Typically, the motorist turning left at an intersection is responsible for a yellow light accident. Such a motorist has a legal obligation to yield to oncoming traffic and ensure the intersection is clear before turning left. Unfortunately, most cases are not this clear cut, and therefore, each yellow light accident is best evaluated on individual merit.
Determining the driver responsible for a yellow light accident can be challenging and confusing. Our lawyers at Morris Bart can provide you with the best legal representation and help you recover the damages you rightfully deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.
What Is a Yellow Light Accident?
A yellow light accident is a motor vehicle collision at an intersection when the traffic signal turns yellow. These accidents happen when you’re traveling straight through a junction during a yellow light, and another motorist turns left in front of you at the same time. That causes you to ram into their vehicle.
Ideally, motorists making a left turn at an intersection should yield to oncoming traffic. Therefore, if you’re running through an intersection and ram into a driver turning left during a yellow light, the other driver could be at fault. That’s because the oncoming traffic has the right of way during a yellow light.
The motorist making a left turn at an intersection during a yellow light must ensure it’s safe to do so.
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Proving Liability in a Yellow Light Accident Case
As a rule of thumb, the motorist turning left at an intersection is responsible for a yellow light accident. Before turning left at an intersection, you have a legal obligation to ensure the road is clear and that you can safely cross the intersection. Unfortunately, you’re likely to exercise due care while attempting to beat the red light, which amounts to distracted driving.
Depending on your state laws, more than one person might share the blame following a traffic accident. Comparative fault holds each driver liable for the accident to their own degree of fault. It means you may be held responsible for your injuries even when you’re the victim of the accident.
If you played a role in causing the accident, the damages you can recover are reduced by your degree of fault, which is expressed as a percentage. Having a seasoned personal injury attorney argue your case reduces the degree of fault. It can also clarify that you’re not to blame for the accident.
Most intersection accidents result from driver negligence. All motorists have a duty to drive safely. As a motorist, you should operate your car with caution, hold a valid license, and obey traffic laws.
Speeding, distracted driving, and running a light amount to a breach of duty of care.
Negligence Per Se
Under negligence per se, drivers are considered negligent because they violated the traffic laws. A yellow light accident amounts to a traffic law violation and is considered negligence per se. Such rules make it easy for victims of yellow light accidents to recover compensation.
Traditionally, you needed to establish all elements of negligence – duty, breach, causation, and damages – during a personal injury claim. If a driver violates the law, you need only prove:
- The driver broke the law
- Your injuries resulted from the traffic violation
- The law the defendant broke was designed to prevent such harm
Litigating a Yellow Light Accident Case
While the motorist attempting a left turn is often at fault, yellow light cases are reviewed on individual merit. Plenty of factors are often at play, leading the jury to shift the blame. Distracted driving, speeding, texting, talking on the phone, and other unsafe maneuvers count a great deal.
Your personal injury lawyer can help establish the cause of the yellow accident and ensure the offending driver is held accountable. Proving fault is at the heart of a successful personal injury claim. In states with comparative negligence, such as Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, your degree of fault determines the amount of damage you can recover.
In a contributory state like Mississippi, establishing fault determines your ability to claim damages. Carrying the slightest blame can nullify your eligibility for a personal injury claim. Working with a reputable personal injury attorney can help you present all the evidence and ensure your claim has merit.
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Three Types of Yellow Light Car Accidents You Can Sue for
Although yellow light collisions take different forms, they often have shared characteristics. One motorist will be going straight through while the other driver will be making a left turn. Both of you will be in a hurry to beat the red light, increasing the risk of a collision.
Such accidents are common at an intersection because motorists have varied opinions on yellow lights. Some motorists roll to a complete stop or slow down to make a right-hand turn when the signal turns yellow. Others try to speed up in an attempt to beat the red light and ram into the car ahead of them.
Speeding Up to Beat the Yellow Light
Universally, a yellow light signals drivers to slow down, but it only incentivizes some motorists to try and beat the red light. Motorists trying to beat the red light often collide with drivers who floor it immediately the light turns green. The dilemmas motorists face during a yellow light are well documented, but most states are yet to implement lasting solutions.
Some cities install left-turn signals to reduce yellow light accidents due to tricky left turns. Without a left turn signal, you must check the crosswalks and gauge oncoming traffic to determine if it’s safe to turn. Jaywalking pedestrians, the urge to beat the red light, and blind turns often result in yellow light accidents.
Get Help with Your Yellow Light Accident Case
A yellow light accident can result in a traumatic injury and lead you to incur thousands of dollars in medical bills. It’s crucial that you hold the parties responsible for the accident accountable for their actions.
At Morris Bart, we have 40 years of experience and have recovered more than a billion dollars for our clients. You can count on our sound legal representation to get you a fair settlement for your pain and suffering. Call us today for a free consultation.
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