Are Red Light Runners Always Liable in Intersection Accidents?

Photo of a red traffic light

In Florida, red light runners caused 89 deaths, 782 incapacitating injuries, 3,411 non-incapacitating injuries, and 7,001 possible injuries, according to a recent report by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). While running a red light is illegal, in rare cases, the other party may also be found liable for an intersection accident.

Why Determining Fault in a Red Light Intersection Accident is Crucial

Many car crashes happen at light-controlled intersections when a driver is too distracted and fails to see that the light has turned red or speeds through when the light turns yellow. These crashes can cause devastating injuries because the negligent driver is typically driving faster than normal when running a red light. Sometimes, a driver may assume that the vehicle they’re following will speed through a yellow light and, consequently, crash into the other vehicle.

Anytime you see a red light in an intersection, you are legally required to stop until the light turns green. Failing to do so is negligent and illegal. On the other hand, drivers with a green light also have a legal duty of care to look out for oncoming traffic before they proceed. This means that as you approach an intersection, you must always look both ways to make sure that the way is clear before entering to help prevent crashes.

So, if you get into an accident because another driver ran a red light and you failed to check for oncoming traffic, both of you may be found negligent. In this scenario, the involved insurance companies or jury will apportion fault and liability between you and the other driver.

As the injured party, you must prove that the driver that ran the red light is at fault or more at fault for the crash. If there’s a red light camera installed in the intersection, this can be used for establishing fault and liability. However, establishing fault in an accident where a driver clearly ran a red light can sometimes be challenging.

To illustrate, let’s say you were turning left and had the right of way when a driver sped through a red light and crashed into your car. But the red light runner has evidence of you on your cell phone when the crash occurred when you should have been focusing your attention on the road. In this situation, the red light runner may be found 95% at fault for breaking a traffic law, and you may be found 5% at fault for distracted driving.

Expect the red light runner’s insurer to try and assign more of the fault to you during your negotiations for compensation to reduce your claim. This is why you should work with a Tampa car accident lawyer who can prove liability and negotiate skillfully with insurers. 

Seek Legal Guidance From a Seasoned Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today

Were you injured in an accident because of a driver that ran a red light and crashed into you? You shouldn’t be on the hook for the damages you incurred because of their negligence. We can help. Contact Matthews Injury Law at 813-530-1000 or online to arrange your free consultation with our Tampa car accident lawyer today.