In Virginia, U-turns are legal in some situations and illegal in others. If you’re injured in a crash caused by a driver making an illegal U-turn, that driver might be cited, receive a ticket, and be required to pay a fine, but that fine will go to the city or county, not to you. To receive compensation for damages resulting from the illegal U-turn, you must file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for your medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you don’t receive a reasonable settlement offer from the insurer, you may file a lawsuit and fight for fair compensation in court.
Virginia’s U-Turn Laws
The state of Virginia has very specific laws about where and under what circumstances you may make a U-turn:
- A U-turn is legal only at an intersection. You may not make a U-turn where there is no intersecting thoroughfare.
- U-turns are prohibited anywhere on a curve in the road or street.
- U-turns are not permitted at or near the crest of any hill due to a lack of visibility to approaching drivers.
- U-turns are prohibited at any place where the turning car cannot be seen from 500 feet by drivers approaching from any direction.
- You may not make a U-turn at any intersection where there is a sign prohibiting U-turns.
Where a U-turn is permitted, the motorist making the turn is responsible for doing so safely in the time and space available. The U-turning vehicle is also required to yield the right-of-way to other motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. A driver who ignores these laws, makes an illegal U-turn, or makes a legal U-turn without exercising due care can be held liable for damages suffered by victims of a resulting accident.
Protecting Your Claim for Damages
If the other driver is cited for making an illegal U-turn that caused your crash, that citation strengthens your claim for damages, but you must take the initiative to start the insurance claim process in order to receive compensation. You can also protect your damage claim by taking the following steps immediately after the wreck if you’re physically able:
Report Your Accident
Call 9-1-1 to report your crash. When the police arrive to make an accident report, answer their questions honestly with basic information but do not elaborate. Go into only enough detail to make sure the report is accurate and sign only the documents they require. An accurate police report can provide important evidence in your case, so be sure to find out how you can get a copy of the report.
Photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved can also provide information crucial to your case. Try to get pictures of license plates, damage to vehicles, skid marks, road conditions, broken guardrails or poles, and any other relevant evidence.
Get insurance and contact information from the other driver(s) and provide yours. Ask any witnesses to the wreck for their contact information, too. Do not discuss the accident with anyone. Do not argue. Do not apologize to anyone. Do not admit any fault for anything to anybody.
Contact Your Insurance Company
It’s important to let your own car insurer know about your wreck right away. You might have to file a claim with your own company to cover your medical and other expenses while you await your settlement from the at-fault driver’s company.
Seek Medical Attention
The adrenaline resulting from the experience of the crash could mask symptoms of injuries for days after your wreck. Even if you don’t feel you’re injured, you should see a doctor right away for an exam and diagnostic testing, which can reveal injuries that might not be apparent at first. An early diagnosis gets you on the road to recovery sooner and provides vital documentation of the injuries you’ve suffered in the accident.
Contact an Attorney
Most car accident lawyers will offer you a free first consultation to evaluate your case and explain your options, so you have much to gain and little to lose by consulting an attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
Have You Been Injured by a Driver Making an Illegal U-Turn in Virginia?
An experienced car accident attorney can help you prove liability and seek fair compensation. Contact us online or call us at 540-341-0007 to schedule your free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.