Failing to Stop at a Red Light

Many car accidents occur at traffic light controlled intersections when a motorist speeds up when the traffic light turns yellow or is too distracted to notice that the light has changed to red. These accidents can produce devastating injuries since the responsible driver is usually traveling either at a high rate of speed if running the light or at urban speeds of 35 to 40 miles per hour. In other cases, a driver may mistakenly assume that the car in front will go continue through a yellow light and rear-end the motorist.

Pedestrians and bicyclists are also at risk in red light accidents. When the light is green and lawful for them to proceed across an intersection, pedestrians or those on bicycles are easy targets for the racing motorist or one who is too busy texting or too intoxicated to notice that the traffic light has turned red for them.

In any case, a struck pedestrian or a T-bone collision, side-swipe, rear-end or head-on collision can be tragic for all parties and their families. As in many metropolitan areas, a car accident in Boston often involves the issue of who ran the red light.

Determining Fault in a Red Light Accident

In some cases, determining fault where one party has obviously run a red light can be difficult. If there are independent witnesses or if a red light camera mounted above the intersection, then liability may be determined but this is not always the case. As the injured victim, you and your car accident lawyer have the burden of proving that the other party was at least 50% at fault. This does not mean that where both parties claim the other was at fault that the liability is automatically 50-50.

Further, Massachusetts is a comparative negligence case so that if your degree of liability was more than 50%, you cannot collect any compensation.  In addition, any degree of comparative liability on your part will decrease your award by that percentage. For example, if your damages are $100,000 but you were 40% at fault, you only collect $60,000.

Injuries and Damages in a Red Light Accident

You can imagine the horror of seeing a car heading straight at you at a high rate of speed just as you thought you were safely entering an intersection on a green light. Even if you are side-swiped, you may lose control of your vehicle and strike another object. If you saw a yellow light come on as you approached an intersection and slowed down, chances are you did not see the car behind you suddenly accelerate, assuming you were going to proceed. Injuries from these accidents can include the following:

  • Back and neck strains from whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken limbs
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Paralysis
  • Emotional trauma
  • Permanent disfigurement

If your Boston car accident lawyer can demonstrate that the other party was at least 50% responsible, then you can collect the following damages:

  • Medical expenses, past and future
  • Lost earnings
  • Emotional trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Possible punitive damages

Your award for pain and suffering is based on the nature and extent of your injuries and the affect it has had on your daily life. Your car accident lawyer will examine your medical expenses, property damage, surgeries, recovery and recuperation, lost earning capacity, degree of permanent impairment, vocational training if necessary and inability to enjoy or to engage in the activities you did before the accident. There may also be other avenues of compensation for you such as the Family Medical Leave Act, where if you miss weeks or months of work, your job and benefits will be protected.

Consult Burns & Jain, Boston Car Accident Law Firm

Disputed liability in a red light car accident case can derail your hopes for receiving the compensation your accident injuries deserve. Consult with Burns & Jain, a personal injury attorney who has handled red light liability issues numerous times over his 25 plus years of legal practice. He has also obtained the most compensation available in many cases by using his resourcefulness and vast experience in demonstrating how an accident injury has affected his clients. Call them today for a free and confidential evaluation of your accident case at (617) 227-7423.