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What to Do When Someone Runs a Red Light and Hits You

WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE RUNS A RED LIGHT AND HITS YOU

Stop signs and lights were created to enable an orderly traffic flow through our cities. They’re designed to keep people safe when everybody correctly obeys them.

One would think that following red-light rules would be easy, but sadly, that’s not the case. In 2021, 1,109 people died and 127,000 were injured in red-light running crashes.

What happens if you’re in a car accident caused by a red-light runner? Are you eligible for compensation? Can you prove that the other driver ran a red light on purpose? Keep reading and learn what to do when someone runs a red light and hits you.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RUN A RED LIGHT?

While this question may seem simple, it’s essential to clearly understand legal procedures. Both sides of a case will try to alter this definition to win their case.

According to Texas law, any driver facing a steady red light must stop at the marked stop line. If there isn’t a stop line, they must stop before the crosswalk. A driver facing a red light must stay in place until the light changes.

There are exceptions to this, including:

● Turning right when it’s safe to do so and there is no sign forbidding it

● Turning left when it’s safe to do so when intersectional streets are one-way streets

Any other action during a red light is considered running a red light and is illegal.

COMMON REASONS DRIVERS RUN RED LIGHTS

You might wonder why people run red lights so often if the law is so easy to understand. There are many reasons people choose to run red lights.

1. DISTRACTION

The most common reason people run red lights is because they aren’t paying attention. While using their phone, radio, or GPS, they don’t realize the light has changed.

2. BEING LATE

Many people will run a red light when they’re late for something, feeling that saving a few extra minutes is worth the risk of injury or death.

3. IMPAIRMENT

When a driver is impaired, whether through alcohol, drugs, or even fatigue, they make all kinds of bad decisions—including running red lights.

4. FAILING TO YIELD

If drivers choose not to yield appropriately in an intersection, they can run a red light. Failing to yield mainly occurs when a driver doesn’t stop before turning right.

5. SPEEDING

When drivers are speeding, they don’t have time to stop, so they go through the intersection despite the red light.

6. TRYING TO “BEAT” A YELLOW LIGHT

Some drivers see a yellow light and don’t see it as “slow down to a stop.” They see it as a challenge and continue driving through an intersection even if the yellow turns red.

WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE RUNS A RED LIGHT AND HITS YOU

So, you’ve been in a car accident due to someone running a red light. What now? Here are the steps you should take—if you are physically able.

GET TO SAFETY

The first thing you need to do is get to safety. If your car is operational, move it to the side of the road. If your vehicle isn’t working, leave it and get to a safe spot.

LOOK FOR INJURIES

When looking for injuries, look at yourself and those around you. This is good information to have when calling emergency services, and you may discover people need help getting to safety.

CALL EMERGENCY SERVICES

Next, call 911 to bring police and medical professionals to the scene. The police will gather evidence of the accident scene while medical personnel care for the injured.

Cooperate with the police and tell them precisely what happened. The police report should reflect that the other party ran a red light and struck your vehicle, and you couldn’t avoid an impact.

GET MEDICAL ATTENTION

If you or anyone in your vehicle is in pain, you must seek medical attention immediately. Even if you and everyone involved feel fine, you should still get medical attention for two reasons.

First, some injuries aren’t apparent and require a professional eye to detect. The second reason is that not getting medical care can be used against you in negotiations or trials. The other party’s lawyer or insurance company can claim you were okay after the accident and are only now claiming injuries to get money.

TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING

You must gather as much evidence as possible at the scene to help strengthen your case later on. While the police are also gathering evidence, it’s best to do your own collecting to be on the safe side.

An easy way to do this is to take pictures of everything—and we mean everything! Different helpful photos include images of:

● Any exterior damage to your car

● Any interior damage to your car

● Your injuries

● Passenger injuries

● Bystander injuries

● Injuries of the other driver

● Damage to the other driver’s car

● Any skid marks

● The sky (for weather conditions and lighting)

● Contact information of the other driver and witnesses

EXCHANGE INFO

Ensure you get the other driver’s information before either of you leaves the scene. If the other party refuses, ask an officer for assistance. You’ll want to get their:

● Full name

● Phone number or email

● Make and model of their car

● License plate number

● Insurance company name

● Insurance policy number

Don’t panic if the other party asks for the same information from you. It’s okay to give it to them.

GET WITNESS STATEMENTS

Try to find witnesses who can attest to the fact that the other party ran the red light and hit you. Witnesses in distracted driving, hit-and-run, or red-light-related car accidents are vital to ensuring you’re not at fault for the accident.

WATCH WHAT YOU SAY

Be careful with what you say after the accident. Despite being the victim, what you say can be twisted into applying some form of fault onto you. We know that’s probably going to be hard to remember after getting hit, so remember this:

NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR ANYTHING.

Try not to say anything that can be construed as admitting fault. It doesn’t matter what it’s for— words like “sorry” and “apologize” will be used against you.

Also, if you can remember, try not to downplay any injuries you may or may not have. If you claim you’re “okay” or “fine,” they may use it against you later.

DON’T SPEAK TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY

While you should call your insurance company to report the accident, you shouldn’t speak to any insurance company any more than that. Don’t agree to a recorded statement; instead, say that information will come soon through your lawyer (even if you don’t yet have one).

Insurance companies trick individuals in various ways to avoid paying out as much money as they deserve. Without a lawyer present, you could fall into one of these traps, affecting your compensation.

LOOK FOR AN ATTORNEY

Once the dust settles after the accident, it’s time to get an experienced car accident lawyer like those at Angel Reyes & Associates. As mentioned, the other party can get out of paying what you deserve in many ways, so you need someone you trust to advocate for you.

HOW TO PROVE NEGLIGENCE OR FAULT IN SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS OR COURT

Once you have an experienced car accident lawyer at your side, it’s time to prove that the other party is at fault to get the compensation you deserve.

WHAT DOES NEGLIGENCE MEAN IN COURT?

Let’s start with defining negligence. Negligence is the idea that the other party acted in a way that “a reasonable person” would not act. Negligence can also represent someone who didn’t act with a level of care that “a reasonable person” would. Examples in this situation would be speeding, looking at their phone, etc.

The act of going through a red light alone is negligent.

To prove negligence, you must have evidence of their negligent behavior (e.g., a witness who saw them on the phone, phone records showing they were using it at the time of the crash, etc.).

You’ll then need to prove that their negligence caused the accident and your injuries.

FOUR TYPES OF NEGLIGENCE

There are four types of negligence:

Gross negligence means the other party acted with absolute negligence or recklessness and didn’t consider the consequences.

Contributory negligence refers to either party’s actions contributing to their injuries (not using a turn signal, for example).

Comparative negligence is when the injured party could be at fault for the incident but still deserves compensation.

Vicarious negligence refers to being responsible for someone else’s negligence through inaction (not stopping someone from speeding).

WHAT DOES FAULT MEAN IN COURT?

Legally, fault is determining who caused the accident and is liable for damages. More than one party can be at fault—especially in Texas (more on this later).

Fault differs from negligence because the party determined at fault may not have acted negligently. For example, they may have experienced a vehicle malfunction and couldn’t stop, so they ran the red light. While they’re at fault for the crash, they didn’t do it out of negligence.

HOW DO YOU PROVE NEGLIGENCE OR FAULT IN A RED-LIGHT CRASH?

Proving negligence or fault requires a car accident lawyer familiar with legal processes. A lawyer will use all the evidence collected to prove the other party’s guilt. Gathering evidence—at the scene and later—is crucial as more is learned about the accident.

Using the evidence, your lawyer will argue that the other party is not only at fault but also negligent.

IN TEXAS, FAULT CAN BE ASSIGNED TO YOU

Even if your case seems cut and dry and you can confidently say that someone ran a red light and hit you, you still need a lawyer to protect you because, in Texas, fault can be assigned to you. The state has a “modified comparative fault” law, meaning each party can be assigned a percentage of fault.

If a party is found to be 51% or more responsible for the accident, they can be barred from recovering damages.

The amount of fault assigned to you will affect the amount of compensation you receive. Different ways that fault can be assigned to you include:

● You didn’t wait a few seconds after the light turned green.

● You didn’t check to see if there was any oncoming traffic.

● Your turn was too wide before the car ran into you.

● You were also distracted by something.

● You were speeding.

● You were going through a yellow light.

YOU NEED A 5-STAR CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER IN YOUR CORNER

Whether they were impatient, in a hurry, or simply reckless, you deserve to have your life return to normal after someone else made the negligent decision to run the red light.

The best red-light car accident expert you can have in your corner is the 5-Star Dallas car accident lawyer of the law firm Angel Reyes & Associates. After being struck by a car violating the traffic codes, you need to have the best representation possible, even though it may seem that you were clearly not the individual at fault.

As you read through this piece, you’ll see various ways people can get out of paying damages or having fault assigned to you. This is especially true if you’re going up against an insurance company with more resources than you.

Insurance companies will force you to settle for much less than what your damages cost, even if their client was clearly running a red light when they hit you. They’ll convince you to settle for less than what you deserve, and we’ll not let that happen when you’re our client. We know exactly what your case is worth and are willing to offer our services for free if we don’t win your case.

Contact Angel Reyes & Associates now or call us at 214-526-7900 to learn more about your case.

RED-LIGHT CAR ACCIDENTS FAQS

Here are some common questions we get when discussing red-light car accidents.

WHAT KIND OF DAMAGES CAN I SUE FOR IN RED-LIGHT CAR ACCIDENTS?

You can sue for various damages after a red-light car accident, including:

● Medical bills

● Lost income

● Pain and suffering

● Property damage

● Lost earning capacity

● Wrongful death

WHAT ARE COMMON RED-LIGHT CAR ACCIDENT INJURIES?

The most common injuries due to a red-light car accident are:

● Broken bones

● Bruises

● Cuts

● Brain injuries

● Spinal cord injuries

● Fatalities

IS THERE A DIFFERENT PROCESS IF I WAS A PEDESTRIAN IN THE ACCIDENT?

No, the process wouldn’t be different if you were a pedestrian in a red-light car accident. The only difference would be demanding more compensation for potentially more severe injuries compared to being in a vehicle.

WHAT IF I HIT THE RED-LIGHT RUNNING CAR?

If you hit the car running the red light, all isn’t lost. You must get an experienced lawyer to help you prove that you were less at fault due to the other car running a red light.

ARE RED-LIGHT CAMERAS STILL ACTIVE IN TEXAS?

No, red-light cameras are not still active in Texas; they were banned in 2019 due to invasion-of-privacy issues. You can find more about this in the Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 707.

SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A CAR ACCIDENT THAT WASN’T MY FAULT IN TEXAS?

Yes, you should get a lawyer for a car accident that’s not your fault in Texas. Texas has a “modified comparative fault” law, meaning fault could still be assigned to you.

WHAT IF THE OTHER DRIVER HAS MINIMAL COVERAGE OR NO INSURANCE?

The other party may have minimal or no insurance coverage. If so, you can make a claim against your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policy or sue the individual driver for damages. However, suing the individual shouldn’t be the first move—you’re unlikely to see any money.

WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS IN TEXAS?

Texas has a two-year personal injury statute of limitations, meaning you have two years from the accident date to sue the other party for personal injuries.

DEDICATED TO CAR & TRUCK ACCIDENTS

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If you have been injured in a car accident, you need an experienced car accident lawyer specialist to protect your rights against insurance companies dedicated to minimizing your claim and compensation!

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