Was Your Car Accident Caused By Malfunctioning Traffic Lights?
All drivers must comply with the rules of the road, which includes not only adhering to traffic laws, but to obeying traffic signals. Unfortunately, traffic signals don’t always operate as they should, which can leave motorists at risk of being involved in an accident through no fault of their own. Whether due to improper placement, the wrong programming, or an operation defect, malfunctioning traffic signals can wreak havoc on road users and result in serious injuries. Fortunately, when an injured party can prove that a traffic light was the cause of an accident, he or she could recover compensation from the city or municipal agency responsible for the upkeep and proper functioning of the traffic light in question, or even from another driver.
Why Traffic Lights Malfunction
While it’s true that most intersection accidents are the result of driver error, some collisions can be attributed to malfunctioning traffic signals. Traffic signals can malfunction for a lot of reasons, but in most cases, these problems can be attributed to:
- Power outages;
- Damage caused by inclement weather, like high winds, heavy rain, or snow;
- Power surges from lightning strikes;
- Car accident-related damage to control panels or electrical poles;
- Vandalism or tampering;
- Wear and tear;
- Poor maintenance; or
- Improper installation.
These kinds of issues can cause everything from flashing lights and total blackouts to unresponsive or phase skipping signals, all of which can prove dangerous for motorists.
Liability for Defective Traffic Lights
When a car accident victim can prove that a crash was the result of a defective traffic light, then he or she could recover compensation from the government agency responsible for its upkeep. To succeed with this type of claim, however, an injured party will likely need eyewitness testimony and camera footage of the crash, but will also need to prove that the government agency in question was aware that the traffic light was inoperative, but delayed repairing it. Evidence of appropriate signage and warnings informing motorists of the problem could also jeopardize a claim.
It is also possible to hold another driver liable for this type of accident if he or she acted unreasonably under the circumstances or violated a traffic law. If, for instance, a power outage results in a total blackout, then drivers are directed to treat intersections like a four way stop, where the first car to arrive, or the vehicle on the right, moves forward first, after which, the rest of traffic can proceed in a clockwise direction. A driver who failed to do so, but sped through the intersection despite the blackout, could be held liable for any resulting collision.
Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Lawyer Today
The Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys at Boone & Davis are well-versed in how to investigate car accident cases and pursue compensation from the negligent parties who were responsible. Call us at 954-566-9919 to set up a free consultation today. You can also schedule an initial case review by reaching out to us via online message.