Obeying traffic signals—including stopping at red lights—is one of the first and most important rules people are taught when learning to drive. Sadly, red light running is both extremely dangerous and shockingly common. Although 85 percent of the drivers surveyed for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's latest Traffic Safety Culture Index agreed that running red lights is hazardous, nearly one in three admitted to having done so within the past 30 days.
Now the results of a 2019 data analysis conducted by the AAA Foundation sheds light on just how dangerous the practice of running red lights can be. According to the analysis, more than two people are killed in red light crashes every single day in the United States. A total of 939 people died in red light running accidents in 2017 alone—the highest number of fatalities since 2008, and a 28 percent increase since 2012.
If you were hurt in an accident caused by a driver who ran a red light, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and other losses. Here's what you need to know if you're considering taking legal action.
Blowing Through Red Lights Endangers Everyone on the Road
Drivers who run red lights aren't just putting themselves at risk. Though roughly 35 percent of people killed in red light running crashes were the offending driver, nearly half—46 percent—were passengers or occupants of the other involved vehicles, and more than 5 percent were pedestrians or bicyclists.
Red Light Running Accidents: Common Causes
Like most types of traffic accidents, red light running crashes are largely preventable. Some of the most common reasons that drivers slip through red lights, subsequently causing accidents, include:
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Misjudging the timing of the light
Injuries Associated With Red Light Running Crashes
Red light running accidents can lead to serious or even fatal injuries—and the injuries sustained by bicyclists and pedestrians is especially catastrophic. Common injuries associated with these types of crashes include:
- Severe abrasion injuries
- Broken or crushed bones
- Concussions or traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord damage, which can lead to varying degrees of temporary or permanent paralysis
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Lost limbs or amputations
- Psychological trauma
Potentially Available Damages
Victims of red light crashes can seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate you for losses that have a direct monetary value, such as accident-related medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for subjective, intangible losses like pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, scarring or disfigurement, reduced quality of life, and loss of enjoyment of life. A personal injury attorney can help you determine which damages may be applicable in your particular case.
Red Light Running Accident Wrongful Deaths
If your loved one was killed in a red light crash, you may have grounds to pursue a wrongful death claim. This type of lawsuit allows you to seek compensation for the financial and subjective value of your loved one's life, including lost benefits and wages they would have reasonably earned; and the loss of love, care, companionship, guidance, and other intangible benefits they would have provided.
Consult an Experienced Georgia Attorney About Your Car Crash Case
Red light running crashes are on the rise. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in such a crash, you may be entitled to compensation. The skilled attorneys with Van Sant Law can investigate your claim, help you understand your legal rights and options, and fight for a full and fair financial recovery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary consultation.