Failure-to-Yield Crashes and Who May Be Held Responsible

picture of Yield signFailure-to-yield incidents are one of the leading causes of serious car crashes in Tennessee and across the country. Drivers who fail to stop and yield the right of way to other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians violate state laws and increase the risk of a collision.

Learn more about crashes caused by a driver’s failure to yield. If you are injured because of a reckless driver, learn how our Knoxville-based auto accident lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation. Initial consultations are completely free and with no obligation to pursue a claim.

What is a Failure-to-Yield Crash?

Failure-to-yield crashes result when one or more drivers violate Tennessee’s right-of-way laws, causing a collision with another vehicle. Unlike most other types of crashes, the accident victim often drives into the vehicle of the at-fault driver who failed to yield the right of way.

These types of collisions can happen on any roadway, including local streets, busy interstates and even residential pedestrian crossings. Most commonly, failure-to-yield crashes happen when motorists are:

  • Attempting to turn right at a red light
  • Crossing through an intersection
  • Turning left at an intersection
  • Proceeding at a four-way stop
  • Driving through a designated crosswalk
  • Approaching an interstate entrance ramp

When Must Tennessee Drivers Yield the Right-of-Way?

Right-of-way laws exist to improve safety by clarifying how traffic should proceed, especially at intersections where traffic volume is high. Whether you drive, cycle or walk in Tennessee, you should know these laws well, including:

When to Stop for Pedestrians

Stopping for pedestrians on any road may seem obvious, yet reckless drivers often endanger the lives of others when they ignore traffic signals and right-of-way laws. Any time there is a pedestrian, child or a vision-impaired person in the road, you must stop – whether there is a designated crossing area or not. Once the pedestrian has fully cleared your lane, you may proceed with caution.

Right of Way at Intersections

Drivers are expected to always remain alert for potential hazards on the road. However, when you approach – or are already in - an intersection, you must yield the right of way as follows:

  • Turning left: Yield to oncoming traffic or other vehicles who are preparing to make a right turn.
  • In a roundabout: Yield the right of way to vehicles already proceeding through the circle.
  • Entering a roadway: When entering a roadway from a private or commercial driveway, alleyway, entrance ramp, parking lot, or a side road, drivers must yield to traffic already on the road.
  • Four-way stop: The first driver who reaches a four-way stop has the right of way. However, what happens if two vehicles get to a four-way intersection at the same time? In this situation, the vehicle entering from the right has the right of way.
  • Driver in the intersection: At an intersection, you must always yield to vehicles that are already in the intersection, regardless of who has the green light.
  • Turning right on red: Tennessee code TCA 55-8-110 a,[3] allows drivers to turn right on red – but only after they come to a full and complete stop and yield the right of way to other traffic in the intersection.

What About Emergency Vehicles?

In Tennessee, motorists must always yield to both emergency vehicles and public transit buses as follows:

  • If an emergency vehicle is displaying blue or red flashing lights and/or sounding its siren, you must always yield the right of way. If you are already in the intersection, do not stop. Instead, continue through the intersection until you have cleared it, then pull over to a safe location to allow the emergency vehicle to pass.
  • When a public transit bus has signaled that it is pulling away from a designated stop back into the roadway, you must yield the right of way. You do not, however, need to yield if the bus is still in the process of taking on passengers. Look for the buses signal, and if there is none, you may safely pass, but proceed with caution.

Liability for a Failure-to-Yield Crash

If another driver fails to yield, and causes a collision, he or she may be considered negligent per se. However, there are times when the plaintiff may also share liability.

Drivers are expected to maintain control of their vehicles, even if it means yielding the road when you have the right of way. If the insurance company believes you could have taken actions to help prevent the accident, you may get assessed some liability for the crash. However, in Tennessee, if you are not more than 50 percent liable for the crash, you may still be eligible to pursue at least partial damages from the other party. Having an attorney represent you can help to ensure you are not assessed more than your fair share of liability. 

Need Legal Help After a Failure-to-Yield Crash? Contact Our Firm Today

Were you injured because another driver failed to yield the road and caused a collision? If so, you may be eligible to pursue compensation to help cover your medical costs and other losses.

At Greg Coleman Law, we encourage you to take advantage of the free case review we offer. We are prepared to answer your questions about the legal process and determine whether you may have a valid claim. After this meeting, you are not obligated to hire our services. However, if you choose to move forward, you can do so without paying anything up front. We do not collect our fees until the case concludes – and only if we obtain compensation for you.

Experienced Lawyers. Millions Recovered. (865) 247-0080