Even if you are a careful and safe driver, there is still a risk that you could be involved in a major accident.
According to The Seattle Times, Washington saw more fatal and serious car accidents in 2021 than it has in the past 15 years. Car accidents happen in a wide range of different ways. However, one relatively common type of crash involves yellow light accidents.
This raises an important question: Who is at fault for a yellow light crash in Washington? I
In this article, our Yakima car accident attorneys provide an overview of the most important things that drivers need to know about let turn yellow light accidents in Washington.
Yellow Light Accident Statistics
More than 50% of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near an intersection. Therefore, it is always important to proceed through intersections with caution.
Speaking of intersections, yellow lights are some of the most important traffic signals. They decrease the odds of red-light running and increase overall traffic safety. However, when someone speeds through a yellow light, it can have deadly consequences. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than two people every day are killed in the United States by a driver running a red light.
Yellow Light Accident Fault: Explained
Officially, a yellow light is a warning light, and it is not illegal to go through a yellow light. It tells drivers to slow down and that the light is about to change to red. Of course, in reality, the message that most people receive is something more like “hurry up, get through this light before it goes red.”
While yellow light accidents do take a number of different forms, most of them share a common characteristic: One driver is going straight, another driver is attempting to make a left turn, and both of them are driving to hurry through the intersection before the light turns red.
So who is a fault for a left turn accident at a yellow light? As a general rule, the driver who is turning left will be responsible for the accident. Before making a left-hand turn, all drivers have a legal duty to ensure that the road is clear and that they have sufficient time to safely move their car through the intersection.
That being said, all yellow light accidents must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Other factors could potentially shift the blame. Things like speeding, distracted driving, and or other unsafe vehicle maneuvers can cause the blame to shift from the left-turner to the other driver in the accident. In some cases, drivers may even share the blame for a yellow light crash.
Is Fault Disputed? Evidence Matters
It is important to remember that Washington is a fault-based car accident jurisdiction. A plaintiff must be able to prove that the other driver is at fault for the crash.
If fault over your yellow light accident is disputed, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Yakima car crash lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to help take action to investigate the collision and secure all relevant evidence.
This can include everything from police reports and photographs to witness statements and expert testimony. The sooner you get a lawyer by your side, the easy it will be to gather and present relevant evidence.
What Damages Can I Recover From a Yellow Light Accident?
While the exact amount of damages you can recover is best explained by a yellow light accident attorney, there are some common types of damages that are recovered from yellow light accidents. These damages are categorized into two types: pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.
Pecuniary damages stem from quantifiable losses—in other words, losses that are easy to calculate. Non-pecuniary damages, on the other hand, compensate people for losses that are intangible in nature. Some examples of each follow.
Pecuniary damages often include:
- Hospital bill costs,
- Costs of medication,
- Costs of physical therapy,
- Property damage costs,
- Lost wages, and
- Expenses that resulted directly from the accident.
These are just some of the pecuniary damages that you may be able to recover after a yellow light accident.
Non-pecuniary damages can include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of consortium,
- Permanent disfigurement, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
These categories of non-pecuniary damages can be explained in more detail by your yellow light accident lawyer.
Contact Our Yakima, WA Car Accident Lawyers Today
At Kapuza Lighty, PLLC, our top-rated Yakima auto accident attorneys have extensive experience handling personal injury claims. If you or your loved one was hurt in a yellow light accident, we are here to help. To schedule a free, no obligation review of your car crash case, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team online or call (509) 866-4166 today.