What Should I Do if a Defective Traffic Light Caused My Car Accident?

November 30, 2020

When considering the many factors that cause car accidents, some reasons occur more often than others. For instance, malfunctioning traffic lights do not happen often, but nonetheless, they confuse drivers into making wrong decisions. Traffic lights help guide drivers safely on the road. When drivers lose that guidance, serious accidents and injuries can happen.

Determining liability in a car accident case can be difficult. It could be even more complex if a defective traffic light was involved. If liability is in question, the best option for a driver is to contact a skilled lawyer to help sort through the situation.

Why Do Traffic Lights Malfunction?

When a traffic light malfunctions, it can either flash red or yellow, or go out completely. This limited operation can confuse drivers at all points of the intersection, leading to unavoidable accidents.

Several events can cause a broken traffic light, including:

  • Local power outages
  • Power surges caused by lightning storms
  • Damages to the intersection, including transformers or other traffic light poles being struck
  • Illegal tampering, like vandalism or other criminal acts
  • Normal wear

The local government is responsible for maintaining traffic light operations, but blame does not necessarily fall on them. It can be extremely difficult to prove the city is responsible for any damages, requiring money and time that most citizens could not afford. Mostly, they would only be negligent if they were aware of the defective traffic light and did not attempt to have the issue resolved.

What Should I Do if I See a Broken Traffic Light?

Whether a defective traffic light is flashing red, yellow, or is out entirely, drivers are obligated to still follow the rules of the road. If a driver is approaching a malfunctioning traffic light, they should do the following:

Flashing Red Lights: If a traffic light is flashing red, a driver must make a complete stop before the intersection or crosswalk. A flashing red light must be treated like a stop sign, and drivers should only proceed with caution after coming to complete stops.

Flashing Yellow Lights: A flashing yellow light warns drivers to proceed with caution. Drivers should slow down and observe traffic carefully, and proceed only when it is safe to do so.

No Lights: An inoperable traffic light should be treated like a four-way stop. Each driver should stop completely and proceed cautiously if the situation is safe.

Should I Obtain Legal Representation?

Regardless of the cause of the defective traffic light, a driver needs to react safely and in accordance with traffic laws. Failing to do so will likely cause a car accident.  If a car accident happens because one driver failed to follow traffic laws, the injured driver should gather as many evidence as possible. Additionally, the victim should speak to a lawyer about a personal injury claim.

Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Determine Liability in Complex Car Accident Cases

A defective traffic light can complicate a car accident case. If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by a broken traffic light or negligent driver, we can help. Our Delaware County car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. protect the rights of innocent car crash victims. Contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701 for a free consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.