formed by the judicial system by previous court rulings. Therefore, any driver making a left turn who causes a car accident can be held liable under statutory or common law.
Florida’s State Statutes Chapter 316, combines with common law to dictate traffic laws in Clearwater and throughout Florida. This also enables victims of a car accident to recover compensation. The key to proving negligence and, therefore, proving fault is to show that the driver failed to meet their ‘duty of care’ while making a left turn. This is usually because the driver has failed to follow the rules of the road, causing a car accident.
If you have been the victim of a car accident but are unsure as to whether you have a case, then call us at The Law Place for a free consultation. We will determine whether we believe you have a valid claim and will advise you on your next steps. You have no obligation to continue with representation from us at this stage.
Grounds for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If you have been injured in a left-turn car accident in Clearwater that wasn’t your fault, then you should be able to recover damages for things like medical bills, lost income, and emotional suffering. A Clearwater car accident lawyer will help you to determine what types of damages you are entitled to and what they should be worth so that you can fight for maximum compensation.
Damages generally fall into three categories, economic, general non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are out of pocket expenses that can be measured and calculated, often evidenced by an invoice, receipt, or bank statement. They can already be incurred, or they can be reasonably anticipated in the future. They include things like medical bills, future medical bills, transport to and from the hospital, lost wages, future lost earning potential, and car repairs.
Non-economic damages are designed to compensate victims for their emotional and physical suffering. They generally include things like emotional distress, physical suffering, and any effect on the victim’s quality of life. Any significant loss of bodily function or permanent injuries such as scarring or disfigurement should be compensated for.
These types of damages can be difficult to quantify, and without a Clearwater car accident lawyer fighting by your side, you may be offered much less then what you deserve. While no amount of money can make up for this trauma, any damages received may be able to assist you in making adjustments to your way of living and can help relieve some of the stress that follows a car accident.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the perpetrator for breaking road traffic laws.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in Clearwater
Florida is a no-fault state, as outlined in Florida Statute 627.7407. This statute dictates that after a car accident in Flordia, you are required to first seek compensation from your own insurance company, regardless of whether you were at fault or not.
Furthermore, Florida Statute 627.736 dictates the minimum insurance requirements that you must carry as a driver in Flordia. This protects you, whether you are a driver or a passenger. It states that you must carry a minimum Personal Injury Protection (PIP) of $10,000 and another $10,000 to cover property damage. Your insurance company must pay 80% of your medical bills and property damage, up to your policy limits.
However, in a car accident involving an improper left turn, your damages are likely to exceed these amounts, especially if you are unable to work and have lost wages. This is because left turn car accidents often result in side-on collisions, which can result in a lot of damage. If this is the case, then you will need to seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
When you speak to insurance companies, you need to be careful about what you say. They are big businesses whose goal is profit, therefore even when you talk to your own insurance, stick to the facts, and avoid admitting fault or speaking about the extent of your injuries.
What to Do After an Accident in Florida
Following an auto accident, the most important thing you can do is try not to panic. At The Law Place, we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can seek advice from a personal injury lawyer when you need it most. We offer free, unbiased advice so that you can move forward in confidence.
- Remain at the scene – After the car accident, stay at the scene. If you drive away, it could constitute a hit and run, even if the accident wasn’t your fault.
- Move to somewhere safe – If you are able to, and your injuries do not prevent you from moving, then move to somewhere safe, out of the way of oncoming traffic.
- Call emergency services – According to Florida Statute 316.062, you must call the police to the scene of an auto accident that has caused injury or serious property damage. The police report will also evidence your claim. If anyone requires immediate medical attention, then you also need to call an ambulance.
- Get the other drivers’ information – Get the name, contact, insurance, and vehicle information of any other drivers involved in the accident.
- Gather evidence – The best evidence you can get is photographs. Take pictures of the vehicles, the road, any injures, and anything else that could be relevant such as road signs or skid marks. Your Clearwater car accident lawyer will be able to use this as evidence.
- Get the contact information of witnesses – Get the name and contact information of anyone who saw the accident take place.
- Speak to a Clearwater car accident lawyer – Contact accident attorneys at our law firm for a free consultation so that you can get advice from someone with experience.
- Contact your insurance company – You are required to inform your insurance company about an accident in order to make a claim, your policy will tell you how long you have to do this, often you have 24 hours. However, we advise that you first talk to a car accident attorney. Anything you say to insurance companies might devalue your claim, but a lawyer will be able to tell you what to say, or they could speak to them on your behalf.
- Do not post anything on social media – Anything you say could be used as evidence, therefore avoid posting on social media.
- Keep a journal – A journal can be a great piece of evidence, especially when fighting for non-economic damages. Write done any symptoms of pain and any adjustments you have had to make to your daily life.
- Keep all records – Keep anything that could be relevant such as medical bills, receipts for transport, the cost of any adjustments you have had to make to your routine, and any other expenses as a result of the car accident. Your car accident attorney will use all of this to evidence your economic damages.
- Report to the police (if you haven’t already) – If the police were not called to the scene, then in accordance with Florid Statute 316.066, you have ten days to report the accident. You can do this with your local police station or online at Florida Highway Motor Saftey and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
Is a Car Making a Left Turn Always at Fault?
The person making the left turn is usually at fault in these types of accidents. However, sometimes the other driver may have been speeding, they could have failed to stop at a traffic signal, or an unexpected event caused them to turn left where they shouldn’t have.
If you turned left at an interaction but did not believe that you were at fault, then your case will likely be a complex one. An injury lawyer will be able to assist you in gathering the right evidence.
Florida operates under a comparative fault system, in accordance with Florida Statute 768.81. As a result, you can still claim compensation even if you were partially at fault. However, your settlement will be reduced by the amount you were determined to be at fault.
For example, if the other driver turned left improperly, but you were speeding, then you may be partially to blame. If you are found to be 10% at fault, then your settlement will be reduced by this amount. A lawyer will be able to fight your corner, and hopefully have your fault reduced.
We understand this can seem a little complex, which is why we offer a free consultation, so you can ask any questions that you have.
What Can a Clearwater Accident Lawyer Do?
Hiring a personal injury attorney in Clearwater will enable you to navigate the complex road accident laws in Florida. If you have been in a car accident in Clearwater because a driver behaved negligently, then you should contact a law firm as soon as possible. Your attorney at The Law Place will quickly get to work gathering evidence for your case.
The best evidence must be obtained quickly while memories are fresh, the damage remains, and CCTV footage can be obtained. Although the statute of limitations in Florida, Florida Statue 95.11, gives you four years to make a negligence claim.
If you rely on your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to reimburse you, then you could be left with hefty unpaid bills. An injury lawyer determines what damages you are entitled to and their worth so that you can secure the compensation your case deserves.
An insurance company will usually offer you a quick settlement after an accident in Clearwater. Once you have accepted a settlement, you will be unable to fight for more, and this quick settlement will usually be a lot less than what your case is worth. This is one of the ways that insurance companies try to limit their liability. The Law Place will make sure that you are not taken advantage of and will speak to insurance companies on your behalf.
If you decide to face a legal battle alone, then you may go up against experienced legal teams from insurance companies, whose job is to have your case devalued or dismissed.
The Law Place
The personal injury lawyers at The Law Place will review your case and discuss your options. We are ready to provide legal representation and fight for your right to justice.
Most cases never go to court, but if yours does, we will be ready to fight. We are unafraid to face large insurance companies and are prepared for the legal battle ahead.
Our practice areas cover Clearwater, Sarasota, Tampa, and elsewhere in Florida. It may feel overwhelming, we understand. We are open 24/7 so that you can arrange a free consultation. At which point you may agree to representation, once you have had all your questions answered, or you can walk away armed with a greater degree of knowledge about your case.
Don’t let injuries sustained in a car accident go compensated. Call us now on (941) 444-4444.