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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 27621
Experience:  Lawyer. Former judicial law clerk. Worked for District Attorney's Office in Traffic Court.
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Yesterday, I came to a stop sign on a street that ended at

Customer Question

Yesterday, I came to a stop sign on a street that ended at the cross street, with intention to turn right. Cross traffic had no stops. I looked left to see if there was oncoming traffic, and seeing none, proceeded to turn right into the right lane. Immediately on turning right I struck/was struck by a car going from my right to left that was intending to turn left on the street I was exiting. I was ticketed for "disobeyed stop sign" and the other person has now filed a claim with my insurance company. What I think really happened is that he, looking further down the street, saw oncoming traffic he wanted to "beat" and began his left turn quickly, cutting the corner and cutting across what was to be my lane as I turned right. Looking down the street, he didn't see me starting my turn and we collided. Do you agree with my ticket, the charge on my ticket, and am I responsible for traffic coming from the other direction and violating what will be my lane?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

A person who stops at a stop sign is required to look both ways before proceeding (because there could be a pedestrian crossing or a disabled vehicle directly in your path, and accidents can happen). The disobeyed stop sign ticket, sounds wrong, but when you look at the statute, it makes sense. What the law says is "After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another roadway or which is approaching so closely on the roadway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection, but said driver having so yielded may proceed at such time as a safe interval occurs." 625 ILCS 5/11-904. The fact that you hit the other car suggests that he was close enough to present an immediate hazard and that you should have waited. So, the ticket unfortunately is correct. You're not "responsible" for the other drive, but you have an obligation to wait for the danger to pass before proceeding through the intersection.

Now, in a normal intersection, there's no way that a car making an appropriate left turn into a side street is going to collide with a car making an appropriate right turn FROM that side street. So it does sound as if the other drive must have been driving on the wrong side of the road or otherwise making an unsafe turn such that he is at least partially responsible for causing the accident. There's a good chance the insurance companies will split liability 50/50, but if they don't, you have the ability to sue the other driver for the cost of fixing your car.

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Customer: replied 10 months ago.
just for conversation sake, let's say I looked to my left back to my right and to my left again as I should do, and then proceed.. Let's imagine this gentleman was from England and was driving down the wrong side of the road. We collide. That's my fault?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I don't know for sure that I did not look to my right but he was moving so fast it would not have made a difference.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

If he was driving on the wrong side of the road, approaching you, and you turned into the lane, anyway, yes, the accident would be partially your fault. This is because you should've seen him, realized the danger from proceeding, and waited until he passed.

Now, if he continues to drive on the wrong side of the road and plows into you while you're stopped at the stop sign, that is 100% his fault. But as soon as you start moving, too, since the statute says you have to wait until it's safe to proceed, you're partially at fault.