Who Is Liable for a Crash Caused by Not Using a Turn Signal? 

stock image of the back turn sign flashing on a carIn Georgia, like most states, drivers are required to use their turn signal to indicate maneuvers, like lane changes. When drivers fail to use a turn signal, or do not signal properly, it can cause confusion or lead to a crash.

At Roden Law, we know that using a turn signal seems unimportant, but this simple, easy-to-use switch saves thousands of lives annually. Used properly, it has the potential to save even more. Drivers who neglect to signal can be liable if they cause a crash that injures you.

Need legal help after a crash? Our car crash attorneys in Savannah help injured victims every day, something we have been doing for decades. Call our law office today to find out if you have a case. There is no charge for this meeting, and we can use this time to answer your legal questions as well.

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What Does Georgia Law Say About Signaling Before Turning?

Like most states, Georgia has specific laws about driving and the proper use of turn signals under state law.

When You Must Use a Turn Signal in Georgia

When drivers want to turn, they should, of course, check for traffic first. However, do they always need to signal? Under Georgia state law, there are specific times when drivers are required to signal:

  • Making a turn at an intersection
  • Turning out of a private or commercial driveway or entrance
  • When changing lanes or merging into traffic
  • When entering traffic from a parallel parking space
  • In preparation for passing other vehicles

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Using Turning and Signaling

Below there are several other questions people often ask about signaling in Georgia.

Does It Matter Where Drivers Begin Turning From?

Drivers cannot randomly turn from any lane in traffic. They may use a turn signal to access one lane over. Right turns must be made from the far-right lane, unless multiple lanes are appropriately marked as “right-turn only” lanes. The same rule applies to drivers wishing to make a left turn. They cannot turn left from a center lane as it would cause them to cross in front of other traffic. They must turn from the far-left lane or from lanes that are specifically marked as left-turning lanes.

Do I Still Need To Signal If I Am in a Right or Left-Turn Only Lane?

Drivers behind you will know that you intend to turn left or turn right. However, it may not be a good idea to assume that traffic coming from in front of you or from other directions know that. Signaling is just a good habit to engage in and an easy way to help prevent a crash.

What Does the “Proper Use of a Turn Signal” Mean?

Under Georgia law, there is no specific time or distance stated. However, the law requires you to signal continuously for a sufficient amount of time. Paraphrased, you must signal long enough to give drivers behind you or around you sufficient notice.

Knowing what is NOT proper signaling may help too:

  • Turning on your signal at the same time you change lanes
  • Signaling seconds before you turn
  • Slamming on your brakes and then signaling, such as when almost missing an exit
  • Darting in and out of lanes while signaling

All of these methods of using a signal are careless. Signaling in this way can cause confusion and does not give other drivers time to slow down and react. Think of it this way. Signaling properly can help keep your vehicle from being hit by someone else.

Who May Be Liable if Not Using a Turn Signal Causes a Crash?

While often, the liable party may be the driver who failed to signal, the law will never assume that. An investigation into the cause of every crash must occur, so that the appropriate party can be held liable for the damages.

Liable parties may include one of the following:

Driver Who Failed To Use a Turn Signal

The driver who did not use a turn signal before turning or changing lanes is typically considered at fault. Georgia law requires drivers to signal their intentions before turning or changing lanes. Drivers have a legal duty of care to avoid causing harm to others. This includes properly signaling to help ensure the safety of all road users. If failing to signal leads to a collision, the driver may be held liable for the accident and any resulting damages.

Other Negligent Drivers

While the driver who failed to signal is usually at fault, other drivers involved in the accident might share liability. However, this is only if the other party’s negligence contributed to the crash in some way.

Here is an example of what shared liability could look like: Another driver was speeding through an intersection. If that negligence contributed to the crash, they might share responsibility for the collision.

Employers (If the Crash Involves a Company or Commercial Vehicle)

Sometimes the drivers who failed to signal may be operating a company or commercial vehicle, such as a truck or delivery van. In this situation, the driver’s employer might be held liable under a legal doctrine called, “respondeat superior.” This doctrine holds employers responsible for things their employees did if those actions occurred within the scope of their employment.

Vehicle Owners

In some cases, the owner of the vehicle (if different from the driver) may be liable. This is especially true if they knowingly allowed an unsafe or unlicensed driver to use their vehicle.

How Does Georgia’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law Affect a Crash Claim?

Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence rule. What this means for drivers is that fault for any crash can be shared among multiple parties. The percentage of fault is based on each party’s assessed degree of responsibility.

If the injured party is determined to have been negligent in some way, such as by following a vehicle too closely, they might be partially to blame. In that situation, they could be assessed with a percentage of liability.

The bottom line is this: as long as the injured victim is less than 50 percent at fault, a claim for compensation is still possible. That said, any compensation awarded to a partially liable victim will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

Call Today To Speak to One of Our Knowledgeable Attorneys in Savannah

Our legal team at Roden Law firm is eager to help you. We have a history of getting successful outcomes for our clients, and we are prepared to do the same for you.

Find out about your potential legal options today. There is no cost for this meeting. If we find you have legal options, you can hire our services with no upfront costs. What this means is there is no financial risk to you. We only get paid if we win your case.

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