Failure To Signal Automobile Accidents In Washington, D.C.

By Peter DePaolis

One of the biggest reasons that automobile accidents happen is the failure to use a turn signal. Unfortunately, this is fairly common in Washington, D.C. Nonetheless, the consequences of not signaling can be deadly, and will strongly point to negligence on the part of the responsible driver. When someone else’s irresponsible actions cause harm to you, the personal injury attorneys of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP can fight for the compensation you deserve.

Instances Where Signaling Is Required

Traffic laws in Washington require all drivers to signal to others before turning. That includes:

  • Turning right or left at an intersection
  • Turning to enter a private road or driveway
  • Changing lanes
  • Overtaking a vehicle
  • Exiting a roundabout

Drivers around you need to know what you are doing so they can plan accordingly. For example, a driver behind you needs a signal to know you are about to slow down to turn. The signal should be given long enough to provide reasonable notice of your intention to turn, change lanes, or make other driving maneuvers.

How to Prove Fault in a D.C. Car Accident

Although most drivers understand these reasons for needing to use a signal, many fail to observe this fundamental rule of the road. However, the fact that a driver failed to use a signal before causing an accident could have a significant impact on a subsequent personal injury lawsuit. That’s because these claims are based on the concept of negligence, which means failure to act in a reasonable manner under the circumstances. To prove another driver was legally at fault for causing an automobile accident in Washington, D.C., the victim must establish the following elements:

  • Duty. The driver owed a duty of care to others on the road (in other words, a duty to drive safely).
  • Breach. This means the at-fault driver breached the above duty because of an act or omission pointing to negligence.
  • Causation. The victim must show that the breach caused him or her some type of injury.
  • Damages. This means that as a result of the injuries, the victim suffered recoverable damages.

In an automobile accident case, the question of breach is typically the most contested issue. Failure to use a turn signal is such a breach, and could therefore support the victim’s accident claim.

Few people give much thought to something like a driver’s failure to use a turn signal, especially since it’s so common. However, if you’ve been in an automobile accident, it’s important to notify your lawyer about each and every detail you can recall. Since the law requires drivers to use a turn signal, your lawyer needs to know if the at-fault driver failed to use it.

But how can you prove the other driver didn’t use a turn signal? Depending on the circumstances in your case, you may have several options. First, your own testimony about the events leading up to the accident could prove useful. The same goes for the details you provide law enforcement in a police report following the accident. Also, if witnesses observed the at-fault driver changing lanes or turning without a signal, that may also help. Finally, there may have even been surveillance or dashcam footage from a nearby business or another driver close to the accident.

Turn to Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP Today

A knowledgeable Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney can discuss how to go about proving the at-fault driver’s liability. Your attorney should thoroughly investigate all of the evidence surrounding the accident, and then get to work aggressively pursuing the compensation you need to recover.

That’s the level of service you can expect from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP. If you or a loved one were hurt because a driver failed to use a turn signal, reach out to us today to get started on your case.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.