Where does fault lie in the following situation; and what tickets if any should be issued according to Illinois Motor Vehicle Code and why?

Please cite IL MVC code that applies.

A 3 lane (unmarked) road exists that traverses north/south. Side street parking is allowed on the north bound lane. Side street parking is not allowed on the south bound lane and is marked as such.

A vehicle traveling south is hugging their right curb as parked cars exist on the north bound lane. Traffic is moving in both directions with the center lane being used by north bound vehicles.

A vehicle traveling south signals to turn left while in the right portion of their lane and comes to a stop to allow a oncoming traffic to clear and allow a truck to exit the private drive that they wish to turn in. (There is insufficient space for the South bound vehicle and the truck to use the private drive at the same time.)

The south bound vehicle waits for the truck to finish its left turn and then proceed in front of the south bound vehicle. The south bound vehicle waits to ensure no additional north bound vehicles are coming (the truck obscures some of the road until it is further south) and then proceeds to make a left turn. At this time a 2nd vehicle traveling south comes up behind the waiting vehicle and proceeds to pass the vehicle assuming it's a parked car. The 1st vehicle proceeds to make a left turn and collides with the 2nd vehicle. The 2nd vehicle swerves more to the left in an attempt to avoid the accident; but the accident occurs anyway.

The 2nd vehicle states the 1st vehicles hazard lights were on and that they thought they were parked being that far to the right. They indicate as a stationary vehicle they have an obligation to ensure it is safe to proceed before pulling out into traffic.

The 1st vehicle states their turn signal was on; and had simply been waiting for a free and clear moment to turn left. They indicate they were not parked; and therefore had no obligation to check if it was clear behind them.

Again who is at fault or what %'s of fault should be applied and why?

For purposes of explanation's the 1st south bound vehicle can be called vehicle #1(red). The 2nd south bound vehicle can be called vehicle #2 (black). The truck can be called Vehicle #3 (blue).

Example of Road:enter image description here

At this time these are the two IL-MVC codes which seem to apply; but there very well may be others; and I'm not sure 801 applies at it seems to be for intersections which I'm unsure this is.

  • 2
    So are we going to leave unresolved whether in fact the turn signal or hazard lights were actually on?
    – D M
    Jul 23, 2018 at 16:41
  • As a side note, it appears that Illinois defines "intersection" to require two roadways or highways. "The junction of an alley with a street or highway does not constitute an intersection."
    – D M
    Jul 23, 2018 at 16:50
  • The hazard vs left turn signal is a "he said/she said" situation. No clear evidence one way or another. There's no solid evidence one way or another which is why %of fault may apply
    – xQbert
    Jul 23, 2018 at 16:55
  • That's fair, but it also might make the question more difficult to answer because it might depend on which side is found to be more credible.
    – D M
    Jul 23, 2018 at 17:04
  • 1
    True, but if every driveway was considered an intersection, that would make it almost impossible to pass anywhere in town. I suppose one could make an argument based on the literal definition if the driveway in fact had a curb, but I think that's clearly outside the intent of the law.
    – D M
    Jul 23, 2018 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


The question asks for analysis of a specific accident, and I'll leave that to other answers. This answer is focused on conceptual misunderstandings in the question itself.

Where does fault lie in the following situation; and what tickets if any should be issued according to Illinois Motor Vehicle Code and why?

Again who is at fault or what %'s of fault should be applied and why?

Lawsuits v. Traffic Citations

It is important to understand that whether tickets could be issued according to the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code, and legal fault in a lawsuit arising from an accident involving a motor vehicle are two very different legal concepts.

Also, there isn't necessarily only one person at fault or only one person who has violated the Motor Vehicle Code.

Motor Vehicle Code Violations

Violations of the Motor Vehicle Code are analyzed one by one in a criminal or quasi-criminal traffic court proceeding where the issue is whether a fine or other punishment should be imposed for violating it. One person being cited does not mean that another person can't be cited as well. These proceedings would be brought by the "People of the State of Illinois" against each defendant by a government official at government expense.

The government also has no legal obligation to bring charges for every violation that could in theory be legally supported by the facts.

The outcome of the traffic court proceedings would be inadmissible evidence in a lawsuit arising out of the accident. Usually the police report will also be inadmissible evidence unless the police officer who wrote it is brought into court to testify in support of it, or the parties stipulate otherwise.

Civil Liability In A Lawsuit

In a lawsuit, brought by the private lawyer for a person who has suffered damages from the accident (called a "plaintiff") must show that someone else was negligent, which means that they failed to act with reasonable care under the circumstances to prevent harm to others, that this caused their damages, and must prove their damages. Private lawyers for the defendants whom the Plaintiff seeks to assign fault to are usually paid for by the defendants' insurance companies and argue against their clients having liability.

A jury hears all of the evidence and assigns a percentage of fault to each party including the plaintiff. If the person injured is found by a jury to be at least 50% at fault, then there is no recovery. If the person injured is found to be less than 50% at fault, then the other parties at fault have legal liability to the plaintiff based upon their percentage of fault. See 735 ILCS 5/2-1116.

Negligence in a lawsuit doesn't necessarily have to involve a violation of the Motor Vehicle Code. A jury can find, for example, that someone was driving too fast for the conditions despite not violating the speed limit, or stopped too abruptly, even if those aren't Motor Vehicle Code violations and can find a percentage of fault based upon that conduct.

A violation of the Motor Vehicle Code does not automatically translate to fault either. Violations of the Motor Vehicle Code are a basis for a finding of fault, in what is called negligence per se, if the code section violated was intended to prevent the kind of accident that actually happened. Failure to use a turn signal, for example, will rarely constitute negligence per se in an accident where one car rear ends another car.

There are very simple cases where one can truly state with absolutely certainty that only one party is at fault for purposes of a negligence lawsuit.

For example, comparative fault is hard to argue in a case where a garbage truck hits and damages a building while the driver isn't paying attention and the building owner sues the garbage truck driver and his employer, although even then the issue of what damages should be awarded can be litigated. (Full disclosure: I litigated this case for a building owner until it had to be transferred to new counsel due to a merger of my law firm with another law firm that represented the other side in the case.)

But usually (at least in cases that go to trial) there is at least some colorable argument that more than one person involved failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances and if so, the jury must allocate fault percentages on a basis that it feels best allocates responsibility for the harm caused to a particular plaintiff by the accident as it sees fit in their good judgment using common sense. And, this allocation of percentage fault is almost impossible to overturn on appeal if there is any argument based upon any evidence introduced at trial that the people to whom fault were allocated indeed not totally without fault.

It is impossible to say, as a matter of law, what percentage of fault should be assigned to each at fault party when more than one party is potentially at fault. This is question purely for the finder of fact (usually a jury, but the judge in a bench trial).


According to this: a vehicle overtaking a second vehicle making a lawful left turn at an intersection is 100% at fault. But this example is Alaska, not Illinois law.

Okay the below doesn't seem to apply: http://bc-injury-law.com/blog/ovetaking-vehicle-striking-left-hand-turning-car-fully-fault-collision

This is a BC reference; again not IL.... https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/collisions/left-turn-surprise

If illinois law is like this I'd be at fault too. After signaling and waiting for at least 15 seconds for traffic to clear and coming to a complete stop, I find it hard to believe a passing vehicle has right of way.

IL-MVC states:

(625 ILCS 5/11-705) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-705) Sec. 11-705. Limitations on overtaking on the left. No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless authorized by the provisions of this Chapter and unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken. In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within 200 feet of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. (Source: P.A. 76-1586.)

  • In that example it was also a no passing zone, so the person passing was clearly in the wrong anyway.
    – D M
    Jul 23, 2018 at 16:43
  • True which is why It's not a good enough answer. I'm still looking and it seems based on verdict of other cases, that the vehicle making a left turn seems to be at fault even though they were being passed: however all the examples I've come across show the driver turning left had not signaled; were in a different state, passing in a no passing zone; and didn't have the extenuating circumstances of oncoming traffic with parked cars causing the vehicle turning left to ride more in the right of their lane.
    – xQbert
    Jul 23, 2018 at 16:58
  • I'm also still struggling with finding IL-MVC that applies to the left turning vehicle being hit from a passing vehicle. All situations seem to discuss oncoming traffic and I would agree that in those situations the left turning driver is likely at fault. in this passing situation I'm having trouble understanding why the 1st driver would have any fault as no code seems to be violated.
    – xQbert
    Jul 23, 2018 at 17:01
  • If you believe the person who said the turn signal was not on, then "No person may so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided" is violated.
    – D M
    Jul 23, 2018 at 17:04
  • 2
    The cited incident was in British Columbia, on a BC road to Alaska, called, naturally, the Alaska Highway. "54-40 or Fight" is past history...en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_boundary_dispute
    – DJohnM
    Jul 24, 2018 at 1:00

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