Hundreds of people die in red light crashes each year, and thousands more are injured. These numbers include drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicle passengers. While those who ignore traffic signals are often at fault, learn why proving blame for a red-light crash is rarely simple.
Bernstein & Poisson discuss red-light crashes, including when others may share fault and why proving liability can be challenging.
If you suffered serious injuries and other losses due to a red light runner, you may be eligible for compensation. Our knowledgeable Las Vegas auto accident lawyers understand what it takes to prove liability. Contact our firm to speak with a qualified attorney and discuss your situation. We are available to take your call anytime, night or day, and initial consultations are completely free.
Who Can Be Liable for a Red-Light Crash?
Often, the at-fault party in this type of crash is the red light runner. However, there are situations where other parties could share some liability.
How Can Others Share Fault for a Crash Caused by a Red Light Runner?
All drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and others on the road owe a duty of care to prevent harm to others. This means taking reasonable steps to avoid causing a crash, regardless of who has the right of way.
- Drivers at a green light: If a driver with a green light sees a driver running a red light, he or she must attempt to stop. Although he or she has the right of way, it is still his or her duty to try to prevent a crash. Ignoring this legal duty could result in being assessed with some fault.
- Distracted or impaired pedestrians: Pedestrians also owe a duty of care to others. This means not walking across a busy intersection while reading text messages or chatting with friends. It only takes a second to check that the coast is clear. Pedestrians can better protect themselves by assuming another driver may jump the red light, even at a crosswalk.
- Motorcyclists and bicyclists: These individuals are also vulnerable to serious or fatal injuries if a driver runs a red light. Taking reasonable steps to check for traffic in the intersection can significantly help to reduce the risk of a crash.
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Why Do People Run a Red Light Despite Knowing the Risks?
There will always be drivers who ignore traffic laws or hit a red light while trying to beat the yellow. Some of the reasons for running a red light include people who are:
- Impatient drivers
- Driving recklessly for kicks
- Running late for an appointment or work
- Dealing with an emergency and trying to jump the light
- Angry or emotionally charged
- Distracted by someone or something else and miss seeing the light
- Impaired by fatigue, alcohol or other substances
Do Traffic Cameras Help Reduce Red-Light Crashes?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that traffic cameras do help limit the number of red-light crashes. However, in Nevada, existing traffic cameras may not be used to record evidence of drivers running red lights or committing other violations.
In large cities of other states, however, the IIHS reports a 21 percent decrease in red light crashes. Additionally, the IIHS says those statistics are further improved when signals are properly timed. For instance, setting sufficient time on a yellow signal before it changes to red helps to reduce the number of red light runners.
What Are the Penalties for Running a Red Light in Nevada?
It is illegal to run a red light in Nevada. When a driver violates the law by ignoring a traffic signal, he or she may be charged with a misdemeanor offense.
Maximum penalties for committing a misdemeanor offense include:
- $1,000 in fines
- Up to six months in jail
It is rare to get jailtime for a misdemeanor offense in Nevada. However, penalties are more severe if a driver’s negligence causes serious or fatal injuries.
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How Do You Prove Fault for a Red-Light Crash?
Proving fault for a red-light crash can be difficult. If there were witnesses who saw what happened, their statements may help. As already stated, traffic camera footage is not an option in Nevada. However, if another driver had dash cam footage, it may help establish who had the right of way.
It is important to call police to the scene of your crash as it could help your claim. They will investigate what happened by examining the accident scene for:
- Tire marks
- Damage to vehicles
- Where vehicles came to rest after the collision
- Other evidence, such as crash debris
In red-light crashes, drivers often have different accounts of what happened. While this can initially make it harder to determine fault, it is not impossible. In some situations, an attorney may recommend using an accident reconstruction specialist. These trained experts have the ability to reconstruct accidents using technology and science. Often, this process helps provide visual clarification about what happened in a crash.
Can You Prevent a Red-Light Crash From Happening?
The optimal way drivers can avoid a red-light crash is simple. Follow traffic laws and do not run a red light. Where it gets tricky is when drivers approach a yellow light.
In Nevada, it is legal for drivers to cross an intersection if the light is yellow. However, if you are not close enough to cross through the intersection on yellow without speeding, it is better to stop.
Injured in a Red Light Crash? Our Trusted Law Firm is Ready to Help
Red-light crashes can cause a lot of damage, both to vehicles and victims. If you have been seriously injured by a red light runner, you may be eligible to seek compensation.
At Bernstein & Poisson, we have a history of proven results, and we are ready to seek maximum compensation for you. Learn what legal options may be available to you. We offer a free, no -risk consultation to discuss your situation and answer your questions.
If you have a case and choose our firm to represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay. We also do not collect our fees until your case resolves, and only if we recover compensation for you.