Does Failure to Yield Result in Liability?

According to reports, Jeremy Lawson, 19, of Alexander, AR was killed yesterday when a garbage truck failed to yield at an intersection. Lawson was reportedly driving a motorcycle on state highway 412 when a garbage truck turned in front of him causing Lawson and his passenger to collide with the truck.

By law, traffic entering or exiting a thoroughfare is required to yield to oncoming traffic. Several state statutes make it unlawful for any driver to enter or cross a highway without yielding the right-of-way to “all vehicles approaching on said highway.” See 47 O.S. Sec. 11-404. Application of these statutes will likely impose liability upon those drivers who cause an accident or injury by failing to yield to oncoming traffic, including accidents involving motorcycles driven upon a state highway.

Given the nature of accident, liability will likely fall not only upon the driver of the garbage truck, but upon the employer as well. If the employer is a private entity, liability for the accident will not depend upon application of the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act. However, if the driver was employed by a public service authority, public trust or other public entity, the OGTCA could apply to limit the scope of liability, and would cap the amount of recoverable damages at $125,000.00.

If you have questions about liability for failure to yield or motor vehicle accidents generally, contact the attorneys at Bryan & Terrill, 918-935-2777.