The Duryea brothers built the first gas-powered car in America in 1893. There were only 4,200 cars in the U.S. in 1901 when the first speed limit law was passed. Until then, there were no road markings, streetlights, traffic signals, or other traffic laws to govern their usage.
Since then, federal and state governments have passed numerous laws to protect the safety of their citizens. Several of these designate who has the right of way in specific traffic situations.
Although licensed drivers are required to pass an exam, that doesn’t mean they always follow traffic laws, and accidents can happen. If you were injured in an accident caused by someone who failed to yield the right of way, call JAG.
What Does It Mean To Yield the Right of Way?
There are an untold number of situations where two or more people arrive at the same place at approximately the same time, whether they’re walking, riding a bike, or driving a car. By following the right-of-way laws, these people allow the one who has the right of way to proceed first.
California has several laws to dictate who has the right of way in specific instances.
There are several kinds of intersections, and the rules for each can vary.
This type of intersection can exist when a road ends at another in a “T-shaped” layout. There may or may not be traffic signs or lights at three-way intersections, so drivers need to understand that traffic on the road that doesn’t end has the right of way. This applies to those exiting a driveway or parking lot as well.
Most busy intersections have a traffic light that controls the flow of traffic. There may be a left-turn arrow. It’s essential for drivers to follow the instructions provided by the light, whether it’s green, yellow, or red.
Some intersections allow those making right turns to proceed even when they’re facing a red light, but they must stop and yield to oncoming traffic first. Keep in mind that other drivers may not yield, so be alert when approaching and traveling through intersections.
You’ll see stop signs and yield signs along roads throughout the U.S. Stop signs indicate that someone else has the right of way and that you must stop before proceeding. Yield signs warn you that you’ll have to yield the right of way if another vehicle is approaching, but you can typically proceed without stopping if you can clearly see that the road is clear.
In four-way stops, there are two rules:
- The car that reaches the intersection and stops first has the right of way.
- If two or more cars reach the intersection and stop at the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right of way.
Left or Right Turns
Those wishing to turn left must yield to oncoming traffic. Right-hand turns allow drivers more leeway, but they still need to proceed with caution and follow instructions from traffic lights or signs.
On steep, narrow inclines, two cars may not be able to pass each other. In this case, the one headed down the hill must yield the right of way. That may mean the driver has to back up until the upward-facing vehicle can safely pass.
Vehicles traveling on freeways always have the right of way over those that are using on-ramps to enter the freeway.
Pedestrians include those who are walking or using a wheelchair, skates, or a skateboard. Pedestrians have their own rules to follow, but we’ll talk about how drivers should act when pedestrians are around. Drivers must:
- Allow pedestrians safe passage in crosswalks
- Give pedestrians the right of way even if they’re not crossing a street properly
- Not pass another vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk
Pedestrians are unprotected and can face serious or fatal injuries if they’re hit by a motor vehicle. Whether you’re driving in a parking lot, residential area, school zone, business district, or other places that typically have lots of pedestrian traffic, you should always be alert and prepared to yield.
Those already traveling through a roundabout have the right of way, although they must yield to traffic when exiting.
What Is a Failure to Yield Accident?
When someone fails to yield the right of way, they’re breaking the law. They can also cause accidents that lead to injuries. Many times, another vehicle hits the car that fails to yield. In many accidents, that would indicate that the driver of the car that hits the other one is responsible for causing the collision and is liable for paying damages.
The circumstances of each accident are different, and that’s why accident investigations are critical: to determine how and why the collision happened and who is ultimately responsible for paying for damages.
Your JAG attorney will investigate your crash to gather many types of evidence. They may:
- Obtain any video footage that captured the collision as it happened
- Speak to witnesses
- Perform an accident reconstruction if needed
- Use the police accident report
- Search for other contributing factors
- Request cell phone records for the person who failed to yield
Your lawyer will work diligently to ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation allowable.
What If More Than One Person Is Responsible?
Many accidents have more than one person who contributed to causing them. Every state has laws to govern what happens in these cases. California uses pure comparative negligence. Your degree of fault directly corresponds to the amount of compensation you can receive; therefore, it’s vital that your assigned degree of responsibility is minimal or zero.
Say that Bob is driving a car and fails to yield the right of way to you, but you’re texting and not paying full attention to traffic. An investigation might show that you’re 40% responsible for causing that accident.
Now, let’s assume that the total damages in this accident are $100,000. Law requires that 40% of that, or $40,000, be deducted, leaving $60,000 as the most compensation you can receive. Similarly, you’re only responsible for 40% of the damages.
One of the many vital tasks your failure-to-yield attorney performs is ensuring that you’re not blamed unfairly.
Why Do You Need a Failure to Yield Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve been injured, you need to focus on your recovery. However, several things must be done. Your lawyer can accomplish these tasks for you. JAG will:
- Provide information and legal advice
- Prepare and submit related paperwork
- Investigate your accident
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- Speak to insurance company representatives and investigators on your behalf
- Aggressively negotiate a favorable settlement or take your case to trial
You could do these tasks on your own, but why would you want to? Many people receive more compensation when they have legal representation.
Why Should You Choose JAG?
The Johnson Attorney Group has 12 locations throughout the state of California. We’ve won over $100 million for our clients with a 98.7% case success rate. Even though we’re a large firm with the power and resources you’d expect, you can count on personalized attention from your legal team. You’re in good hands when you choose JAG.
You won’t pay us any fees unless we win! Begin by requesting your free consultation. You can reach us 24/7 by calling (800) 208-3538, using live chat, or submitting our online case review form.