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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    10

    Default Accident During a U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    Hello,


    I am wondering who's at fault here: I'm driving the car in back. The car in front brakes and seems to pull slightly to the right to, as it turned out, give herself enough space to do a 3-point/U-turn. I see her do this and move to the center of the two-way street (no dividing lines) to move around what I thought was a car pulling over. Then, while signaling left (though, I didn't see this), she makes her left turn, which puts her almost perpendicular to me in the middle of the street. I see this happening and honk/brake/pull to the left to avoid a "direct hit", but hit her front driver-side door & left fender.

    I'm told there's 3rd-party video indicating that it was a fraction under "two seconds" from when she initiated her turn until the point of impact (this seems accurate). There were no posted traffic signs and/or lights.

    Now, even though she signaled left, she obviously didn't look to see if there was any oncoming traffic (the fastest car on the planet couldn't have made that turn safely in less than two seconds), and you can't just make turns willie-nillie wherever you want without making sure it's safe to do so first (i.e., that the "coast is clear").

    Her insurance Co. is now saying that, since I was out of the right lane, I was at fault for trying to "pass a turning car"... Please advise.


    Thank you,
    Gandolff

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    3,658

    Default Re: U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    Did this happen on Mars, or somewhere in the U.S.?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    Massachusetts,

    Thanx

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Accident During a U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    Okay... we have a two-lane road. Meaning one lane in each direction? The vehicle in front of you slowed, signaling left, and then you passed it... on the left? In the oncoming traffic lane? Because you didn't see the turn signal and thought it was pulling to the right?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Accident During a U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    Okay... we have a two-lane road. Meaning one lane in each direction?


    Right.


    The vehicle in front of you slowed, signaling left, and then you passed it... on the left? In the oncoming traffic lane?


    Never actually passed, of course. My intention was really more to "go around" a car that was moving to the right, and which I thought would not move back to the left. I got center-road prior to her actually turning left, as I thought she was pulling to the right (which she did slightly), presumably to park. She did signal left (which I didn't see). However, "signaling" doesn't ipso-facto grant the right-of-way, of course.


    Because you didn't see the turn signal and thought it was pulling to the right?


    Basically, yes.


    Thanx again,
    G

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,593

    Default Re: Accident During a U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    If the other vehicle was signaling left, then you really had no right to cross into the oncoming lane to pass it.

    So, while it may have been unlawful for this person to make a U-turn where they did, you should have hung back to wait and see what was going on.

    It is possible that the insurance companies might find you each with a proportion of fault - you for passing to the left, and him for making a U-turn where prohibited.

    The only thing you may have going for you here is that in MA (and most other states) a U-turn (when permitted) must be made from the left most portion of the lane. In this case, it appears that he cheated to the right before the turn. But, it is that signal that he gave that may well haunt you. He cheated right, signaled left, yet you still tried to pass on the left.

    I cannot find the MGL that covers these, but the driver's manual clearly seems to put the other driver in the wrong ... though he is allowed to make a three-point turn under certain circumstances.

    Do you have insurance? What does YOUR insurance company say?
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Accident During a U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    Holy crap! I just got an email of the accident video from the Prop. Mgr's camera (from accross the street):

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/02jc54

    (Video link is near the bottom of the page, "Accident")

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,599

    Default Re: Accident During a U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    That video is pretty damning for you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,593

    Default Re: Accident During a U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    Oh yeah ... not too good for you.

    Sorry, but you might want to get this settled.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Accident During a U-Turn in the Middle of the Street: Who's at Fault

    Thanks for the replies guys... However, isn't it incumbant upon a TURNING driver to ensure ("look") that it's safe to turn before they do, and then YIELD to any oncomming traffic? She obviously didn't look (and I saw her not do this), which I assume is why she admitted fault right off the bat (the 1st words out of her mouth were, "That was so my fault"... Though, of course, the insurance Co. says different).

    Again, had she looked, you'd not be reading this post right now (unless she's suicidal). As I said above, you can't just turn anywhere you want, signaling or not, W/O regard to oncomming traffic. But she did, right in front of me, with less than two seconds of distance between us.

    Also, I'm not even sure her U-turn was legal (that side street to the left is a one-way street with two "Do Not Enter" signs posted, so she wasn't going there).

    Thanx again,
    G

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