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  1. #1
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    Default Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    My question involves a collision that occurred in the state of: California.

    So, I got into my first car accident this weekend. I was driving on a two lane freeway and was preparing to make a left turn into an empty field on the other side. I turned on my left blinker and slowed down, checked for incoming traffic (there was none) and started to make the turn when the car behind us tried to pass us on the left. I immediately yanked the car away to avoid the passing car but not in time as the car swiped us on our left front fender, hit the front left wheel and tore off the left part of our front bumper. The driver in the other car cussed us out and crossed the lane into the field. We followed into the field after it was safe and exchanged insurance information...fortunately, there were no injuries. The other driver's car was fairly intact- there was some damage to the front right tire and a dent on the right fender but her car was driveable. My car wasn't so lucky (the front bumper was dragging on the ground) and we had to call a tow truck.

    I was wondering if I could get some thoughts on who was at fault? I don't think I was making an illegal turn (it was a two lane road with a single dashed line) and there were no incoming cars but I didn't expect the other car to come up so fast and pass me on the left, especially since I had my left blinker on for a while. It was fortunate that I was turning slowly enough that I was able to prevent the car from T-boning us.

    Car accidents are so stressful...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    The determination of fault depends in part on the stories that are told about how it happened. I suspect their version will have you with no turn signal and them making a legal pass, when you turned into them.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    The other driver's argument was that she thought I was going right off into the shoulder so despite the left turn signal (which I think she acknowledged seeing), she tried to pass. When I pulled away from the other car right after the collision, I may have went onto the shoulder to get away from the car (I don't remember this because of shock but there were skid-marks found). Would this affect me negatively?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    It could. Without non bias witnesses, the story she tells her insurance will likely be different than the one you tell to yours.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    Are you one of those people who doesn't think they can turn left without swerving off the right side of the road?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    Quote Quoting Disagreeable
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    It could. Without non bias witnesses, the story she tells her insurance will likely be different than the one you tell to yours.
    It's even likely that the story she tells her insurance will be different than what she told you at the side of the road. Stories change after the excitement of the accident wears off and they have a chance think about what they are going to say.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    Quote Quoting roly
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    The other driver's argument was that she thought I was going right off into the shoulder so despite the left turn signal (which I think she acknowledged seeing), she tried to pass. When I pulled away from the other car right after the collision, I may have went onto the shoulder to get away from the car (I don't remember this because of shock but there were skid-marks found). Would this affect me negatively?
    Why would the other driver think you were "going right off the shoulder"? Did you cheat to the right hand side of the roadway before making your left hand turn?

    Was there a traffic lane or a mutual turn lane to your left?
    **********
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  8. #8
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    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    I honestly don't remember. I was originally thinking of a U-turn but decided there wasn't enough room on the road (width wise, once I noticed how close to the shoulder I was) and I decided it wasn't safe so I wanted to make a left turn onto the field and then back onto the other side of the road (I was trying to to double back). There was no mutual turn lane though, it was just a regular two lane road with a single yellow dashed line. The other lane to my left was for incoming traffic and there were no cars coming towards me.

    Perhaps the other driver thought I was going right since I was closer to the shoulder than to the left side of the lane...so the other car tried to pass from behind.

    Whose fault was it? I'll let the insurance companies duke it out... And honestly, I'm pretty scared to drive again. Shaking just thinking about it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    Well you'll how it plays out. You are both in the wrong. He should not pass when it was not safe to do so and you should have made your turn in accordance with the law: "The approach for a left turn shall be made as close as practicable to the left-hand edge of the extreme left-hand
    lane or portion of the roadway lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of the vehicle"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sideswipe Damage by Car Passing on the Left from Behind

    Quote Quoting roly
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    I was driving on a two lane freeway and was preparing to make a left turn into an empty field on the other side. I turned on my left blinker and slowed down, checked for incoming traffic (there was none) and started to make the turn when the car behind us tried to pass us on the left.
    Quote Quoting roly
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    I was closer to the shoulder than to the left side of the lane...so the other car tried to pass from behind.
    Well, naturally, she tried to pass since you do say you slowed down. But one can safely assume that she would not have attempted a pass if you had signaled before you slowed down.

    So to assume that you slowed down, signaled left and she still tried to pass... She would have to be blind or stupid to attempt a pass. And even if this was true her insurance will take the stance where you failed to signal, and therefore your left turn was unsafe.

    The code section regulating turning movements provides for 2 requirements for a turn to be lawful.

    22107
    No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

    1st element: only moving from your direct course when that movement can be made with reasonable safety,
    2nd element: giving the appropriate signal to another vehicle that maybe affected by your movement, and in this case there was another vehicle that you should have seen behind you before you started to slow down as well as next to you before you started your turn.

    In this case, and in spite of your effort to sound impartial ( ), your description does not make sense!

    Quote Quoting roly
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    I turned on my left blinker and slowed down, checked for incoming traffic (there was none) and started to make the turn when the car behind us tried to pass us on the left.
    If she tried to make the pass when you started to make the turn, then your cars would not have collided front left fender to front right fender. IOf that were the case she would have broad sided you somewhere in the rear passenger side door or the rear fender.

    The fact that you collided front left fender to front right fender means she was already next to you when you started to make the turn. In fact, depending on where her fender was damaged:

    Quote Quoting roly
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    The other driver's car was fairly intact- there was some damage to the front right tire and a dent on the right fender...
    Which part of her right fender? I suspect it was the part behind the front right wheel, which is likely to be the part that tore off your front bumper after you collided with her right fender as part of you movement to the left.

    This would mean she may have been slightly ahead of you -by a bumper-.

    Quote Quoting roly
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    I was wondering if I could get some thoughts on who was at fault?
    My "guess" and based in what you offered, it was your fault.

    Quote Quoting roly
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    I don't think I was making an illegal turn (it was a two lane road with a single dashed line)
    Your turn was not illegal in a sense that you made a turn where you should not have turned and certainly not because of a prohibition from crossing the center divider, or anything of the sort. However, your movement to the left WAS indeed illegal because it was made while another vehicle was in the process of passing you was definitely illegal and in violation of CVC 22107.

    And again, it would be close to suicide (figuratively) for her to start her pass after you engaged your left turn signal; but let us assume she did see your signal and she still started to pass... She starts from being behind, she merges left and is now accelerating up until she was close to being side by side with you, at this moment in time, you should have been aware of your surroundings, you should have seen here come up on your left side, and you would then be expected to fulfill the 1st element under 22107, that being "not making your movement (the left turn) until such movement can be made with reasonable safety".

    Obviously, judging by the results, your movement at that point in time was not even remotely safe, with a car next to you side by side! This concept is called "the last clear chance". Traffic laws, by their very nature, impose a duty upon each and every driver, a duty to exercise due care. And at the point in time that you started your movement to the left, you had the last chance/opportunity to avoid the accident. Even though she may have been negligent by ignoring your signal, even though she continued with her pass (although there doesn't seem to be anything illegal about that), it was your violation that was the "proximate cause for collision". So your violating CVC 22107 was the proximate cause of the collision, i.e. the event that is not only closest -timewise- to the collision, but the action that had the biggest impact on why it happened.

    Quote Quoting roly
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    I didn't expect the other car to come up so fast and pass me on the left, especially since I had my left blinker on for a while.
    Having you left blinker on for a while can have the opposite effect of notifying other drivers of your intent to turn... You say there was no traffic from the opposite direction, so there was nothing preventing your turn; you don't mention any driveways or a particular "lot" that you were turning into instead, you described a "field"; you also mentioned slowing down as well as possibly being closer to the right shoulder, all of which are conflicting signals to drivers behind you... And frankly, it comes to a point where anyone would have passed you for a number of reasons... You either turn or you don't.

    It still makes little sense that you would have a car following you, that you would signal, slow down, realize there is nothing preventing your turn, and that you would start your turn without even a glance to your left or through your side view or rear view mirror(s)... What were you looking at when you began your turn?

    Quote Quoting roly
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    It was fortunate that I was turning slowly enough that I was able to prevent the car from T-boning us.
    She would have to have been a distance away and if that were the case, your slowing down would not cause her to attempt a pass on the left, instead, she would be attempting to pass on the right as you cleared the lane by making your turn into the field.

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