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Who is at Fault in a Right Turn Accident in Michigan?

Steven Matz
December 15, 2023 | Car Accident

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding right of way laws in Michigan
  • How fault is determined in a right-turn accident in Michigan
  • Steps to take after being involved in a Michigan right-turn accident
  • Common scenarios in right turn accidents and understanding liability implications
  • Establishing fault in Michigan right-turn accidents
  • Potential compensation for right-turn accident victims
  • How an experienced and knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help

In Michigan, individuals involved in right-turn accidents often encounter difficulties in determining liability due to the intricate nature of state traffic laws and right-of-way regulations. The emotional stress following an auto accident is hard for most victims to deal with in a car accident situation due to the following:

  • Dealing with legal implications
  • Navigating insurance claims
  • Facing concerns about personal liability
  • Pressures from insurance companies
  • Legal disputes over liability and other issues

Over time the situation can escalate, especially if liability is not clear, creating ongoing stress of an unresolved case. This not only adds to the emotional burden of the accident but can also affect an accident victim’s daily life and well-being.

In such scenarios, the experience of a Michigan car accident attorney may be essential. Protect yourself by engaging the legal services of experienced attorneys who will:

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of your case
  • Gather evidence
  • Safeguard your rights
  • Strive for a fair and equitable resolution

Matz Injury Law is experienced in the specificities of Michigan traffic law and adept at handling the nuances of right-turn accident cases. Call the Matz Injury Law today at 1-866-22Not33 for a free consultation.

What Are the Right of Way Laws in Michigan?

Michigan’s lawmakers have established specific traffic laws, including right-of-way laws, that are essential for drivers to follow. This is for everyone’s safety.


When approaching an intersection, Michigan law requires drivers to yield the right-of-way when other vehicles or pedestrians are in view. Additionally, drivers must yield to vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians who are already at an intersection.

  • Left-turns. When making left-hand turns, you must yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians to give them right-of-way. You should always use your turn signal, stay in your corresponding lane (especially if more than one lane is designated as a left-turning lane), and watch carefully for any oncoming traffic.
  • U-turns. Michigan technically does permit drivers to make U-turns since it’s not specifically prohibited. However, individual cities, towns, and villages can choose to enforce a no-U-turn law. If allowed, drivers must heed safety rules when turning, not violate any other traffic laws, and yield right-of-way to other vehicles.
  • Right turns. As a right-turning driver at a red light or stop sign, you must stop before moving forward, then you must yield to any vehicles or pedestrians who are approaching. Always use your turn signal, stay in your lane, obey all signage, and make sure traffic is clear before making your right turn.


As you approach an area where there is a crosswalk, you must yield to pedestrians and cyclists crossing the street. Even if you have a green light, you must let the pedestrian cross first. Other rules to follow when giving pedestrians right-of-way include:

  • To children crossing school crosswalks
  • At turns, regardless of traffic lights or signs
  • When approaching a yellow light at an intersection
  • To pedestrians who enter a crosswalk before the signal has changed

Essentially, in most circumstances, you should yield to a pedestrian when you approach them on the street.


Drivers who want to merge onto a Michigan roadway must pay heed to safety. Vehicles already on the roadway have the right-of-way priority, so you must yield to them until you can safely enter the highway or road. You must yield even if a merge sign is present.

To see the full descriptions of various traffic scenarios and right-of-way, Michigan provides a clear, detailed document for drivers to educate themselves.

Driver adjusting headlights in their vehicle.

Key Factors of Determining Fault in a Right-Turn Accident in Michigan

The key factor for determining fault is who had the right of way in the traffic situation. Often, the car entering the new traffic pattern (the driver making the right turn) is the motorist at fault for not gauging the distance needed to enter safely.

However, not all instances are due to the driver turning right. Eyewitness statements may be important. A police report can also be used as they will likely mention who caused the accident, thus the fault. Additionally, exceptions are made in circumstances where the driver had a right turn light which was properly observed.

What Should You Do After Being Involved in a Michigan Right-Turn Accident?

Experiencing any car accident is a frightening experience. If you are involved in a Michigan right-turn accident, you will want to consider taking the following steps after the crash.

1. Call Emergency Services

If anyone appears hurt, immediately call 911 so that emergency responders can get to the scene as soon as possible. You also want to call the police because they will come look at the situation, speak to all parties involved, take witness statements, and write a police report. In some cases, filing a police report in a Michigan car accident is required. Either way, an official report will prove invaluable later on if you need to file a lawsuit.

2. Take Photos

As soon as you are able, take as many photographs of the accident scene as possible. Be sure to include pictures of all motor vehicles, any injuries, traffic lights, traffic signage, road conditions, and other relevant details.

3. Seek Medical Attention

Even if you do not feel pain, you want to make sure you see a medical provider to examine you to ensure you have no new injuries. Some injuries are “hidden” and do not manifest for days, weeks, or longer. Doctors have diagnostic tools to help identify any injuries and separate them from any pre-existing conditions if your claim is in question or your case goes to court.

4. Speak to an Attorney

Speaking with a Michigan car accident lawyer right away is an important step, especially if you are hurt. Your personal injury lawyer can intervene to make sure the insurance companies do not try to undermine your injuries or turn the blame on you. A car accident lawyer can provide a case review, investigate the crash, gather evidence, and evaluate your accident claim.

5. Contact the Insurance Company

Call your insurance company as soon as you can to report the right-turn accident to them. Contacting insurance protects your right to compensation. When you speak with the company, only provide facts and never accept or insinuate you might be to blame.

You do not know the full circumstances of the situation, and the other driver may be at fault for wrongs they have committed, including intoxication, exceeding speed limits, ignoring traffic signals, or texting on their phones. It is impossible to know who is at fault until an investigation is completed.

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Common Scenarios in Right Turn Accidents and Liability Implications

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36% of crashes occur at intersections. While right-turn accidents are, on average, less common than left-turn accidents, they do still happen. Common vehicle scenarios found at car crash sites include the following:

  • A vehicle attempts a wide right turn
  • Driver violates traffic signals, often leading to deadly T-bone accidents
  • Pedestrians with right-of-way are struck

Blind and rural intersections can be especially unsafe due to an inability to see surroundings. For instance, rural roadways are often dark, narrow, and winding with little to no lighting. Drivers who travel the roads frequently and are familiar with the layout may get careless and indifferent to hazards.

Michigan Age Demographic More at Risk of Causing Car Accidents

2022 Michigan Accident Causes By Age Group Statistics

According to Michigan’s 2022 accident statistics report, the risk for car accidents varies significantly across different age groups, with particular emphasis on the 25-34 age bracket. This demographic is notably at risk for causing both distracted and impaired driving incidents. Statistics reveal that individuals within this age range were involved in 7,126 distracted driving incidents and 5,586 alcohol- or drug-impaired accidents in 2022, figures that starkly surpass those of other age groups.

How to Establish Fault in Michigan Right-Turn Accidents

In most circumstances, the car at fault is making a turn without having right of way. There are a few instances of this not being the case, or they are partly at fault, including:

  • Speeding
  • Impaired driving
  • Distracted driving

You have legal rights and, by working with an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer, you can rest easy knowing you will have someone standing with you as you navigate the complexities of Michigan car accident law.

Helpful Evidence for Supporting a Right-Turn Accident Claim

The attorneys at Matz Injury Law will help prove who the at-fault driver is by obtaining:

  • Police report
  • Photos and video
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Medical records

Each of these pieces of evidence can be helpful in establishing fault after a right-turn accident in Michigan. The attorneys at Matz Injury Law will also deal with navigating the insurance claim on your behalf, so you can obtain compensation to pay mounting medical expenses and other costs associated with the car crash.

What Compensation Can I Receive After a Right-Turn Accident in Michigan?

In a right-turn accident in Michigan, you may be able to claim one or more types of compensation.

Economic Damages

Injury victims tend to amass huge medical bills, along with losing income due to being out of work during their recovery. As a victim, you are eligible to pursue compensation to cover expenses relating to your injury, including but not limited to:

  • Doctor’s bills
  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • Lost wages

Non-Economic Damages

After an injury, some victims suffer terrible losses that are difficult to put a dollar amount on, but cost them dearly. As a victim, you are eligible to pursue compensation to cover:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • And more

Wrongful Death Damages

Losing a loved one to any accident is devastating and no amount of money could ever replace this type of loss. In a case where a negligent driver led to your family member losing their life, you can pursue compensation to help cover the costs of:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of your loved one’s salary
  • Loss of domestic support
  • Loss of consortium

Why Michigan Drivers Choose Matz Injury Law After an Accident

Matz Injury Law is dedicated to helping injury victims obtain justice, along with the compensation they need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To date, our Michigan law firm has a long record of obtaining valuable settlements and providing sound legal advice to our clients.

Client Testimonials

“Many thanks to Jared and the staff at Matz [Injury] Law! You definitely helped ease a very stressful situation. I really didn’t have to do anything, you folks did it all, which I appreciated very much. It’s never a pleasant experience when someone runs a red light and you wind up with lifelong injuries…and I sure didn’t want to have to deal with the insurance company too. 2 thumbs up from me!” — Kim B.

“Steve Matz was there when I needed him. Nobody expects to be a victim of a car accident but when I found myself in that situation it was overwhelming. Steve made everything easy. Steve did not accept the insurance company’s first offer. He held out and got me a better settlement. Steve is very kind and professional.  I highly recommend Matz Injury Law.” — Sharon K.

Case Study: Examining Right-Turn Accident Fault Determinations

Matz Injury Law had a client who was a pedestrian crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. Someone turned right from the same direction she was walking and struck her. We had to prove our client had the green light and was within the crosswalk. The driver claimed my client ran out into the street, but we were able to prove that wasn’t the case.

We successfully navigated this injury case for our client. We interviewed witnesses and found an individual willing to testify that our client did not run out into the street. At that point, liability was clear, both parties had the same light, and cars always have to yield to pedestrians lawfully within a crosswalk.

Start Your Case Right With Matz Injury Law

If you or a loved one are suffering from an injury after a car accident or are coping with the tragedy of the wrongful death of a loved one, the Michigan personal injury attorneys at Matz Injury Law want to help. Our attorneys are fully versed in Michigan’s no-fault accident laws, no-fault insurance, PIP insurance, and all other aspects of insurance and injury law.

Our law firm represents clients throughout Michigan and has logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling across the lower and upper peninsulas. To date, we have earned more than $300 million for our clients. When you connect with us, you can rest assured that you will work with a Matz partner and receive personalized treatment.

Call us today for a free consultation at 1-866-22Not33 or fill out our online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Economic Damages in Michigan?

Economic Damages include medical bills, along with lost income due to being out of work during their recovery.

What Compensation Can I Receive After a Right-Turn Accident in Michigan?

In Michigan, you may be eligible for both economic and non-economic damages depending on the circumstances.

What Evidence is needed to establish fault for right-turn accidents in Michigan?

In most situations, the car that causes an accident is the one turning without the right of way. Gathering evidence such as a police report, photos and videos, eyewitness statements, and medical records can help support your claim.

What is considered non-economic damages in Michigan

Non-economic damages in Michigan include damages without monetary value, such as pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, mental and emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

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Written By Steven Matz

Founding Shareholder

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury.

The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 331/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 331/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients.

We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients. We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims. Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.