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Failure to Use Turn Signals

Syracuse Lawyers for Car Accident Victims

In New York, drivers are required to signal prior to taking certain actions such as turning right or left. When a driver fails to use turn signals, she may cause an accident because someone driving behind her may misinterpret her intentions. If you were hurt because of another driver’s failure to use turn signals, call the Syracuse car accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Failure to Use Turn Signals

Turn signal violations in New York are moving violations that can result in a traffic citation. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (NY VTL) section 1163, nobody is supposed to turn a vehicle at an intersection unless she’s put the vehicle in a proper position on the road. Likewise, a driver should not turn the vehicle right or left to go onto a private road from a direct course or move right or left on a roadway unless the turn can be made with reasonable safety; no turn should be made without giving the proper signal. NYT VTL section 1164 mandates the use of hand and arm signals or turning lights when stopping or turning. NY VTL section 1165 specifies the method for giving hand and arm signals. A driver will signal an impending left turn by extending the hand and arm horizontally. To signal right turn, the driver will extend the hand and arm upward. When a driver is about to stop or slow down, he will extend the hand and arm downward.

Liability for Car Accidents

A driver’s failure to provide appropriate signals to others with whom she shares the road can result in a serious accident. New York is a no-fault state, which means that you must turn first to your own insurance after sustaining injuries in a car accident. However, you can bring suit in civil court if you meet the threshold for serious injuries.

If you are injured because of another driver’s failure to signal, you should call the police to the scene right away. The police’s citation of the other driver for failure to signal may be used to establish liability in a personal injury lawsuit for serious injuries.

Most personal injury lawsuits stemming from a car accident are brought under a theory of negligence. You’ll need to show by a preponderance of the evidence the other driver owed you a duty of reasonable care and departed from that duty, thereby actually and proximately causing your injuries. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer may argue that the driver’s failure to use turn signals constituted a breach of the duty to use reasonable care.

Comparative Negligence

Often, a driver defends against allegations of negligence by claiming the person who was injured was also negligent and should bear some responsibility for the accident. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, the jury will determine the damages and assign percentages of fault; your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the collision. For example, if both you and the other driver failed to use your turn signals and he crashes into you, causing you to sustain catastrophic injuries that give rise to $1 million in damages, and both of you are assigned 50% responsibility for the accident, you can only recover $500,000 from him.


If you are able to establish liability for serious injuries in civil court, you may be able to recover compensatory damages, which are intended to put you back in the position you would have been in had there been no accident. Compensatory damages can include an economic and noneconomic component. The damages for economic losses will cover your medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and replacement services incurred as a result of the accident. Your pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment fall are considered noneconomic losses.

Consult an Experienced Attorney in Syracuse

If you were injured due to a driver’s failure to use turn signals, you should talk to a seasoned lawyer at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano about your situation.  We represent car accident victims in Rochester, Syracuse, and other cities in Upstate New York, including in Cooperstown, Auburn, Oneida, Canandaigua, Binghamton, Lyons, Oswego, Watertown, Wampsville, Elmira, Herkimer, Ithaca, Lowville, and Utica. Please contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or by completing our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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