What to Do if Malfunctioning Traffic Lights Cause Your Car Accident
In 2020 alone, there were more than 5 million police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States. There were many different causes for these car accidents.
Although they’re less common than other types of accidents, there are cases in which malfunctioning traffic lights lead to car crashes. When this happens, it can be tricky to navigate the legalities and determine who is at fault for the accident.
In this guide, we’ll tell you what you should do if malfunctioning traffic lights cause your car accident.
Causes of Malfunctioning Traffic Lights
There are various reasons why traffic lights may malfunction.
One of the reasons for traffic light malfunctioning is improper maintenance or installation. This could cause lights to show up at the wrong times or it could cause other issues that may lead to an accident.
If the lights haven’t been maintained and there’s a lot of wear and tear on them, their performance could get worse over time. They could eventually end up malfunctioning.
Other causes of traffic lights could include adverse weather conditions. Lightning, high winds, and other types of weather could cause extreme wear and tear and could end up damaging the traffic lights. This may cause the traffic signals to malfunction.
Finally, traffic light malfunctioning could be the result of vandalism or some kind of illegal tampering.
Whatever the cause may be, malfunctioning traffic lights can be a safety hazard. When the lights malfunction, traffic accidents could occur.
Determining Fault for Accidents Involving Malfunctioning Traffic Lights
If an accident occurs due to malfunctioning traffic lights, it can be tricky to determine who is at fault for car accident damages.
In most cases, you or another driver will still end up being at fault for the accident. Even though the traffic lights may be malfunctioning, it’s possible that you or the other driver didn’t follow all the safety protocols that you should have. If you or another driver didn’t follow all relevant safe driving laws, then you could still be held accountable for what happened.
In some instances, a government entity may be considered at fault. Whoever is responsible for maintaining the traffic lights could be held accountable.
It’s more likely that a government agency could be held accountable if they knew about the problem and didn’t take the proper steps to fix it in a timely manner. They might also be held accountable if they didn’t provide warnings but knew about the outage or malfunctioning traffic lights.
Determining the fault for a collision that resulted from a malfunctioning traffic light can be tricky, to say the least. Because of this, it’s usually a good idea to hire a personal injury lawyer. They can help with determining fault, filing a car crash claim, and seeking compensation from a government agency, if necessary.
You may want to learn more about the auto accident lawyer cost now if you think you may need professional help.
Approaching Malfunctioning Traffic Lights Correctly
If you approach a traffic light that seems to be malfunctioning, what you decide to do should be based on a variety of different factors. Remember that laws vary from state to state. You’ll want to check with your state to ensure that you’re taking the right actions at a malfunctioning traffic signal.
If the light is flashing red, then you should treat it as though it’s a stop sign. You’ll want to stop completely and check for other cars before you continue on.
When there’s a flashing yellow light, then you should aim to continue past the intersection. However, you’ll want to yield to any oncoming traffic that you notice.
Finally, if you notice that the traffic light is completely blacked out, then you’ll want to be extremely careful. You should treat the intersection as a four-way stop and should follow similar rules. The driver who arrives at the light first should be the first to continue on.
Be sure to make a complete stop before you go through an intersection to ensure that you won’t run into oncoming traffic.
Steps to Take After an Accident
If the worst happens and you end up in an accident because of a broken or malfunctioning traffic light, you should have an idea of what to do next.
Make sure that you don’t apologize for the accident to anyone or admit that you may be at fault. You should be careful what you say to other drivers, police officers, your insurance company, and anyone else you speak to about the accident. You should let the police determine who may be at fault through investigative work.
It’s also a good idea to hire an attorney after you experience a car accident. A car accident attorney can communicate with other parties on your behalf. They can also help you collect evidence if needed.
If it turns out that you need to seek compensation from another driver or from a government entity, then a lawyer can help. They’ll understand your legal rights. They’ll be able to help you seek compensation for any medical fees or lost wages that have resulted from the accident.
Successfully Handling a Car Accident Involving a Broken Traffic Light
If you experience an accident that you believe is a result of malfunctioning traffic lights, be sure that you proceed in a smart way. Be careful what you say to other parties and consider hiring a lawyer to help you navigate the legalities and pursue compensation.
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