In most cases, where a driver runs a traffic light and causes an accident, they will be liable for any damages sustained by other parties involved in the crash. However, with the way Indiana handles fault in an accident, you may still be able to pursue compensation for your damages after running a red light in certain situations.
If you were involved in an accident after running a red light, it is critical to understand your level of liability and how that affects your legal obligations and rights. At the law firm of Vaughan & Vaughan, we can answer all your questions after an accident. Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers.
Modified Comparative Negligence in Indiana
While you will likely be liable for damages caused by an accident if you ran a traffic light, you could still be eligible to recover compensation in certain circumstances due to Indiana’s modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, multiple parties can share the fault for a crash, and as long as your level of liability is not greater than 50%, you can pursue damages.
However, the amount you can recover will be reduced by the level of fault you hold. If you were 40% to blame, the most you could recover would be 60% of the full value of your losses. That means that if the other party also broke the law and was driving in an unsafe manner, you will potentially be eligible to recover compensation for a portion of your losses.
For example, if you entered the intersection just as the light turned red and then were hit by a car that was speeding through the intersection as their light changed from red to green, they may hold more of the fault. While they didn’t technically run a red light, they were breaking the law by speeding and would have run the light if it hadn’t changed in that instant.
Damages You Can Recover If the Victim of an Accident
Whether eligible for compensation due to the modified negligence rule or because you were the victim of another party running a red light, you may be eligible to recover various damages. Identifying all the damages you are eligible to pursue is critical when attempting to collect compensation after a crash.
All of the compensatory damages available after a traffic light accident are split between the categories of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover all of the losses you incurred that had an impact on your financial situation. If you were forced to spend money or unable to earn income as a result of your accident, those losses will be covered by damages in this category. The most commonly collected economic damages in these types of cases include:
- Medical costs
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Diminished earning ability
- Property damage
- Money spent to complete daily tasks you can no longer do yourself
Non-economic damages cover every other type of loss sustained after a crash. These losses are often deeply personal and irreplaceable. Because of this, determining the value of these losses can be particularly challenging. The most commonly collected non-economic damages in these types of cases include:
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life
- Permanent disability
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
Legal Consequences of Running a Red Light and Causing an Accident
Even if you are 50% or less at fault for your car accident and are able to pursue damages, you could still face a ticket for running a red light and getting in an accident. In Indiana, running a red light is an infraction. If ticketed, you could face a fine of up to $500 and have four points added to your driving record.
Additionally, you could be charged with more serious offenses like reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor, and could result in jail time.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer to help you recover compensation after a crash, it is critical to understand that your car accident attorney will not be able to help you with any criminal charges you face. Your personal injury attorney will focus on collecting the money you need from the liable party.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer Before Talking to an Insurance Company After a Crash
When involved in an accident, it is essential that you use caution when dealing with an insurance company. Insurers will do everything they can to deny or devalue a claim, and you are going to be in a particularly vulnerable position if your running a traffic light contributed to the crash.
Insurers have a variety of tricks they will attempt to use against you, and in this situation, they will likely insinuate that you don’t qualify for a claim because you broke the law. The best way to protect yourself against insurance adjusters is by declining to speak to them until you have retained experienced legal counsel.
When you hire a lawyer, the insurer will be blocked from contacting you directly. All communication will have to go through your attorney. This will protect you from the tactics that the insurance adjuster would otherwise employ in an attempt to keep you from collecting the compensation to which you are entitled.
Get a Free Consultation from an Experienced Indiana Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you were involved in an accident where you ran a traffic light, it is critical that you consult an experienced attorney to figure out whether you are eligible to recover damages. At Vaughan & Vaughan, we can assess your case and help you pursue compensation if you qualify.
Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free case review with one of our experienced attorneys.