Whether late for work or just simply distracted, red-light runners are a problem in the North Texas area.
Dallas ranks in the top ten cities for red-light fatalities, and the Texas Department of Transportation ranks Carrollton as one of the top twenty dangerous cities for drivers.
When innocent victims are hit by these reckless drivers, they often go through waves of shock. First, from the unexpected collision. Next, from the mounting medical and car repair bills.
Fortunately, if you’ve been hit by a red-light runner, a Carrollton car accident lawyer can help you recoup costs associated with the accident. In this article, we’ll explain Texas’ red light laws and the necessary steps to bring a reckless driver to justice.
An Overview of Texas Red Light Laws
Texas traffic law is clear. A red light means stop. It doesn’t mean “stop for a few seconds,” or “slow down a bit if you’re turning right.” You must come to a complete stop.
To be more specific, the Texas Transportation Code states the following:
- Drivers approaching a red light must come to a complete stop prior to the nearest crosswalk, reaching a clearly marked stop line, or entering the intersection itself.
- The driver cannot proceed until the light has turned green and the intersection is clear of pedestrians and other lawful traffic before traveling through it.
- Even if they’re making a right turn on red where that is permissible, the driver must first stop and ensure that it is safe to turn.
If you’ve been hit by a red-light runner, any Carrollton car accident lawyer will tell you that the law is likely on your side. However, you’ll still need to establish negligence if you plan to bring forth a claim or lawsuit (more on that in the sections below).
Negligence and Red Light Runners
Whether you’re filing a claim against their insurance or taking them to court, all car accident injury claims need to prove one thing: negligence.
Negligence is reckless or careless conduct that ends up causing harm to another person. A driver blowing through a red light is a good example of negligent behavior.
Texas is an “at-ault” state, which means the person who caused the crash will have to pay for the losses of the person harmed by their actions. If you’re the victim of a negligent driver, a Carrollton car accident lawyer can help you receive compensation for losses like:
- Car repair bills
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
Liability Can Sometimes Be Shared (Even If You Had the Right of Way)
In most cases, a driver running a red light is a good indicator that driver was negligent. However; sometimes liability is a two-way street and the driver who runs the red light isn’t always 100% responsible for the damages in the eyes of some greedy insurance companies.
But, drivers who have a green light still have a duty of care to check for any oncoming traffic (lawful, or otherwise) before proceeding through an intersection. Failure to do so can result in both parties being found negligent and the jury assigning liability between the two.
For example, say you are making a lawful left turn and a driver speeding through a red light hits you. However, evidence proves you were looking at your phone during the time of the accident, causing you not to see the red light runner. You might be found 10% at fault for being distracted, and the other driver 90% at fault for violating a traffic law.
You can expect the at-fault driver’s insurance company to try to shift some of the blame onto you during compensation negotiations. For this reason, it’s crucial to have an experienced Carrollton car accident lawyer in your corner who is knowledgeable about proving liability and negotiating with insurance companies.
Proving Liability and Recovering Compensation
If the other driver is at fault—and that’s highly probable if they ran a red light—their insurance company will likely handle any claim that arises from the accident.
They may try to argue that you should have seen the car coming and try to assign some of the blame to you. Your ability to counter their arguments and prove that the other driver was at fault can be the difference between getting an adequate payout to cover your losses and getting nothing.
Let’s take a closer look at what you have to prove to an insurance representative or jury:
- The law required the other driver to be careful (the law requires drivers to stop at red lights, so this one is a given).
- The other driver wasn’t careful (failing to stop at a red light is a clear example of violating a duty of care).
- This violation caused the accident and your injuries.
- You suffered provable losses (like lost income, vehicle damage, and medical bills).
In most instances—including red light crashes that result in significant injury, or where liability may be in question—having a Carrollton car accident lawyer on your side is crucial to getting the best compensation possible.
Texas lawmakers recently outlawed the use of red-light cameras, which can make gathering evidence even more difficult. And if you forget to gather witness information after the accident, it can turn into a “he said, she said” situation.
An experienced lawyer will conduct a detailed investigation, gathering witness testimonies, photographic and video footage, and other supporting evidence to bolster your claim.
Hit By a Red Light Runner? Call a Carrollton Car Accident Lawyer For Help
Everybody knows a red light means stop. Unfortunately, when drivers ignore the lights, the consequences are often devastating.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a red-light runner, the lawyers at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare are here to help. Our attorneys will gather crucial evidence and negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company so that you can receive the compensation you’re entitled to. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.