Can You Sue Another Driver for Failure to Use a Turn Signal in Massachusetts?

You may already be aware that you have the ability to sue a driver who negligently causes an accident that leaves you injured. However, you might not be sure about when another driver’s behavior constitutes negligence. One common cause of accidents in Massachusetts is a driver’s failure to use a turn signal.

This violation may be grounds for you to file your suit. If you can show that the other driver failed to use their turn signal, causing an accident that could have otherwise been avoided, you may obtain damages that can help you deal with the consequences. Your lawyer can help you assess what you stand to recover in your personal injury lawsuit for a car accident due to failure to use a turn signal.

If you think that you may have a viable claim, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan. Our seasoned Massachusetts car accident lawyers have seen it all, and we can use our experience to help you during your free initial case evaluation. Act now before it’s too late and call us at (617) 925-6407.

Failure to Use a Turn Signal in a Massachusetts Car Accident Injury Lawsuit

If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you have the ability to file a lawsuit against them in order to recover compensation for the harms you sustain due to their negligence. This includes situations where the other driver caused the accident because of their failure to use their turn signal.

Drivers in Massachusetts have a legal duty to act reasonably and obey traffic codes while behind the wheel. This duty applies to stopping at red lights and remaining within the speed limit. It also means that drivers must use their turn signals so that their intention to change lanes or turn is apparent to other drivers.

Successful car accident injury plaintiffs must show that the other driver acted negligently and that their negligence was the cause of the accident. A driver’s failure to use a turn signal to indicate a change in your traffic pattern is evidence of negligence that could be grounds for a lawsuit.

You must also show that the accident would not have occurred “but for” the negligent behavior. In other words, you can only recover if the other driver’s use of their turn signal would have prevented the accident. If not, your claim might fail the causation element of negligence and you could lose out on your compensation. If you have concerns, our Boston car accident lawyers can assess your case and provide you with all of your viable options.

Examples of How Failing to Use a Turn Signal Can Cause a Car Accident

For instance, let’s say that Driver A and Driver B are in the same lane, approaching an intersection with a green light. Driver A, in front of Driver B, intends to turn left, but doesn’t use their turn signal. Driver B expects Driver A to continue through the intersection and doesn’t slow down. When Driver A suddenly slows down to make the turn, Driver B crashes into Driver A’s car. This is the rare example of a rear-end collision where the driver in the front car is likely at fault for failing to tell Driver B what was happening.

However, Driver B might run into issues in their lawsuit if they were texting, speeding, or following too closely at the time of the accident. There, Driver A’s use of their turn signal would not have prevented the collision. Massachusetts uses a comparative negligence rule, which reduces or prevents recovery for personal injury lawsuits where the victim also shares some blame for causing the accident.

If Driver B claimed $50,000 in damages, but the court found that Driver B was 20% responsible for causing the accident, damages would be limited to $40,000, or 80% of the total. If the court were to find that Driver B was more than 50% at fault for causing the accident, then they would not be able to recover anything from their lawsuit.

Studies Suggest That Failure to Use Turn Signals Causes More Accidents Than Distracted Driving

A report published by the Society of Automotive Engineers found that failure to use a turn signal causes about one million car accidents each year in the United States. The SAE study examined 12,000 turning vehicles in the field. About 25% of drivers failed to use a turn signal when making a turn. More alarming, however, almost half the drivers observed failed to use a turn signal when changing lanes. The study estimates that about one to two million car crashes could be prevented each year if drivers properly used turn signals as required by law.

While distracted driving may be a high priority for legislators and government officials, the SAE study concludes that turn signal neglect actually causes more car accidents (1-2 million accidents due to turn signal neglect compared to 959,000 due to distracted driving). While turn signal neglect ultimately is a matter of driver error or, more accurately, driver laziness, the SAE study suggests that the implementation of Smart Turn Signals (STS) by auto manufacturers may be a solution. Drivers who fail to use a turn signal when changing lanes or making a turn in a vehicle equipped with STS would see a message appear in the vehicle’s control panel reminding the driver to use a turn signal next time. This proposed solution is similar to the warning light and bell that signals when a front seat driver or passenger are not using a seatbelt when the vehicle is moving.

What Can You Recover in a Massachusetts Car Accident Lawsuit for Failure to Use a Car Signal?

If you are considering filing a lawsuit for damages caused by another driver’s failure to use a turn signal, you are probably wondering what you stand to gain. A lawsuit may be your best opportunity to get justice after suffering significant physical, financial, and emotional harm.

Massachusetts breaks personal injury damages down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Understanding the difference will be critical to your financial recovery.

Economic Damages

Estimating your damages always starts with the direct financial consequences of your accident and injuries. Your lawsuit will earn you compensation based on the combined costs of your recovery, including hospital bills, physical therapy, surgery, and prescription medication. If your injuries force you to miss time at your job, you can also claim lost wages in economic damages. Additionally, you may recover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle after the accident.

Non-Economic Damages

Once you have an idea of what your actual financial harms might be, you can move on to non-economic damages. This refers to compensation for the more personal, non-tangible harms that a car accident injury victim might sustain. Some common conditions that result from car accidents, such as brain or spine injuries, may leave victims with discomfort or impairments that can impact how they live their day-to-day life. Calculating how much you could recover in noneconomic damages is easier when you let the seasoned Somerville car accident lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan help you.

Call Us About Your Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Turn Signal Car Accident in Massachusetts

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury in a car accident that occurred in Boston, please contact Cambridge car accident lawyer John Sheehan for a free, no-obligation case review. You can reach us at our offices by calling (617) 925-6407.