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Unprotected Left Turns and Pedestrian Collisions

Unfortunately, pedestrian safety remains a significant problem in our region. According to the preliminary data from the Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 182 pedestrians were killed in collisions in Georgia in the first half of 2021 alone. Many more suffered serious injuries. Although these crashes can happen in a wide range of situations, unprotected left turns are one of the highest risk driving maneuvers for pedestrians. At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, we are strong, experienced, and justice-focused advocates for injured victims and their families. Here, our Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyers provide a comprehensive guide to unprotected left turns and pedestrian injury claims in Georgia. 

What is an Unprotected Left Turn?

An unprotected left turn occurs when a driver must turn left at an intersection without the aid of a dedicated left-turn traffic signal, meaning there’s no arrow that specifically allows for a safe turn. Instead, the driver must yield to oncoming traffic and any pedestrians crossing the street—waiting for a safe gap before completing the turn. It is a maneuver that requires careful judgment of oncoming traffic speed and distance. 

Why Unprotected Left Turns Can Be Especially Hazardous for Pedestrians

Unprotected left turns pose significant risks not only to drivers but especially to pedestrians. Indeed, motorists making unprotected left turns are disproportionately likely to collide with pedestrians compared to other common vehicle maneuvers. Here are some of the most notable reasons why unprotected left turns can be dangerous for pedestrians in Georgia: 

  1. Drivers Often Overlook the Presence of Pedestrians: Drivers focused on finding a gap in oncoming traffic may overlook pedestrians crossing the intersection—particularly if they are concentrating on the vehicles approaching from the opposite direction. It is an oversight that can lead to a serious pedestrian collision. 
  2. Failure to Yield By a Driving Making a Turn: A Georgia driver making an unprotected left hand turn has the duty to yield the right of way—including to pedestrians. The only exception is if there is a pedestrian crossing signal stating otherwise. Yet, too many drivers fail to yield the right of way in the situation. 
  3. Signals May Be Lacking at These Intersections: Intersections that require unprotected left turns frequently lack clear pedestrian signals. As a consequence, there can be confusion among pedestrians about when it is safe to cross. Without a dedicated pedestrian signal, people may misinterpret the traffic flow. 

A Negligent Driver Can Be Held Liable for a Collision

Georgia is a fault-based motor vehicle accident state. When a driver fails to execute an unprotected left turn properly—thereby leading to a pedestrian collision—they can be held liable for the resulting damages. Some examples of negligence in this scenario include: 

  • Failing to yield to oncoming pedestrians; 
  • Misjudging the speed of oncoming vehicles; and
  • Making a left turn while distracted. 

A Two-Year Statute of Limitations for a Pedestrian Accident Claim

You do not have an unlimited amount of time to bring your pedestrian accident injury claim in Georgia. These cases are generally subject to a two-year statute of limitations. What happens if you fail to file a pedestrian accident injury lawsuit within two years of a crash? You could miss out on your chance to take legal action at all. Do not violate the statute of limitations: Consult with a top Georgia pedestrian crash injury lawyer right away after a bad crash at an unprotected left turn. 

Recovering Compensation for a Pedestrian Accident in Georgia

Hurt in a pedestrian crash involving a driver who was making an unprotected left turn? You have the right to pursue financial compensation for the full extent of your damages. Unfortunately, even in these cases which can be very hazardous for pedestrians, insurance companies are focused on minimizing payouts. A top-tier Georgia pedestrian accident attorney can help you seek the full and fair financial compensation that you deserve. You may be able to recover for: 

  • Emergency room care; 
  • Hospital bills; 
  • Other medical expenses; 
  • Physical rehabilitation; 
  • Loss of wages; 
  • Diminished earnings; 
  • Pain and suffering; 
  • Mental distress; 
  • Long-term disability; and
  • Wrongful death. 

Schedule Your Free Consultation With Our Georgia Pedestrian Crash Lawyer Today

At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, our Georgia pedestrian accident attorneys have the professional skills and legal expertise that you can trust when it matters most. If you or your loved one was hurt in a pedestrian crash at an unprotected left turn, we are here to help. Contact us today for a free, no obligation initial consultation. With law offices in Atlanta and Augusta, we handle pedestrian accident injury claims throughout the State of Georgia.