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U-Turn Laws in Texas: Who’s at Fault After a Crash?

Written by Tom Crosley
Aug 24, 2022 Car Accidents, Personal Injury
  1. 1. When Are U-Turns Legal in Texas?
  2. 2. Drivers Are Often Responsible for Injuries They Cause While Making a U-Turn
  3. 3. Insurance Companies Often Dispute Fault After a U-Turn Accident
  4. 4. Crosley Law Gets Justice After U-Turn Crashes

There’s a lot of confusion about Texas’ U-turn laws. While U-turns are generally legal in Texas and a convenient way to quickly change direction, they’re also known for leading to numerous car accidents.

If you’ve been involved in a U-turn accident, it might not be immediately clear who is at fault. First, although the driver making the U-turn is usually liable for your injuries, they might try to blame you for the crash. Second, some cities in Texas have their own U-turn ordinances—which can affect your case.

Because of the complexities of U-turn laws and liability in Texas, it’s wise to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to present evidence and negotiate with insurance companies. This is true whether you were injured while making a U-turn or by someone else making a U-turn.  

This article will outline U-turn laws Texas observes and the realities of car accidents involving them. We’ll also explain how working with a lawyer can make a significant difference when it comes to determining liability in your personal injury case.    

Contrary to popular belief, most U-turns are legal in Texas. Unless a posted sign specifically states that U-turns are not allowed on a particular stretch of road, drivers may consider the maneuver.

To make a legal U-turn, a driver must:

  • Be in the far-left lane
  • Have a clear view of at least 500 feet in the direction of approaching traffic
  • Yield to oncoming traffic and comply with the traffic signal (if present)
  • Watch for drivers turning right on a red light if making a U-turn on a solid green light at an intersection
  • Watch for drivers turning right on a red light if making a U-turn on a green arrow at an intersection

Even when a driver follows all the laws regarding U-turns, they are uniquely dangerous and create a higher likelihood of a collision.

A U-turn is illegal if:

  • A posted sign prohibits it
  • It’s at a railroad crossing or fire station
  • The driver can see less than 500 feet
  • It’s a one-way street
  • The driver doesn’t wait for a large enough gap in traffic  

Keep in mind that, even when a driver follows all the laws regarding U-turns, they are uniquely dangerous and create a higher likelihood of a collision.

Drivers Are Often Responsible for Injuries They Cause While Making a U-Turn

Everyone behind a wheel is legally obligated to do all they can to keep everyone safe. When someone ignores the rules of the road and causes a car crash, they are financially responsible for the injuries they caused.

Just because something is legal doesn’t always make it a good idea on the roadways. All drivers have a duty of care to others on the road, and when their actions cause injuries, they might be liable.

For example, suppose a driver is on a Texas road where U-turns are allowed, and they can see 500 feet into oncoming traffic. A vehicle is coming the other way, and the turning driver makes a very fast U-turn to get ahead of them, assuming they have enough space to not get hit. However, the other car is closer than the U-turner thought, and the turning vehicle causes a collision.

Even though the driver was allowed to make a U-turn, they broke other rules of the road. If someone was injured in the U-turn crash, their personal injury lawyer would likely argue that the at-fault driver was speeding, did not keep a proper lookout while driving, and did not properly yield to oncoming traffic.

Both Drivers Have a Duty of Care, and a Lawyer Can Identify Precisely Who Caused the Wreck

In some cases, the driver who did not make a U-turn is at fault. Because all drivers must exercise a duty of care, every driver involved will likely face some level of investigation. Was the other driver texting? Were vehicles turning right doing so illegally? Was a safe U-turn made dangerous by other traffic speeding or going the wrong way?

A personal injury lawyer at Crosley Law can help you investigate your case, assess each party’s liability, and help you build a legal strategy that protects you and your loved ones.

Insurance Companies Often Dispute Fault After a U-Turn Accident

Because of the complexity of U-turn law and many U-turn accidents, who is at fault can be disputed by the involved parties and the insurance companies. Once again, this is when it’s best to work with a personal injury attorney.

For example, the drivers may disagree about whether the road was clear, or whether one of them may have been driving too fast. If the U-turn was at an intersection, the insurance company might dispute whether the U-turner was responsible for hitting a right-turner from the cross traffic.

Witnesses can certainly help clear this up, but not every car crash has witnesses. Even the police officer who arrives on the scene may not have a clear idea of who is at fault.

Our team can help you identify other pieces of evidence that can help you strengthen your claim and prove who was at fault. They might include surveillance video footage, GPS and dashcam data, mobile phone records, and insight from accident reconstruction experts.

Because of the complexity of U-turn law and many U-turn accidents, who is at fault can be disputed by the involved parties and the insurance companies. Once again, this is when it’s best to work with a personal injury attorney.

The Texas Doctrine of Modified Comparative Fault

Why would the insurance company engage in victim blaming? To save money and weaken your case.

Texas observes a legal doctrine called modified comparative fault. If you were partially responsible for the U-turn crash, the insurance company can reduce your compensation by your degree of fault. And if you were more than 50% to blame, you will not get anything.

So, the other party’s insurance company may try to put more than half of the blame on you, no matter who was making the U-turn, to avoid paying damages. An experienced car accident attorney is your best bet in these situations.

RELATED: Thorough Investigation Results in Truck Accident Settlement

Crosley Law Gets Justice After U-Turn Crashes

At Crosley Law, we pride ourselves on taking the serious and complex cases that other law firms avoid. After decades of experience with Texas laws and motor vehicle crashes, we have the knowledge and network it takes to secure the financial compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one have been injured because of a careless U-turn, or if you made a safe, legal U-turn and were injured by another driver who wants you to take the blame, it’s time to call Crosley Law. We begin every case with a free initial consultation, where we get to know you and your case and determine the best path forward.

To set up your case evaluation today, call (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000 or fill in the simple contact form on our website.   

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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