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If Someone Runs A Red Light And You Hit Them, Who Is At Fault In New York?

Red Lights and Wrong Rights: Unpacking Fault in Traffic Light Violations in New York


New York's busy streets witness countless traffic incidents daily, among which red light violations are notably common. Such situations often lead to collisions, raising questions about fault and liability. This blog post aims to clarify who is at fault when someone runs a red light and causes an accident in New York.


The Basics of Traffic Light Violations


Running a red light is a clear violation of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law. It not only endangers the violator but also poses significant risks to other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. When a collision results from a red light violation, determining fault might seem straightforward, but the actual legal implications can be complex.


Determining Fault in New York


New York follows a comparative fault system, meaning that each party involved in an accident can be found partially at fault. The degree of fault affects the compensation each party can receive for damages and injuries. In accidents involving a red light violation:

  • The Red Light Runner: Typically, the driver who runs a red light is primarily at fault. This is because they have breached a traffic regulation, directly leading to the accident.

  • The Other Party: However, the other driver's actions at the time of the collision are also scrutinized. Were they driving attentively and at a safe speed? Did they have the opportunity to avoid the accident?


Evidence and Investigation


After an accident, evidence plays a crucial role in determining fault. This may include:

  • Traffic camera footage: Many intersections in New York are equipped with cameras that can provide conclusive evidence of a red light violation.

  • Witness statements: Bystanders or other drivers can offer valuable perspectives on the incident.

  • Police reports: Officers responding to the scene will document their observations, which can be crucial in determining fault.


Legal Consequences


The driver who runs the red light and is found at fault faces several legal consequences, including:

  • Liability for damages: This includes property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.

  • Traffic citations: The violator will likely receive a ticket for running the red light, which can result in fines, points on their license, and potential increases in insurance premiums.

  • Criminal charges: In severe cases, especially if the accident results in serious injury or death, the driver could face criminal charges.


What to Do If You're Involved in Such an Accident


  • Ensure Safety: Check for injuries and move to a safe location if possible.

  • Call the Police: It's important to have an official report, especially when the other party has committed a traffic violation.

  • Document Everything: Take photos, gather contact information from witnesses, and note the details of the accident.

  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, some injuries may not be immediately apparent.

  • Consult an Attorney: Given New York's comparative fault laws, it's advisable to consult with a legal professional to navigate the complexities of your case. A firm like Curan & Ahlers can provide the guidance and representation you need.


Curan & Ahlers: New York Car Accident Attorneys


In New York, running a red light and causing an accident typically places the majority of the fault on the violator. However, because of the comparative fault system, other factors and behaviors at the time of the accident can also influence the determination of liability. 


If you find yourself in such a situation, taking the right steps immediately after the incident and seeking competent legal advice are crucial to protect your rights and interests. Working with a car accident lawyer will give you the best chance of recovering the compensation you are due. Curan & Ahlers is here to help. Contact us today!


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