Can You Sue Someone for Running a Red Light in Florida?

Driving in Miami and other areas in Florida can feel like you’re taking your life into your hands.  Many drivers in South Florida treat stop signs and red lights as suggestions, putting other drivers in danger.  If you were involved in a car crash because someone else ran a red light, you might be able to file a lawsuit instead of filing through insurance.  This lawsuit can help you recover compensation for any vehicle damage as well as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering from injuries.  For help with your red light accident case, contact Miami car accident lawyer Prosper Shaked today.

Can You Sue for a Car Accident Involving Running a Red Light?

Every driver should understand some of the most fundamental driving rules.  Basic rules like those involving speed limits, stop signs, and red lights are some of the simplest rules to follow, yet some of the most frequently violated traffic laws.  If another driver causes a car accident because they violated a traffic law, you may be entitled to sue them for damages and injuries they caused.

To succeed in your car accident lawsuit, you need to prove four major elements to show that the other driver was negligent:

  • The other driver owed you a duty (e.g., the duty to stop at red lights);
  • The other driver breached that duty (e.g., by failing to stop at a red light);
  • Their breach caused the accident, and
  • The accident resulted in damages that the court can compensate you for.

If the other driver ran a red light, but there was no accident, you likely cannot sue because there are no damages.  As much as we may want to take someone to court for breaking the law or startling us by nearly causing a crash, you usually cannot sue unless you suffered personal injury or some damage to your vehicle.  If slamming on the breaks to avoid an accident caused you whiplash or otherwise injured you, you may still be able to sue the driver who ran the red light.

Failure to yield and failure to stop at a traffic signal is usually good proof that the other driver was at fault.  Traffic laws, like those that require you to stop at a red light and obey traffic signals, are designed to keep other drivers safe.  When drivers violate these laws, the traffic law can help you prove your case against them by helping define the duty they breached.

In most cases, a driver has no excuse for running a red light.  Especially if the light was steadily red before they got to the intersection, they are clearly negligent.  Drivers often claim they were following too closely behind a truck to see a red light.  This merely shows they were not only disobeying traffic signals but that they were also tailgating.  If trees obscured the red light or the light was green because of a malfunction, they may have a legitimate excuse – but these situations are quite rare.

Should I Sue or File Through Insurance for an Accident at a Traffic Light?

Accidents from running a red light are often quite serious.  When you have a green light, you have an expectation that you can cross through the intersection safely, and you might not slow down or hit the brakes.  This means that if another driver comes from the side, they could cause a T-bone car accident at high speeds.  If they fail to yield and run a red light to make a turn across your lane, you could face a head-on car crash.  These accidents are often extremely dangerous because they can send your car into other lanes of travel, involving other vehicles in the crash.  Especially if you are hit by an 18-wheeler or another large vehicle, your car could face substantial damage.

When an accident causes personal injury on top of vehicle damage, your injuries should be the focus of your claims.  Minor injury claims may be filed through Florida’s no-fault car insurance system, but more serious injuries may justify a car accident lawsuit.

Car accident lawsuits in Florida are reserved for serious injuries that cause permanent damage, like traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury.  You can also file a lawsuit for any injuries that cause at least $10,000 worth of medical expenses and lost wages.  This threshold may be lower than you expect, such that whiplash injuries and other common car accident injuries may qualify for a Florida car accident lawsuit.  Talk to an attorney about your case today to understand whether filing through insurance or filing in a court of law is right for you.

Miami Car Crash Attorney Offering Free Consultations

If you or someone you loved was injured in a car crash caused by someone who failed to stop at a red light or violated another traffic regulation, talk to an attorney about your case.  You may be able to use their traffic violation as proof that they negligently caused your injuries, which could entitle you to substantial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  To schedule a free consultation on your case, contact Miami personal injury lawyer Prosper Shaked today at (305) 690-0244.

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