Accidents Caused by Not Using Turn Signals
While most people believe that distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in Mississippi, new research shows that the real culprit may be the failure to give proper turn signals. According to a study conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers, an estimated 2 million accidents take place each year because of the driver’s failure to use proper turn signals.
The study shows that drivers might neglect to use the right turn signals almost 50% of the time while making lane changes, and 25% of the time while making a turn. You should consider hiring a skilled car accident attorney if you or a loved one was injured in a car accident because the negligent party failed to use the correct turn signals.
When Should You Use Turn Signals in Mississippi?
These are general safety guidelines regarding turn signals:
1. Signal should be turned on every time while making a turn
Signaling should be a habit, similar to flipping a lever. The purpose of turn signals is to let pedestrians, drivers, and other roadway users know about your intentions. It gives the other driver enough time to respond or adapt. Many drivers think that they don’t need to use turn signals if they don’t see anyone else on the road. Many accidents happen because of this assumption.
2. Signal before making lane changes
Drivers need to signal before they can make lane changes. This should happen before they start making the change and not while straddling the line. The turn signal’s purpose is to let other drivers and roadway users know what you are about to do before you do it. In certain cases, it is advisable to use the turn signals before hitting the brakes.
Liability for an Accident Caused by Failure to Use the Turn Signal
Drivers that fail to properly signal are typically liable for causing an accident. The most common type of accident that occurs when a driver fails to signal a maneuver is another vehicle hitting them. It’s negligent to not signal when required. The study performed by the Society of Automotive Engineers found that not using turn signals led to more accidents as compared to distracted driving because of cell phone use.
There are strict regulations in place by federal law regarding turn signals, reflectors, and lighting in commercial vehicles. These regulations are applicable to vehicles falling under the federal purview of the Department of Transportation (DOT). Hence, if you drive a tractor-trailer or any other vehicle regulated by the US DOT, you should be aware of these requirements.
Available Damages in Accidents Caused by Failure to Use Turn Signals
If an accident is caused by a non-signaling driver, they will be responsible for paying compensatory damages to the other driver. There is also a very real chance of punitive damages. Compensatory damages may cover proven items, such as:
- Replacement or repair of a damaged vehicle, including the cost of renting another vehicle while the repair work is being carried out.
- Cost of medical care in case the driver or any of the occupants were injured in the accident. This includes medications, doctors, hospital stays, and therapy.
- Lost wages of any person that is unable to work because of injuries resulting from the accident.
- Compensation for pain and suffering to any person that was injured in the accident.
Punitive damages or exemplary damages may be awarded in certain cases. These damages are in addition to compensatory damages. They are charged with punishing the negligent driver for gross misconduct. Punitive damages will not be awarded if the non-liable driver’s vehicle is not damaged, or the driver did not sustain any injuries since these are in addition to compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are typically ‘relatively proportionate’ to compensatory damages. They are usually awarded if the negligent driver was engaged in:
- Driving while intoxicated (DUI or DWI)
- Gross violations of traffic laws and road rules
- Driving with the knowledge that the signals don’t work, or the car is in poor condition
- Incompetence (especially in the case of an unlicensed driver)
What is Negligence Per Se?
The law requires signaling in certain situations. Hence, a violation of the law can be construed as negligence per se. This is a legal term for an act that can be understood as inherently negligent because it violates a particular law. The only defense to a negligence per se claim is to show that the accident was not a direct result of the non-signaling driver’s failure to use the turn signals.
Failure to signal when required can lead to a moving violation ticket. This citation can be a basis for proving negligence in the accident claim.
Consult with an Accomplished Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident attorney, it is important to hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible for the right legal advice. Determining fault in accidents resulting from failure to use turn signals can be challenging.
The top-rated auto accident attorneys at Gardner Law Firm can establish the evidence and pursue a strong case for damages on your behalf. We will help you understand all available legal options so that you can make an informed decision. Schedule your free and confidential consultation with us today. Call 228-436-6555 or write to us online.