A U-turn – typically a sweeping turn made to proceed in the opposite direction – creates an obvious risk if executed across lanes of traffic. A driver who executes a U-turn and causes an accident may be held accountable in a civil proceeding, as well as potentially face criminal charges.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can provide you with assistance if you were injured in a U-turn car accident. If another driver’s negligence or carelessness led to the accident and your injuries, then you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your out-of-pocket expenses and other losses.
When Are U-Turns Illegal in New York?
A U-turn is allowed in many places in New York or New York City, but there are posted intersections and locations in NYC where it is illegal to make a U-turn. If allowed, you can make a U-turn in New York when you have a green left-turn arrow to proceed, and you yield to other traffic.
When You Should Avoid Making a U-turn
- Do not try a U-turn on a highway unless absolutely necessary. If you must, get off at an exit and redirect your car in a parking lot.
- Do not attempt a U-turn anywhere where other drivers can’t see you, such as near a curve or the top of a hill.
Additionally, it is expressly illegal to make a U-turn:
- In New York City business districts
- In school zones
- On limited-access expressways
- Anywhere a sign says U-turns are prohibited
If a motorist violates New York traffic laws, they could face license suspension, fines, and even jail time, depending on the nature of the offense.
Why Are U-turns Dangerous?
U-turns can pose a threat to all road users for the following reasons:
- Very briefly, a motorist could face oncoming traffic, increasing the risk of a head-on collision.
- A driver might overestimate how much room they have to execute a turn.
- U-turns can clog lanes of traffic if not executed quickly and correctly.
- Motorists might need to cut across lanes of traffic.
- A motorist might go below the speed limit to execute a U-turn.
U-Turns Can Cause Serious Accidents
The impact of a U-turn accident can cause a variety of injuries. In a motor vehicle collision, drivers and passengers are jolted by the initial impact and slammed against the structure of the vehicle, airbags, and each other.
Loose cargo can be thrown into occupants of the vehicle. In some high-speed crashes, a car rolls over, and/or occupants are ejected and suffer additional injuries.
Common car accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including concussions and more serious traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Back and spinal cord injury, including paralysis
- Internal organ injuries
- Contusions, abrasions and lacerations
Medical care is expensive. The costs of hospital care and rehabilitation after a severe injury are the biggest part of many car accident claims.
Who Is at Fault in an Accident Involving a U-Turn?
You might assume that in a collision involving a U-turn, the driver executing the maneuver is automatically at fault. That might not be the case, though. For instance, if a motorist was making a U-turn but was then hit by a drunk driver, determining fault can quickly become complicated.
To help you understand your rights, here are some things to consider regarding fault in these collisions:
New York Is a Pure Comparative Negligence State
New York operates on a pure comparative negligence system. So, even if you mostly caused a collision, you could still seek damages. However, your negligence will affect your ultimate settlement, and fault can still be divided among multiple parties.
Our firm can investigate your case and determine who shares a majority of fault for the accident.
Evidence in Your Case Could Prove Fault
Each insurance company has a different way of proving and assigning fault. However, one thing remains certain: fault is supported by evidence. In your case for compensation, we could use the following evidence to bolster your claim:
- The police report. In an accident, you’re required to file a police report if you were injured, someone passed away, or apparent property damage was more than $1,000, per the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. This document will list the details of the crash, including how it happened, where it happened, and who was involved.
- Eyewitness statements. If someone saw your accident happen, we can use their statements to prove you were injured by a negligent driver.
- Traffic camera footage. Many intersections in New York feature security cameras. Videos of your accident could answer some important questions about who (or what) caused the collision.
Evidence in Your Case Could Also Prove the Following:
When investigating U-turn injury cases, we look for evidence to prove:
- The U-turn was made illegally; or
- The U-turn was not made safely; and/or
- Other factors, such as intoxication or distraction, contributed to the U-turn accident.
The driver responsible for your injuries in a U-turn accident may be held accountable for your losses, even if you were partially at fault.
Could Your Accident Merit Compensation?
If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, then you could have a valid claim or lawsuit:
- You suffered serious injuries as a result of another party’s careless or reckless actions.
- You incurred financial losses after getting hurt.
It’s that simple. By connecting with our firm, you can learn more about the viability of your case.
You Can Seek Damages If You Were Hurt in an Accident Involving A U-Turn
In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, New York law allows the injured to seek economic and non-economic compensatory damages for their losses and, in some cases, punitive damages for the defendant’s egregious conduct.
Economic Damages Account for Your Monetary Losses
Economic damages include money for:
- Medical bills (past, current, and future)
- Property damage (to a vehicle, typically)
- Lost income, including future losses due to lost earning capacity
Non-Economic Damages Account for Your Physical and Emotional Hardships
Non-economic compensatory damages may be awarded if the car accident victim has suffered a serious injury as defined in New York State Insurance Law § 5102. Specific examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, disability, and impaired quality of life. You could seek these damages if you suffered one or more of the following:
- Loss of a fetus
- Loss of the use of a body organ
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
A jury may award punitive damages if the at-fault driver’s actions equate to gross negligence or reckless disregard for human life.
Call Our Firm After Getting Into an Accident
If someone else’s unsafe decision to make a U-turn in New York left you with serious injuries, contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today for a free consultation.
Let us explain how our U-turn accident attorneys would work to help you seek full compensation for the harm somebody else’s negligence has caused you. Call us at (516) 358-6900.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900