Florida is no stranger to car accidents. They happen daily, they can happen to anyone, and they cause a lot of damage to individuals and property. And, while there are many ways in which a trip in a motor vehicle could end up in a collision, one of the most common ways is by running a red light. Whether it was because a driver was rushing to get somewhere, distracted by their kids arguing in the back seat, or thinking about items on their to-do list, running a red light is a prevalent occurrence.
Red Light Car Accidents
Florida Statutes chapter 316.075 establishes drivers’ responsibilities when approaching a red light. These include the following:
- Anyone operating a motor vehicle is required to stop before encroaching on a crosswalk.
- If there is no crosswalk, the driver must stop before entering the intersection at a point where the driver has a view of approaching traffic.
- If the driver can see approaching traffic, they may enter the intersection to make a right turn — always yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians and approaching cars.
Despite these rules, drivers often speed up when encountering a yellow light to avoid having to stop at a red light. Drivers also operate their vehicles with other things on their minds — taking away their focus from traffic lights. As a result, running a red light is one of the most frequent causes of car accidents.
How to Prove the Other Driver Ran a Red Light
There are several ways to gather evidence to prove the other driver ran a red light. Your attorney can gather them during a process called discovery. This is when they request sworn statements or any documentation of the accident. They may include any or all of the following:
1. Your Testimony
Any party involved in the accident can provide their account of events — either in a deposition or at trial. You may do so as well. However, it’s crucial to only provide information for which you have firsthand knowledge. Speculation is inadmissible. And, you have to be careful about what you say. Contradicting yourself could be used to put your credibility in doubt.
2. Witness Testimony
This includes anyone who was present at the scene of the accident and who saw it happen firsthand. It cannot be someone who simply heard the accident happen. However, there are exceptions to what a witness hears. Excited utterances — such as “Oh my God! That Jeep ran that red light!” — can be admitted into evidence as exceptions to hearsay, since they are unplanned reactions to a startling event.
3. Surveillance Video
This could include either red light cameras as well as surveillance videos from nearby businesses or homes. However, it’s important to get this type of recording as quickly as possible, as it’s often destroyed when the video starts recording again. In order to preserve it, your attorney would send a written request to the commercial establishment or homeowner.
4. Police Officer Testimony
Even if there’s a police report documenting the accident, it is considered to be hearsay (an out of court statement offered for its truth). Therefore, it is inadmissible as evidence. However, you could subpoena the police officer who showed up at the scene to testify in court about details they remember from the incident.
5. Accident Reconstruction Expert
These types of experts have experience in engineering, the mechanics of motor vehicles, roadside safety, maintenance of traffic, and forensics — to name a few. When the parties don’t remember all of the details or are offering contradicting testimony, an accident reconstruction expert could help provide the missing pieces of the puzzle.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Red Light Car Accidents
Getting these materials together can be time consuming and intimidating for most people. That’s where an experienced attorney comes in. In the discovery process, a lawyer will gather all of the relevant information for your case, such as what has been listed above. They can also help negotiate with other parties involved, including insurance companies and adjusters. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll develop a strategy for your case based on all of the information available. Through the entire process they are there to guide you and to make sure your best interests are protected.
An attorney can also help you recover any compensation you are due because of a red light car accident. These could include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages resulting from the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Call Us at Clark Law for a Consultation
There are many factors that affect the outcome of a case. If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. We’ll consider all circumstances to determine your best next step. We can also ensure that you receive proper compensation for any present as well as future medical expenses relating to your neck injuries.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.