Intersection & Left Turn Car Accidents in Philadelphia
Intersection or left turn car accidents in Philadelphia are notorious for causing severe injuries because cars are usually traveling at full speed when a collision happens. Individuals who are injured in intersection accident may have difficulty with their insurance claims because proving fault can be difficult, especially if there are no eyewitnesses to corroborate how the accident happened.
Who Had the Right of Way?
One of the most critical questions when trying to determine fault in an intersection accident is, who had the right of way? The answer isn’t always so clear.
Below our Philadelphia car accident lawyers discuss some of the most common PA Vehicle Code laws which come into play.
Two Drivers Approaching the Same Intersection (Vehicle Approaching or Entering Intersection)
In general, when two drivers are entering the same intersection at the same time, from different directions, the driver who is approaching the intersection from the left side of the intersection must yield to the driver coming from the right side of the intersection. See Section 3321(a) below, which does not apply to certain roadways, such as traffic circles. In traffic circles, drivers in the traffic circle have the right of way. Also see Sections 3322, 3324 and 3331 below.
Driver Turning Left
Any driver who is turning left is required to yield the right of way to any driver coming from the opposite direction, if that vehicle is close enough to constitute a hazard. In addition, a driver navigating a left turn must turn from the designated turn lane (if present) and must turn into the farthest left lane. See Sections 3322 and 3331 below.
Intersections With Stop Signs or Yield Signs
Intersection accidents often happen because the driver intending to make the turn failed to execute a full stop or failed to yield appropriately. Drivers who have stop signs or yield signs must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. If traffic is not visible after stopping or yielding, a driver must pull forward slowly until traffic is visible, and can then proceed only when it is safe to do so. See Section 3323 below.
In some instances, a driver who fails to navigate a yield sign appropriately may be deemed to have caused an accident. Section 3323(c) provides: If a driver is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection or junction of roadways after driving past a yield sign, the collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of failure of the driver to yield the right-of-way.
Proving Fault After a Philadelphia Intersection Car Accident
Oftentimes, proving fault after an intersection accident requires testimony of other witnesses. Passengers of the vehicles involved, drivers of other vehicles and even bystanders may be necessary to prove exactly how the accident occurred.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of the accident, it may be necessary to have an accident reconstruction performed. This is especially important in fatal or catastrophic accident situations. Given the extent of the damages, an expert may be required to determine speed, distance and collision mechanics.
For more info, visit the PA & NJ Car Accident Law Library.
Philadelphia Car Accident Injury Law Firm
Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience handling personal injury lawsuits, including car, truck and pedestrian accidents. We’ve recovered nearly $200 million for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation. Cases accepted across the greater Philadelphia area including Montgomery, Delaware and Bucks County. (866) 641-0806
Pennsylvania Vehicle Code Sections for Intersections & Left Turns (Current as of November 2017)
§ 3321. Vehicle approaching or entering intersection.
(a) General rule.–When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
§ 3322. Vehicle turning left.
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left within an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is so close as to constitute a hazard.
§ 3323. Stop signs and yield signs.
(a) Intersections controlled by signs.–Preferential right-of-way at an intersection may be indicated by stop signs or yield signs as authorized in section 6124 (relating to erection of traffic-control devices at intersections).
(b) Duties at stop signs.–Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or appropriately attired persons authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line or, if no stop line is present, before entering a crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if no crosswalk is present, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering. If, after stopping at a crosswalk or clearly marked stop line, a driver does not have a clear view of approaching traffic, the driver shall after yielding the right-of-way to any pedestrian in the crosswalk slowly pull forward from the stopped position to a point where the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic. The driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute a hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways and enter the intersection when it is safe to do so.
(c) Duties at yield signs.–The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall in obedience to the sign slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and, if required for safety to stop, shall stop before entering a crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering. After slowing down or stopping, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute a hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection of roadways. If a driver is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection or junction of roadways after driving past a yield sign, the collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of failure of the driver to yield the right-of-way.
§ 3324. Vehicle entering or crossing roadway.
The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a roadway from any place other than another roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on the roadway to be entered or crossed.
§ 3331. Required position and method of turning.
(b) Left turn.–The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of the vehicle. Whenever practicable, the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection and so as to leave the intersection or location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the vehicle on the roadway being entered.
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