It’s no secret that plenty of car accidents occur at intersections controlled by traffic lights. And that some drivers speed up when the light turns yellow to avoid stopping. Some are simply too distracted to realize that the light has already turned red!
And yet another common scenario is when the driver traveling behind thinks that the driver in front will go through the light, and ends-up hitting that car when it stops. Such accidents can result in devastating injuries since the driver who runs a light is likely traveling at a high speed.
It is not just other vehicle drivers who are at risk for red light accidents. Pedestrians and bicyclists are also at risk. When the light turns green, they often believe it is safe and lawful for them to proceed across the intersection. If a driver fails to stop at the light like they are supposed to, the result can be deadly.
Regardless of who the victim is, an accident at an intersection can be a tragic one.
Determining Fault in a Red-Light Accident
In some cases, it may seem obvious who is at fault for an accident. Perhaps one party obviously ran the red light, so that party should be at fault, right? Proving who is at fault can be more difficult than you think. If there were independent witnesses to the accident or a red-light camera at the intersection, it may be easier to determine, unfortunately that isn’t always the case. The injured party will have the burden of proof that the other party was at fault for the accident.
The state of Massachusetts has a comparative negligence law that states if your degree of liability was over 50%, then you are not allowed to collect compensation for your damages. In addition, the degree of liability that you are found negligent will decrease your compensation by that percentage. For example, if your damages are $100,000, but you are found 30% at fault, you will only collect $70,000.
Damages in a Red-Light Accident
Just imagine proceeding into an intersection where you have a green light and seeing a car heading straight toward you at a high rate of speed. Even if you are able to partially avoid the vehicle, you may still sustain significant injuries. If your accident attorney can prove that the other party was at least 50% liable for the accident, you may be able to collect damages including past and future medical costs, loss of wages, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and possibly even punitive damages.
Get the Legal Representation You Deserve
Determining liability in a red-light accident can be difficult and time consuming and Massachusetts has complex tort and negligence laws. After a car accident, you need to be able to focus on your recovery. That is where an experienced car accident attorney comes in. Your attorney can review your claim and determine what legal options are available to you.