Failure To Yield Accidents

Drivers who fail to yield as required by law often hit other vehicles, pedestrians or bicyclists, causing severe physical injuries.

It’s true that motorists often have to make snap-second judgments about when to yield and who has the right-of-way. But as Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm, know well, Florida law outlines instances in which drivers have the right-of-way and when they must yield to other traffic.

For example, F.S. 316.123 outlines the procedure for vehicles entering a stop or yield intersection. It allows:

  • Right-of-way is indicated by stop signs or yield signs as authorized.
  • At a four-way stop, the driver of the first vehicle to stop at the intersection is the first one to proceed.
  • Every driver approaching a stop sign has to stop at the clearly-marked stop line (unless directed to proceed by police or traffic control signal) before entering the crosswalk. After stopping, driver yields right-of-way to anyone already proceeding through the intersection.
  • If approaching a yield sign, a driver must slow down to a “reasonable” speed considering the existing conditions and stop if necessary before proceeding.

Another Florida statute that addresses how drivers and pedestrians must interact is F.S. 316.130, which states:

  • Pedestrians must obey all traffic signal controls as provided;
  • Walk on sidewalks when provided (rather than on the side of the road);
  • If no sidewalks, pedestrians must walk only on the left shoulder of the road, facing traffic in the opposite direction;
  • Drivers at intersections with traffic control signals have to stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian with a permitted signal time to cross the road;
  • When there are no traffic signals indicating otherwise, motor vehicle drivers are directed to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk;
  • Vehicle drivers are not allowed to overtake and pass a vehicle stopped at an unmarked intersection when that vehicle is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross.

Other statutes require vehicles in a roundabout intersection to yield the right-of-way to vehicles already circulating. Drivers in a T-intersection must yield to those already in the road.

When a motorist does not properly yield the right-of-way and an accident results with injuries, that driver and his insurer may be held responsible to cover damages for those injuries.

Failure-to-Yield Causes Many Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 3,100 deadly wrecks nationally are attributable to failure to obey traffic signals.

The most common kinds of failure-to-yield collisions in Florida include:

  • Failure to yield when merging.
  • Failure to yield at a red light.
  • Failure to yield when making a left turn.
  • Failure to yield when moving from a parking lot, parking space or private driveway.
  • Failure to yield to flashing traffic signals.
  • Failure to yield (or move over) for an emergency vehicle.
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian or bicyclist.
  • Failure to yield at a crosswalk.

In failure-to-yield crashes, at least one driver is almost always negligent, even when there were outside conditions (i.e., inclement weather, overgrown shrubs, etc.). These accidents are largely preventable.

In Florida alone, motorist who don’t yield the right-of-way and fail to stop at red lights or stop signs caused more than 400 fatal accidents in 2011. The following year, the Florida Department of Transportation issued 78,000 citations for failure-to-yield.

These citations are a non-criminal infraction, and will not result in any significant fine or jail time. This gives violators little incentive to amend their driving behaviors, even when these actions have time and again proven deadly.

Victims of these actions are usually entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. Our experienced legal team is dedicated to fighting to secure those for our clients.

Proving a Claim

There are some crash cases where the question of fault is fairly straightforward. An example might be a driver who fails to stop for a red light, enters an intersection and T-bones another vehicle.

But when there are no independent witnesses and conflicting accounts from drivers involved, the facts can quickly get muddied.

Even if an at-fault driver concedes some liability, he or she may contend the victim shared a significant portion of the blame. This is called comparative negligence. It won’t bar a claim completely, but it could almost certainly undoubtedly reduce the total damage awards.

Overcoming these challenges requires the involvement of a knowledgeable injury lawyer with the necessary resources and experience to conduct a thorough, pre-trial investigation.

Never assume that just because a responding police officer assigns blame to one party or another that this will be the final word on the matter. Often, these cases do go to trial and accident reconstructionist expert witnesses are called to help sort through all the details.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a failure-to-yield accident in South Florida, call us today.

Contact Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer Richard Ansara at The Ansara Law Firm, by calling (954) 761-4011 for a free consultation.