Drivers who don’t yield to other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists when the law requires it have committed a traffic offense called failure to yield. West Virginia drivers are required to follow traffic laws.
If they don’t, they can be held liable for accidents resulting from their failure to do so. The right-of-way laws that cover yielding in traffic are meant to ensure safe and orderly conditions on the road.
West Virginia drivers need to yield right of way in the following situations.
- If you’re entering a public street or highway from a driveway, private road, or alley, yield to any vehicles approaching on the street or highway.
- If you reach an intersection with four-way stop signs at the same time as other driver(s), yield to the driver on the right.
- If you reach an intersection with no signs at the same time as other driver(s), yield to the driver on the right.
- If you are approaching an intersection with a yield sign, yield to any vehicle in the intersection, and to any traffic approaching.
- If you are making a left turn, yield to any oncoming traffic.
- If a pedestrian is crossing at a crosswalk, stop until they have safely crossed the street.
- If a pedestrian is walking on a sidewalk in front of a driveway or alley you’re driving out of, stop until they have passed.
- If a blind person (indicated by a cane or dog) is crossing at any intersection, stop until they have safely crossed the street.
- If an emergency vehicle (indicated by siren and lights) approaches behind you, pull over to the right side of the road and stop until they have gone by.
Bicyclists are expected to follow all the traffic rules that apply to vehicles, so all of the above rules apply to anyone who is riding a bicycle as well. Motorists need to yield to bicyclists just as they would to another vehicle.
Keep in mind, too, that you should yield the right-of-way if failure to do so could cause a collision or if it’s unsafe to do so. Drivers are expected to exercise good judgment for safety at all times, whether they clearly have the right of way or not. If it is your turn to go at a four-way intersection, for example, but another car is clearly pulling out, don’t jeopardize your safety by insisting on your right of way and risking a crash.
Under West Virginia law, any directions by a police officer overrides any sign or signal about right of way you may see. Police officers may know of an accident or other danger that requires overruling the normal traffic patterns. If a police officer is directing traffic or otherwise indicating that you need to take a certain action, follow those instructions.
Compensation for a Car Accident Caused by Failure to Yield
West Virginia law allows someone to bring a legal suit if they are in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, in order to be compensated for losses related to the accident. Financial costs, such as paying for medical bills, damage to your car, and lost wages from work due to injury, are termed special damages. Victims of a car accident caused by someone else can also bring a suit for general damages, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and more.
Our state operates under a modified comparative negligence rule. Comparative negligence means that a court can consider whether all parties in an accident played a role in it. The court can then allocate any compensation awarded to injured parties according to the comparative responsibility they have decided upon.
If the court determines that you may have been responsible for part of an accident that involves failure to yield, any award you win can be reduced by the percentage you were deemed to be responsible. In you are awarded damages for medical bills totaling $100,000, in other words, but the court viewed you as 20% responsible, the award will be reduced by 20%. You will receive $80,000, 20% less than $100,000.
If You or Loved One Has Been in a Car Accident in Charleston, WV
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident in Charleston or other towns in West Virginia caused by a driver’s failure to yield, contact an experienced car accident attorney. The lawyers at Johnstone & Gabhart have a collective 50 years of experience in fighting for justice for the victims of car accidents. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.