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Car AccidentsIf Someone Runs a Red Light and You Hit Them, Who is at Fault?

January 8, 2024by Crystal Henry

In the aftermath of a car accident involving a red-light runner, the common assumption is that the individual disregarding traffic signals is solely at fault. 

While law enforcement typically cites the red-light runner, the legal intricacies become apparent, especially when bodily injuries are involved. 

In essence, determining fault extends beyond the immediate violation. 

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial to recognize that insurance practices may shift some blame onto the innocent party, emphasizing the importance of understanding your rights and seeking legal advice promptly.

The Initial Assumption

At first glance, it might seem evident that the party running the red light shoulders the blame for the collision. 

Typically, law enforcement issues citations to the individual responsible for causing the accident. 

In cases involving only property damage, insurance companies usually acknowledge liability and promptly settle the claim, unless dealing with an unreliable insurer.

Bodily Injuries and Shared Responsibility

The complexity arises when bodily injuries result from the collision. 

Insurance companies, known for their strategic manoeuvres to minimize payouts, may attempt to shift some blame onto the innocent party. 

According to Texas law, all drivers have a duty to maintain a vigilant awareness of their surroundings while driving, particularly at intersections.

The “Blame-the-Victim” Tactic

A critical aspect of Texas law mandates that drivers exercise caution by assessing the traffic situation before proceeding through an intersection. 

The insurance company might exploit this legal requirement by asserting that the innocent party failed to keep a proper lookout, creating a “blame-the-victim” scenario. 

This tactic places the blame on the individual who, despite having the green light, failed to avoid the collision.

Comparative Negligence and Its Implications

Texas follows a comparative negligence standard, wherein the jury evaluates the actions of all parties involved and assigns a percentage of responsibility for the accident. 

It’s not a straightforward determination of who is entirely at fault; instead, each party’s conduct is scrutinized. 

If the innocent party’s responsibility is less than 50%, they can collect a percentage of their damages; however, if it exceeds 50%, they may receive no compensation.

Tricky Tactics by Insurance Companies

Insurance adjusters are adept at employing tactics to safeguard their company’s financial interests. 

When reaching out to accident victims, adjusters may present themselves as helpful allies while subtly steering the conversation to extract statements that could be used against the victim. 

For instance, they might inquire about obstacles obstructing the view or whether the victim saw the other driver before the collision.

Seeking Legal Advice: A Crucial Step

In the absence of legal counsel, individuals risk inadvertently providing statements that undermine their case. 

A seemingly harmless response can be manipulated to cast doubt on the innocence of the victim. 

Before engaging with insurance companies, seeking legal advice becomes crucial to navigate the intricacies of the claims process effectively.

Crystal Henry Personal Injury Lawyer
3730 Kirby Dr #901, Houston, TX 77098, United States
281-888-3731
intake@helpfixmywreck.com

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the initial assumption that the red-light runner is at fault holds true in many cases, the legal landscape introduces nuances that demand careful consideration. 

Understanding the tactics employed by insurance companies and the comparative negligence standard is essential to protect one’s rights and secure a fair outcome in the aftermath of a collision.

FAQs

Is the person running the red light always at fault in a collision?

While it’s a common assumption, fault determination extends beyond a mere traffic violation. Factors such as shared responsibility, bodily injuries, and legal nuances can complicate the scenario.

How does Texas law impact fault determination in red-light collisions?

Texas law mandates that drivers maintain a vigilant awareness of their surroundings, especially at intersections. Comparative negligence is a crucial element, with each party’s conduct scrutinized to assign a percentage of responsibility.

See also: Is Texas a No-Fault State?

Can insurance companies shift blame onto the innocent party?

Yes, insurance companies are known to employ tactics to minimize payouts. They may exploit legal requirements, like exercising caution at intersections, to create a “blame-the-victim” scenario and minimize their liability.

What is comparative negligence, and how does it affect compensation?

In Texas, comparative negligence involves the jury evaluating the actions of all parties and assigning a percentage of responsibility. Compensation is based on this percentage, and if the innocent party’s responsibility exceeds 50%, they may receive no compensation.

How do insurance adjusters use tricky tactics?

Insurance adjusters may appear helpful but often aim to extract statements that can be used against the victim. Questions about obstacles obstructing the view or whether the victim saw the other driver before the collision are examples of these tactics.

Why is seeking legal advice crucial after a red-light collision?

In the absence of legal counsel, individuals risk unintentionally providing statements that undermine their case. Legal advice is crucial to navigate the claims process effectively and protect one’s rights.

Is fault determination straightforward in all cases involving red-light collisions?

While the initial assumption holds true in many cases, the legal landscape introduces nuances that demand careful consideration. Understanding tactics employed by insurance companies and the comparative negligence standard is essential for a fair outcome.

About the Author

Crystal Henry, a highly respected and compassionate personal injury lawyer based in Houston, is a force to be reckoned with in the legal field. With years of experience and a genuine passion for helping others, Crystal has become a trusted advocate for her clients. Her journey in law began with a strong desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives during their most challenging times.