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A driver in front of me made a u-turn in a residential neighborhood. I struck the car going about 20mi / hour. Who is at fault?

San Jose, CA |

This happened in a residential neighborhood of San Jose, CA. This was a two way street w/ no lines painted on the road. The driver in front of me pulled off to the right, out of traffic. I continue to drive less than 25 mi/hour. The driver then proceeds to make a u-turn without making sure that there is at least 200 feet of clear space, as indicated w/ the CA road law. As the driver crosses the right lane, in front of me, I struck passenger side.

Because the other driver did not wait for on-coming traffic to pass, I was less than 200ft. away, pulled out of traffic to the right cub, made a u-turn as I was passing, who is at fault?

- There were no injuries, so we did not call the police to file a report. - The was a third driver behind me. He said that driver #1 turned on his signal light, but this was after he had already pulled off to the side. - I was at least 1 -2 cars distance from car #1 before he pulled off to the right curb. That I did see, so I turned my vision back to the front not expecting him to come back into traffic at a perpendicular angle. - CA DMV: V C Section 22103 U Turn in Residence District "No person in a residence district shall make a U-turn when any other vehicle is approaching from either direction within 200 feet, except at an intersection when the approaching vehicle is controlled by an official traffic control device."

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Attorney answers 6


There aren't enough facts here to answer your question, but fault in California isn't an either / or thing. There is always the possibility that you and the other driver are both partially responsible for the accident.

If you were injured, consult with a personal injury attorney. If not, hand it over to your insurance company and let them deal with it.


Did the police come out to the scene of the accident or did you simply exchange information? From what you have indicated it looks like you were not liable, but it needs to be investigated very thoroughly. I would discuss this with a local area personal injury attorney. Most provide a free initial consultation. Were you or anyone else in your car injured? Best of luck.

Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


As previously stated, it is not an either/or.

Are there witnesses?

What did the other driver say?

There are Vehicle codes that will apply to this situation that each driver may be able to use to support who was at fault. It would be beneficial to talk tot he police and make a statement. Also, have witnesses make statements as well.

If you are injured, then consult with an attorney. Be wary of talking tot he insurance companies even your own as they often use recorded statements against you in determining liability.

There needs to be more facts to make a sufficient determination, but given what you provided, you seem to have a strong argument that you are less at fault than the other driver, but the other driver may also claim you are at fault.

The above is not intended to be legal advice, but rather analysis. The proffered advice is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.


Report it to your carrier to sort out


As others have said, more facts are necessary to fully evaluate fault here, but a few things can be said. There are a couple Vehicle Code sections you could point to in order to show the other driver was at fault. One requires that cars pulling into a travel lane to yield to cars already on the road. The other requires that a driver making a left turn or U-Turn yield to vehicles coming straight from the other direction. It appears the other driver violated both sections, but that doesn't give you a free pass to hit him if a careful, observant driver would have had enough time to stop and avoid the collision. If you could have stopped, you will be assigned at least partial fault for the accident. I am not sure where you are getting the 200 foot standard, but whatever the source I don't think it is relevant here.


Sounds like the other driver is at fault. Insurance cos. often work this out without a lot of stress. Turn it over and move on.

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