It is a position in which most drivers have found themselves at some point. You’re trying to turn left onto a busy four-lane road, but the traffic is too heavy. You decide to travel as far as the center turn lane. Drivers in the two lanes nearest you wave you out. So what happens if you go forward and then hit another car in the turn lane? Can you recover damages from that other driver if you’re injured? The answer is “perhaps yes,” as one recent case from the Buffalo area, and the court ruling it produced, demonstrated. One of the key things that you can take away from this situation is that you should never assume you cannot recover damages; always check with a knowledgeable New York car accident attorney first.
The accident that spawned the case took place in heavy traffic along Niagara Falls Boulevard. That stretch of the road had two northbound lanes, two southbound lanes, and a center turning lane. Diane entered the turn lane to make a left turn into a shopping plaza. Angela desired to turn left from a parking lot and get into the southbound lanes. Traffic was too heavy to allow Angela to get directly to the southbound lanes, so, after being waved forward by two stopped drivers occupying the two northbound lanes, Angela pulled into the turn lane. Once in the turn lane, she hit Diane. Angela was injured in the accident.
So, you might wonder, that means that Angela has no chance of recovering compensation for her injuries, right? Not necessarily. Even though Diane had evidence that Angela failed to yield the right-of-way, that was not the end of the case. Angela managed to avoid having her case thrown out on summary judgment because she presented evidence that, aside from the right-of-way issue, Diane committed a violation that played into the crash. Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1126(c) prohibits drivers from driving in a center turn lane for any distance more than what’s needed to execute a left turn safely. According to Angela’s argument, Diane wasn’t merely using the center lane to turn left; she was using it to get around stopped traffic.
A key piece of evidence on Angela’s side was her expert witness’ testimony. The expert testified that, at the spot where the accident took place, Diane was still 161 feet away from the place where she would need to be to execute her turn. In other words, the expert evidence strengthened Angela’s argument that Diane had misused the turn lane (and violated the statute) by entering it early with the intention of using it to bypass stopped traffic and get to her turn area.
This evidence was sufficient to allow Angela to proceed to trial. If the jury in Angela’s trial believed her evidence that Diane had made improper use of the turn lane, she could possibly recover compensation, even in spite of the right-of-way issue.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, never give up on your chances of recovering compensation in court without first checking with legal counsel. The skilled Queens car accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have spent many years helping injured people achieve successful results, even those whose cases come with “difficult” facts. Talk to us and learn more about your options. Contact us toll-free at 877-754-3099 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Using Your Opponent’s Guilty Plea to a Vehicle & Traffic Law Violation in Your New York Auto Accident Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Nov. 29, 2017
Rear-Ending Another Vehicle Doesn’t Always Make an Accident in New York Your Fault…Here’s an Example, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 21, 2017
Photo Credit: DelDot – State of Delaware, [CC0 License], via Wikimedia Commons