U-turns are never so simple and safe as they appear. You would need to slow down your vehicle and turn across multiple opposing traffic lanes, which can leave you vulnerable to crashes. For this reason, U-turns remain prohibited in several places including the business districts of New York. Drivers should only attempt U-turns after being sure that they are legally permitted to do so and they are yielding to any oncoming traffic.
If a driver has caused you or a loved one an injury because of negligence during a legal or illegal U-turn, you might be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries and other damages.
What Makes U-Turns Dangerous?
Simply put, a U-turn happens when a driver turns to the left in order to head towards the direction opposite to its previous one. To understand the dangers of U-turns, you have to take into account the following two facts:
- A driver would need to cut across multiple lanes of traffic
- Failing to complete a U-turn properly can mean that the driver would have to back up perpendicular to existing traffic and then pull ahead again
This is why U-turns are often deemed illegal. Driving manuals also advise against U-turns in situations where you are not visible to other drivers from a distance of 500 feet. Curves and hilltops are, therefore, the worst places for these turns.
In New York, U-turns are prohibited in the following places:
- New York City business districts
- Limited-access expressways
- School zones
- Places with signs that say U-turns are not allowed
Six Most Common U-Turn Accidents
A motorist trying to complete a U-turn in city traffic in the absence of a green light left turn arrow can quickly become a collision hazard while trying to merge into oncoming traffic. The six most common accidents emerging from U-turns include:
- A sideswipe can occur if the driver attempting the U-turn does not turn sharply enough to stay in the right lane but veers into another lane and in the path of oncoming traffic.
- A T-bone accident can result if another driver slams into the side of the vehicle which is trying to complete a U-turn.
- A rear-end accident is possible if the vehicle stops without warning or reverses suddenly in the middle of a U-turn and gets hit from the rear.
- A head-on collision can happen if the driver veers into oncoming traffic while trying to complete a U-turn.
- An accident involving multiple vehicles can happen due to a chain reaction where a car trying to make a U-turn sets things off.
- A pedestrian accident can occur if a driver attempting a U-turn fails to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. This can also endanger people riding bicycles and motorcycles.
Steps To Take Before Making a U-turn in New York
The first thing to consider is whether U-turns are prohibited at the spot where you are planning to make one. Once you have that out of the way, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Any curved part of the street is not a good place for a U-turn as trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, and other vehicles might come around the bend without seeing you early enough
- Before attempting a U-turn, ensure you can clearly see oncoming vehicles from both directions
- Make sure that there are no obstructions to your vision
- If you are facing a bad weather situation, like ice, sleet, rain, or snow, be extra careful while attempting a U-turn
An unsafe U-turn can dramatically increase the chances of a multiple-vehicle collision. The car making the U-urn can be hit by one vehicle coming straight, which can then be hit by another, creating a cascade of collisions. In these accidents involving multiple impacts, determining liability can be extremely complex and might fall to a jury decision.
Who is at Fault in a U-turn Collision?
If you suffer an injury as a result of a U-turn accident, you would need to prove that another driver is legally liable. This can entail clearly establishing causation and negligence. Negligence, in this regard, entails the violation of traffic law in the form of reckless driving or attempting a U-turn where it is prohibited. You would need to establish that the negligence of the other driver directly caused your injuries.
Gathering evidence can be extremely important in establishing liability. This is where the legal help of a New York car accident lawyer experienced in personal injury cases can really matter. The lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP can provide valuable legal advice and support in this matter.
Possible Steps U-turn Car Accident Lawyers can Take in New York
- To begin with, gather the appropriate evidence. This can include physical evidence from the affected vehicle, evidence from the crash site, witness statements, security and traffic camera footage, and medical records that establish your injuries and their treatment, along with financial outlay.
- Causation needs to be proved by creating a narrative through evidence that explains what you experienced and how it came to pass. In complex scenarios, the help of car accident reconstruction experts can be sought. The accident can then be replicated using computer-generated imagery (CGI) and other visual tools.
- Fault can then be assigned to the driver attempting the unauthorized U-turn. Assigning fault compels the insurance company of the at-fault driver to provide you with compensation.
- Finally, injuries and medical costs need to be evaluated in order to claim damages. In U-turn accident claims, the defendant might be required to compensate the plaintiff for medical expenses, loss of income, and redress for pain, suffering, and emotional trauma. Your attorney would calculate current medical bills and consult with financial and medical experts to properly quantify your claims. Your suffering, present and future medical costs, and other long-term costs can be taken into account.
Compensation for U-turn Accident Injuries
Several different injuries can be caused by U-turn accidents. The initial impact during a crash can jolt the driver and passengers and slam them against the vehicle chassis, each other, or deployed airbags. Loose items can collide into occupants. Cars can roll over and occupants can get ejected in some high-speed crashes, causing even more damage and trauma.
Injuries sustained in U-turn accidents can include:
- Damage to internal organs
- Lacerations and contusions
- Injuries to the back and spinal cord, including those that cause paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries including concussions
Treating these injuries can be expensive. Often, the largest component of car accident claims is constituted by the costs of rehabilitation and hospital care. Insurance companies can try different tactics to avoid paying the requisite amounts. They can deny the validity of the claim or absolve the policyholder of any wrongdoing or responsibility. It is important to remain smart and avoid saying things that can jeopardize your claim. This is one important reason why you should have a smart, experienced New York car accident attorney in your corner.
According to New York law, you can seek compensation, both economic and non-economic for your losses. Suing for punitive damages can also be an option in some cases when the contact of the defendant has been particularly egregious.
Economic compensation can help cover for:
- Medical requirements, present, and future
- Property damage, typically to your vehicle
- Loss in income on the account of being rendered unable to work
According to New York State Insurance Law 5102, severe accidents can be enough cause for non-economic damages. These are usually expected to cover:
- Loss of function of an organ
- Gravely limited use of a system or bodily function
- Loss of a child in the womb
If the defendant is shown to have displayed a reckless disregard for human life or severe negligence, a jury might choose to award punitive damages. These are usually a multiple of the monetary value of the compensation.
Getting the Right Legal Assistance
In the aftermath of an injury or death resulting from a U-turn collision, it is important to embrace the right legal strategy for compensation. The fine details and nuances of the New York legal system need to be navigated with skills and poise. A competent car accident attorney can guide you through the process and ensure that you stand the best chance of receiving compensation. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we have decades of experience and a top team of skilled and committed lawyers who can help you establish a robust case for maximum compensation. Get your case evaluated by our team immediately by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at (347) 504-1246. You do not have to pay anything to us until we obtain financial compensation for you from the at-faulty party.