Understanding Red-Light Laws: Assessing Your Rights After an Accident

by Staff Blogger | September 22nd, 2023

As you enter an intersection, a car rushes through a red light, causing a heart-stopping collision. The aftermath of an accident like this can be distressing. But knowing your rights will protect you and your family from suffering an unnecessary financial fallout from the crash.

Red-light laws are meant to ensure the safety of all drivers as they pass through intersections. These laws help drivers know when to stop, when to turn, and when to wait. For pedestrians, these laws serve as reminders to be cautious and only cross streets when it is safe to do so.

If you have been injured in a red-light accident, seek a personal injury lawyer Modesto residents can count on, like Berg Injury Lawyers.

The Red-Light Laws: What Do They Mean?

Red-light laws are essential to keeping intersections safe. You can find more information on how they work in California’s Vehicle Code. Put simply, these laws state that when you see a steady circular red signal on a traffic light, you must stop before entering an intersection or crosswalk. It protects everyone on the road and prevents collisions.

According to California Vehicle Code Section 21453, pedestrians and drivers must follow the rules at intersections with red lights or arrows.

For drivers, this means:

  • When the red light is steady and circular, you must stop before the road line (if there is one). When there is no line, stop before the crosswalk or intersection.
  • Do not proceed into the intersection until the red light changes to green.

Sometimes, there are exceptions:

  • Only turn left or right onto a one-way street if no signs prohibit it.
  • When pedestrians are in the crosswalk and a vehicle approaches too closely, turn cautiously. Don’t proceed until it’s safe to do so.

When you see a red arrow signal:

  • Only enter an intersection if a sign says it’s okay.
  • If there is no marked line at the crosswalk, wait for the signal to change.

For pedestrians:

  • Walk onto the road if the signal shows a steady red light or red arrow.
  • While crossing, remain cautious and use good judgment.
  • Officers cannot stop pedestrians from crossing when the traffic light is steady red or red arrow unless they are in immediate danger of an accident.

How to Assess Your Rights After an Accident in Modesto

It can be overwhelming to deal with accidents caused by red-light violations, but if you know the proper steps to take, you can significantly improve your chances of winning:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately. Your well-being comes first. By law (Vehicle Code section 20008), you must report accidents that result in injury or death to local authorities in California. In addition to ensuring you are evaluated and treated for any injuries, getting medical attention will help establish a record of the accident.
  2. Call the police. It is crucial to get law enforcement involved when an accident occurs. The law requires you to report an accident to the police under Vehicle Code section 20008. A police report is another vital piece of supporting evidence that will support your claim.
  3. Take pictures of the scene. A picture is worth a thousand words, and that is especially true here. Take pictures or videos of the intersection, traffic signals, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries at the accident scene. This evidence can be instrumental in reconstructing the sequence of events.
  4. Gather evidence. California follows the comparative negligence principle, which means parties can share liability. If there are any witnesses, collect their contact information. Note the weather and road conditions as well because they can be significant in determining the cause of an accident.
  5. Consult a Modesto personal injury lawyer. The legal burden following an accident can be overwhelming. Hiring a Modesto personal injury lawyer who can help navigate the legal complexities and build a compelling case can be a game-changer.

What Are the Consequences of Running a Red Light?

In addition to legal consequences, running a red light can have significant financial consequences. A violation of Vehicle Code section 21453 can result in a fine of up to $100.

Moreover, California’s Civil Code section 3281 provides that an individual responsible for causing personal injury can be held financially responsible for compensating the victim for property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of wages, etc.

Running a red light can result in the following:

  • T-bone collisions.
  • Head-on collisions.
  • Sideswipe collisions.
  • Pedestrian and cyclist injuries.

Get The Help You Need from a Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer in Modesto can help you if you have been injured in a red-light accident. If you were injured at a red light, Berg Injury Lawyers has a team of experienced personal injury lawyers ready to help you.

Our team of experienced attorneys will ensure your rights are protected. For a free consultation, contact us today.