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Assessing Fault for a Red-Light Car Crash in Minnesota

red light on utility pole over intersectionSome of the worst car crashes happen when one or more drivers completely ignore traffic laws, road signs or traffic signals. For example, red-light car crashes often result in severe injuries and even death.

There are various reasons why these crashes are often so dangerous. We trust other drivers to stop at red lights, so much so we often do not check for traffic to the left or right when going through an intersection on a green light. Think about slowing for every green light to make sure other drivers are stopping for their red lights.  When a crash is unexpected, there is little or no time to slow down or try to maneuver away from danger.

The sides of many vehicles are not built to withstand a collision the way the front and rear are built to withstand collisions. That is why you often hear about T-bone crashes resulting in devastating injuries.

Below, we discuss fault for red-light crashes and why this issue could be complicated. If you were injured by another driver running a red light and have questions about seeking compensation, give us a call today. We have the resources and proven track record to help you determine legal options.

Why do Red-Light Crashes Happen?

Red-light crashes are incredibly dangerous. In 2019 alone, according to statistics collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 846 people died and 143,000 people were injured in red-light crashes.

Red-light crashes involve drivers running red lights and drivers making right turns on red lights. For example, some red-light crashes happen when a driver approaches an intersection with a traffic light and tries to get through a yellow light that is about to turn red. In this common scenario, if the light changes to red before the driver gets through the intersection, and the other traffic gets a green light, the red-light runner could then get hit by an oncoming car.

Drivers who are turning right on red need to be cautious and make sure they have enough time to safely make the turn without obstructing oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, drivers routinely pull out into traffic when it is not safe to do so. This may result in a rear-end collision at high speed, which can cause serious damage to both vehicles and significant injuries to those involved.

There are also red-light crashes that occur when one driver attempts to turn left. This can happen when the driver in the left-turn lane ignores a red arrow or a red light and collides with a vehicle heading in the opposite direction.

Another example of a red-light crash is when a driver slams on the brakes after a light turns yellow. The driver thinks he or she cannot reach the intersection and get through it safely before the light changes so he or she hits the brakes. This results in a rear-end crash because the trailing driver cannot stop in time.

Who is Liable for a Red-Light Collision?

Red-light crashes are usually the result of one or more drivers running a red light and impeding another driver’s right of way. If you violate another driver’s right of way, you are going to be found at fault for the crash.

However, there could be situations when fault is shared between the driver who ran the red light and the other driver or drivers involved in the crash. If another driver also broke traffic laws and this contributed to the crash, that driver may bear partial fault.

For example, if you made a right turn and it looked like traffic was clear, but another driver changed lanes as you were turning and rear-ended you, the other driver should be at least partially to blame. In some situations, that other driver may be 100 percent at fault. It depends on various factors involved in each situation.

Distracted drivers could also be found at fault for crashing into a driver who was turning right. It could be argued the distracted driver would have been able to avoid a collision if he or she was not distracted. However, the driver who was turning right may also be found at fault for violating that driver’s right of way.

Pedestrians and bicyclists could also be found partially liable if they go out into an intersection and drivers do not have enough time to avoid a collision. Pedestrians and bicyclists still need to make sure it is safe to proceed. Under state law, it is illegal to step off a curb and walk into a vehicle’s path. This could happen when a driver is turning right at a red light.

In a rear-end crash approaching an intersection where the light was yellow and the lead driver chose to stop, he or she could be found partially at fault, depending on how far he or she was from the intersection and how much time there was before the light would turn red. However, the trailing driver may have been tailgating, which could make him or her liable for the crash.

Injured in a Collision? Call to Discuss a Claim

For decades, the licensed Minneapolis car crash attorneys at TSR Injury Law have been assisting crash victims with the legal process. We have obtained millions on behalf of our clients who were injured because of the negligence of others.

An initial consultation with one of our attorneys is free and you are not obligated to hire us after this meeting. If you hire our firm, there are no upfront fees to pay, and we also do not collect any fees while working on your case.

Learn more by giving us a call today: (612) TSR-TIME.

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