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Car accidents happen every day. More often than not, they are the product of pure driver negligence. Intersections are everywhere, each with its own amount of stops or lights, and each with its own set of dangers. Failure to yield to the flow of traffic or right of way, speeding and running stoplights or signs (often due to distracted driving) are common factors in intersection accidents.
In the event of an intersection accident, you should always consult with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help weigh your options. At Pajcic & Pajcic, we will aggressively investigate your intersection accident and fight for your compensation, so you can focus on recovery.
What causes an intersection accident?
Intersections can prove to be difficult for many drivers. It is easy for speeding motorists in a rush to think the rules of the road don’t apply to them. Yellow lights typically last several seconds, and within that time a driver should be slowing to a halt. Many people feel that they can slam on the gas and beat the eventual red light, only to cause a T-bone accident.
These accidents make up a significant portion of road collisions, and could be avoided if drivers obeyed the laws. Head-on collisions can also occur, and sudden stops to avoid a collision can lead to a rear-end crash. The contributing factors leading to an intersection accident usually include:
- Failure to obey traffic signs and signals: A driver who knowingly runs a stop sign or traffic light can put themselves, and other drivers, at risk. Other factors such as impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding and reckless driving can hinder a motorist’s ability to stop in order to avoid a crash.
- Failure to yield the right of way: When a driver pulls out into traffic or makes a left turn, cutting off another vehicle, a catastrophic broadside can occur. Since these accidents come unexpectedly, they can often happen at a high speed.
- Inclement weather: Sometimes weather conditions can be unforgiving. Large puddles can cause vehicles to hydroplane, making it difficult to stop at an intersection. Fog can reduce visibility, making it more difficult to see other vehicles as well as signs and signals. Motorists have a responsibility to slow down and drive defensively to respond to the conditions.
Intersection accidents can be deadly. At any point, a red light or traffic stop could be run at high speeds, causing a scene of total chaos. A distracted driver could turn into an oncoming vehicle, stopping traffic and causing injuries or death.
Why yellow lights are important to preventing intersection accidents
Known as “amber time,” a yellow light that lasts is meant to advise drivers to slow down and stop for an oncoming red light. It also means that oncoming traffic will swiftly be approaching. If a driver runs a yellow light, they risk running what has now turned into a red light, thus putting themselves in the line of oncoming traffic. Some intersections, such as those that cross main roads, have cars possibly traveling at very high speeds. A collision at any speed can be devastating, but upwards of 50mph can easily be fatal.
Why intersection accidents are so devastating
In most cases, intersection accidents result in side damage to the vehicle being struck. There is very little protection between the side of a motor vehicle and the driver or passenger. For this reason, the injuries sustained in intersection accidents can be severe, and even fatal.
Common injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Head injuries: Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are very common in intersection accidents. The risk of a serious injury is higher in high-impact crashes, but brain injuries can happen at any speed.
- Spine injuries: The lateral impact of an intersection accident can cause cervical spine damage. Crash victims must often undergo long periods of physical therapy to make a full recovery, and many of these injuries prove to be permanent.
- Cuts and contusions: Even at a low impact, a driver can suffer cuts and bruises after being broadsided, especially if the accident resulted in broken glass.
- Broken bones: Fractures to the ribs, arms and legs can occur after a driver has been struct at a great impact.
- Pelvic and hip injuries: Injuries to the lower extremities, hip and pelvic fractures and broken femurs can result from a high impact intersection accident.
Who is responsible for my intersection accident?
Anyone who has violated a traffic law is most likely responsible for an accident that occurs afterwards. Red-light cameras are frequently placed at intersections, and are triggered by cars driving above certain designated speeds through the light. The camera flashes, snapping a photo of the offending vehicle and their license plate. Sometimes these red-light cameras can make drivers more aware and force them to stop running lights. They may also help apprehend those responsible in hit-and-run accidents.
Liability in Florida is designated by a comparative negligence system, in which fault is assigned by percentages. This can lead to complex disputes over liability when a crash occurs at an intersection, as many vehicles may be involved. One of the most important steps to take following a car accident is to contact a lawyer to represent your side.
An experienced attorney will investigate
Intersection accidents can be complex. Determining who was at fault may require a thorough investigation. In many cases, the driver who was struck may be at fault, especially if he or she pulled out into oncoming traffic without giving the other vehicle enough time to stop. A motorist who fails yield the right of way and broadsides another vehicle can also be found at fault. In other cases, both drivers may be equally responsible for causing an intersection accident.
Intersection accidents aren’t always limited to just two vehicles. Other nearby vehicles, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists can be struck as well. This can result in multiple claims against the at-fault driver, whose insurance company will go to great lengths to reduce their costs.