What Happens When a U-Turn Causes a Car Crash

Illinois U-turn law is clear. According to 625 ILCS 5/11-802, a driver may not turn a vehicle to proceed in the opposite direction:

  • At a curve, upon the approach to a hill, or near the crest of a grade, if the vehicle cannot be seen by a driver of a vehicle approaching from either direction within 500 feet.
  • Unless the driver can make the turn safely and without interfering with other traffic.

Yet, drivers who are in a hurry, who are listening to their GPS, or who otherwise don’t want to wait may make dangerous turns and cause significant accidents. If no accident occurs, then the driver who made the illegal U-turn may receive a ticket. However, if an accident occurs, then a personal injury lawsuit may be filed and the people who were hurt may recover compensation.

Types of U-Turn Accidents and Injuries

U-turns create confusion on the road and may result in serious collisions. For example, a negligent U-turn may cause a:

  • Head-on collision. As a car turns, it may temporarily be in the wrong lane. If the front ends of the vehicles crash, both drivers and their passengers are at risk of suffering severe injuries.
  • Side collision. Side collisions are among the most common type of U-turn crash. A driver from either direction may hit the side of the vehicle that is attempting the turn. These crashes, also known as T-bone accidents, can also cause severe injuries.
  • Pedestrian crash. A driver attempting a U-turn may not see a pedestrian on the side of the road or crossing the street. The pedestrian may suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries.
  • Multi-vehicle wreck. More than two vehicles may be involved in serious U-turn crashes, particularly if traffic comes from both directions while a driver is attempting the turn.
  • Different types of accidents. Sometimes other vehicles such as motorcycles or trucks are involved in U-turn wrecks, or vehicles collide in different ways, causing other kinds of accidents, such as rear-end wrecks.

These accidents may result in severe injuries, such as:

  • Brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can result in short-term or long-term complications that interfere with memory, cognition, emotions, behavior, and other critical skills.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Complete spinal cord injuries are permanent injuries that could result in paralysis and loss of feeling.
  • Broken bones. Any bone can break in a car crash, including bones in the torso, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, hips, legs, and feet.
  • Internal injuries. In severe crashes, you may suffer damages to internal organs such as your spleen or lungs.

Some people may not survive their accident injuries, and their relatives may pursue a wrongful death claim.

What to Do After a U-Turn Crash

Even if the other driver made an illegal turn that caused your crash, you still need an experienced Illinois car accident lawyer to help you get the recovery that you deserve. A full investigation can help protect your rights by:

  • Establishing liability. The driver who made the U-turn may have violated Illinois law and may be considered negligent. However, if you were speeding, distracted, or otherwise negligent, then you may bear some responsibility for the crash. Each driver’s percentage of fault may be contested. However, a determination as to the percentage of fault must be made before anyone can recover damages. If you were partly at fault for the crash, then your recovery may be reduced.
  • Determining the value of your injuries. Your recovery may include compensation for past and future healthcare costs, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages. Before you can recover these damages, you must prove their financial value to the insurance company or the court.

We invite you to learn more about your rights and possible recovery by contacting our experienced Illinois auto accident attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation. We would be happy to meet with you in our Bloomington, Gurnee, or Rockford office, in your home or hospital room, or by phone or video conference. Contact us today to set up your meeting and to protect your future.


Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.