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Failure to Yield the Right of Way in Texas: Who Is At Fault?

  1. Failure to Yield the Right of Way in Texas: Who Is At Fault?
  2. Failure to Yield and Right of Way Laws in Texas
  3. What Should I Do After a Failure to Yield Accident?
  4. What Is the Punishment for Failing to Yield the Right of Way in Texas?
  5. How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
  6. Injured in a Failure to Yield Accident? Call Will Adams Law Firm for a Free Consultation

Failure to Yield the Right of Way in Texas: Who Is At Fault?

Intersections are dangerous places in Texas. In 2021, state authorities documented roughly 147,000 crashes involving failure to yield or violations involving traffic control devices (like stop lights, stop signs, and yield signs). In many of those crashes, innocent people were injured or killed.

Our experienced car accident lawyers have seen firsthand how a failure to yield crash can change your life forever. We support injured motorists and their families, and help hold at-fault drivers and companies accountable for their negligence.

Unfortunately, most people aren’t 100% sure what to do when they reach an intersection, roundabout, or traffic control device. In this article, we explain Texas’ rules of the road and personal injury laws apply after someone fails to yield the right of way.

Failure to Yield and Right of Way Laws in Texas

In Texas, failure to yield while turning left was the fifth most common accident cause in 2021, followed by failure to yield at a stop sign as the sixth. This is because many drivers roll through stop signs, speed through intersections, and make improper left turns.

Most of Texas’ rules of the road are outlined in the Texas Transportation Code. There are multiple statutes that deal with the flow of traffic and who has the right of way.

  • Texas Transportation Code §545.151: Vehicles approaching or entering an intersection
  • Texas Transportation Code §545.152: Vehicles turning left
  • Texas Transportation Code §545.153: Vehicles entering an intersection with a stop or yield sign
  • Texas Transportation Code §545.154: Vehicles entering or leaving a limited-access or controlled access highway
  • Texas Transportation Code §545.155: Vehicles entering a highway form a private road or driveway
  • Texas Transportation Code §545.156: Vehicles that are approached by an authorized emergency vehicle (like an ambulance or fire truck)

These rules (and others) outline exactly who has the right of way on Texas’ roads. However, we know that it can be hard to understand all the legalese in a statute. So, our failure to yield lawyers have broken down our state’s laws into plain language.

Common Right of Way Situations in Texas

The team at Will Adams Law Firm is committed to improving road safety. Here are some common right of way situations you might come across while behind the wheel:

  • Official traffic control devices: Traffic lights, yield signs, and other traffic signals assign preferential right of way in a certain direction. You must obey these signs. That means coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or yielding to oncoming traffic at a blinking yellow light. (And you should never enter an intersection—especially if you’re turning left—unless it is safe to do so.)
  • Four Way Stops: Whoever stopped first has the right of way at a four way stop. If two vehicles stop at the same time, the vehicle on the right has right of way.
  • Left Turns: The vehicle turning left must yield to vehicles that are already in the intersection or vehicles close enough to be an immediate hazard, like oncoming traffic.
  • Roundabouts: Drivers must yield to vehicles already in the roundabout before entering the roundabout themselves.
  • Yield Signs: A driver must slow their speed to what is reasonable under the current conditions when approaching a yield sign, then yield right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or close enough to be an immediate hazard.
  • Merging On-Ramps: When entering a highway or freeway, the merging driver must yield to the traffic on their left when entering from the on-ramp.
  • Crosswalks: Drivers must always yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
  • Special vehicles: Drivers must yield to emergency vehicles, stopped school buses and funeral processions.

Busy intersections can have many vehicles to pay attention to, and can be treacherous situations for even the most careful motorist. Add in a visual impairment, like a big truck, or hazardous weather conditions, and it’s no wonder that this is such a common type of accident.

What Should I Do After a Failure to Yield Accident?

If you or someone you love is involved in a failure to yield crash, you can take some simple steps to protect your family.

  1. Call 911: If someone was injured or a vehicle is damaged, you should immediately call 911. They will send a police officer and other first responders to the crash scene.
  2. Cooperate with the authority’s investigation: Make sure you give an accurate and honest explanation of what happened during the crash. The police officer will create a crash report, assign blame for the failure to yield crash—this will become important evidence if you need to file a personal injury claim.
  3. Document the crash scene: Take pictures, write down witnesses’ contact information, and do your best to memorialize the crash scene. Your lawyer will use this information to strengthen your injury claims and hold the at-fault parties accountable for their negligence.
  4. Seek medical treatment: If you feel any discomfort, get medical care. Sometimes, those minor “aches and pains” are early signs of a serious injury.
  5. Consult with a failure to yield attorney: A lawyer can help get justice and ensure that you recover fair compensation for your losses.

RELATED: Hurt in a Texas Car Accident? Here’s What To Do

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- B & ES – Dallas, TX

“Will, Chris & Sarah. K and I just want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us and our family. Throughout this process you have kept us informed and been patient with us (especially me) as we navigated through unchartered territory. Putting things in your hands allowed Karl and I to focus on him getting better.”

- SC – Katy, TX

“Hi Will, I just wanted to take a minute and let you and your wonderful staff know just how much we appreciate each one of you! All of you have been so great to us. Y’all have always answered any and all questions immediately and never left us hanging or wondering about anything. All of you have made this.”

- SB – Katy, TX

"Dear Sarah, you are the best legal assistant in the history of such creatures of legend and lore. (And Brian is in the tribe too) Do take a copy of this email to your next annual performance review... you have raised the bar. Thank you for all your help!"

- AM – Houston, TX

"I wanted to thank you both for a job well done and for an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. I appreciated your expertise and your thoroughness of preparation, as well as keeping me informed of the possible outcomes at each major point.Will, I think that Chris did an excellent job and wanted to bring that to your attention."

- MJ – Katy, TX

What Is the Punishment for Failing to Yield the Right of Way in Texas?

Someone who does not yield the right of way might face both civil and criminal sanctions. First, simply failing the yield the right of way is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas, and you might face fines, points on your license, and other criminal penalties.

But if your failure to yield causes injuries or a fatality, you could be facing much more severe penalties. In addition to criminal charges, the injured person and their family can file a personal injury lawsuit against you—demanding compensation for their financial and emotional losses.

Who Is Financially Responsible for Injuries After a Failure to Yield?

In most situations, the liability for a right of way accident belongs to the driver that failed to yield. The Texas Transportation Code notes that failing to yield the right of way at an intersection, especially one with a stop sign or yield sign, is “prima facie” evidence of negligence. (This means that judges and juries will assume that the person who ignored the official traffic control device is negligent unless that can prove otherwise.)

However, if you or someone you love was injured at an intersection, do not assume that the at-fault driver is the only responsible party.

A car accident lawyer can help you investigate your claim and might identify additional sources of insurance coverage:

  • Employers: If the at-fault driver was driving a commercial vehicle or was in the course of their employment, you might have a liability claim against their employer. Often, companies carry much larger insurance policies that individual Texans.
  • Property owners: Sometimes, poorly designed or obstructed driveways contribute to wrecks. Our team can help you determine whether a property owner is liable for your injuries.
  • PIP (Personal Injury Protection): Most drivers in Texas carry at least some level of this no-fault insurance. We can help you file a PIP claim with your own insurance company, demanding reimbursement of some of your medical bills and lost income.
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage: If the at-fault parties’ policies do not fully cover your losses, you might be able to file a claim with your own UM/UIM policy.

However, don’t expect the insurance companies to give up without a fight. It’s not uncommon for adjusters to blame innocent people for intersection crashes. They might cite Texas’ rules about comparative fault in an attempt to save money.

Under this rule, an insurer can reduce your settlement or jury award by your percentage of fault. So, if you were 30% responsible for the crash, the adjuster can reduce your compensation by 30%. And, if you hold at least 51% of the blame, the insurance company doesn’t have to pay you at all. However, don’t panic if the adjuster tries to unfairly shift blame to you—an experienced, aggressive lawyer can help you respond to their allegations and fight back.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Often, the at-fault driver will try to avoid taking responsibility when a collision occurs. The police report of the accident will carry weight with insurance companies, so if the police believe the other driver is not at fault, you may struggle to receive the right help with auto repairs, medical bills, and more.

When this happens, it is crucial to enlist the support of a car accident attorney. An experienced lawyer, like Will Adams, knows how to dig deep to find out what really happened. Our firm has the knowledge and skills to help hold the responsible driver accountable.

If you’ve been injured in a right of way car accident, your medical bills can be overwhelming. By taking your case to a car accident lawyer, you know that you have someone compassionate on your side, who will work hard to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

RELATED: Don’t Ignore Shoulder Pain After a Car Crash

Injured in a Failure to Yield Accident? Call Will Adams Law Firm for a Free Consultation

At Will Adams Law Firm, we know that the period of time following an accident can be extremely stressful. Injuries, loss of transportation, medical bills and disruption to your work schedule can take an enormous toll. Let us put in the hard work for you, so you can focus on your recovery.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your case, so you can find out your legal options risk-free. To get started, please call us at (281) 371-6345 or complete this brief form. Don’t wait another day to let Will Adams Law Firm put our experience to work for you.


Crash Contributing Factors.(2022, May 2). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2021/21.pdf

Tex. Trans. Code §545.151 (2003) Retrieved from https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

Tex. Trans. Code §545.152 (1995) Retrieved from https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

Tex. Trans. Code §545.153 (1995) Retrieved from https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

Tex. Trans. Code §545.154 (1995) Retrieved from https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

Tex. Trans. Code §545.155 (1995) Retrieved from https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

Tex. Trans. Code §545.156 (1995) Retrieved from https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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