When driving, you are more likely to experience an accident while at an intersection than in motion. This is especially true for traffic lights turning yellow. It’s important to know who is at fault and held responsible for yellow left-hand turn collisions before you experience one.

Who’s at fault in yellow light accidents?

Yellow lights, also called amber lights, do not mean “slow down.” According to section 44 of the Highway Traffic Act, it explains when approaching a  yellow light “one must stop if you can do so safely; otherwise, go with caution.” The Fault Determination rules in the Insurance Act make it clear that if you are hit while going through a yellow light, you are found to be negligent and at fault for the accident.

Who’s at fault in left-turn accidents?

When a collision happens during a left turn, whoever has made the left turn is at fault. The oncoming vehicle has the right-of-way. But there are exceptions to this rule, which can be difficult to prove in court. If the other driver was not visible but decided to increase their speed to pass the intersection or failed to stop at a red light and hit you,  they are at fault. However, there must be eyewitnesses, video, or other evidence to prove the other driver was negligent.

An example of the latter is an Ontario case that dealt with a transport truck driver who turned left and hit another vehicle. The oncoming vehicle was not visible to the truck driver before the turn but hit the truck. During the police investigation, it was found that the other driver was speeding, at a rate over twice the limit and could not come to a complete stop. In this case, the judge found the truck driver was not at fault for the accident. In rare instances, it is possible to successfully fight fault for left-turn accidents.

Who’s at fault for yellow left-turning accidents?

There are cases where both yellow lights and left-turning accidents occur. In Ontario, drivers are allowed to pass the line and enter the intersection to wait for an opportunity to turn left. If the light turns yellow while they are in the intersection, many assume they have the right-of-way to clear the lane. This is false. Drivers do not have the right-of-way to turn left on yellow unless all oncoming cars have come to complete stop and it is safe to clear the left-turning lane. Furthermore, you are not expected to move past the line of the intersection except if you can safely make the turn before the light turns yellow.

However, the law does not usually require you to wait for the opportunity to make your turn behind the line (there are bylaws in Toronto), but it is the safer course of action. If you are hit while turning left on a yellow you are determined at fault for the accident. The same exceptions apply as in left-turn accidents.

Repercussions of driving accidents

The repercussions of simply running a yellow light are high: A $325-dollar maximum fine, three demerit points, and an increase in insurance rates. The repercussions from a driving car accident can be much more severe, it can leave you or a loved one with serious injuries or even a fatality. If you have been injured in a left-turn accident, it’s highly important to contact a personal injury lawyer to receive advice for your specific situation. Contact Zayouna Law for a FREE consultation to get the help you deserve.