Left-turn collisions often occur at intersections. One driver may be going straight through the intersection while another, proceeding in the opposite direction, is attempting to turn left at the light.

Examples of behaviour that can result in a left-turn collision include:

  • Miscalculating the speed of an oncoming vehicle/the time required to complete the turn;
  • Failing to signal before turning;
  • Turning without a clear view of the intersection and/or oncoming traffic; and,
  • Trying to "beat the light" or other drivers approaching.

When a collision occurs, it may be unclear who is at fault. Ontario case law has offered some guidance on this issue, and that is, in part, that the determination is context-dependent.

The Highway Traffic Act requires left-turning drivers to make sure they can do so safely.

Often, the left-turning driver will be found at fault for the collision. These drivers must maintain a proper lookout, and yield to oncoming traffic until safe to complete their left turn.

The law in Ontario allows drivers proceeding straight through an intersection on a yellow light to do so with caution, should it be unsafe to stop. However, what drivers consider "safe" may differ. Therefore, left-turning drivers should not assume that a driver proceeding straight will stop.

Left-turning drivers are not always at fault. Fault for a collision depends on factors, including the speed of the vehicles, who had the right of way, the obligations of each driver, and what a reasonable driver would have done in the circumstances.

Some examples where the other (non-left-turning vehicle) may be found at fault include where they have run a red light, or where they are driving more than the speed limit when approaching an intersection.

Even if you are found to be partially at fault for a collision, you may still be eligible to pursue compensation through a civil claim (or lawsuit).

An experienced personal injury lawyer can collect and review collision scene photos, video surveillance, and eyewitness statements to assess what occurred, provide an opinion, and advocate on your behalf.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.