I Was Injured In A Car Accident. Can I Still File A Claim If The At-Fault Party Was Not Given A Ticket?
Yes! … and this is an extremely common question.
Imagine this …
You are traveling Westbound through a green light. Another driver is traveling Eastbound through a green light. He decides to make a left turn to go Northbound. He has a green light, but not a green arrow. A crash occurs. The police arrive.
As you were traveling straight through a green light you have the right of way.
Unfortunately, the other driver tells the officer that he had a green light and/or you ran the red light.
The officer issues a police report listing the other driver as “Vehicle 1” but does NOT give a citation to either party due to “conflicting statements”.
Can you still file a claim if you are injured?
Yes, but you should contact an attorney before calling your insurance company.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 316.122: Vehicle Turning Left. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, or vehicles lawfully passing on the left of the turning vehicle, which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.
As a result, the vehicle in this fact pattern turning left on a green light (not a green arrow) shall yield to you. Whether the vehicle is turning on a green light is mostly irrelevant, as you are traveling the right of way through a green light. A police officer should know to issue a citation to the driver turning left on green.
This scenario also applies to vehicles turning left (or right) from a street into a shopping plaza, park, or school, etc. The driver turning into the right of way should be ticketed as the at-fault party.
Although police reports are inadmissible at trial, insurance adjusters rely upon police reports when making liability determinations. Experienced personal injury attorneys know that “vehicle 1”on the crash report is deemed to be the at-fault driver, even without an accompanying citation. Experienced personal injury attorneys also know that the at-fault driver will almost always tell their insurance company that THEY had a green light and/or you ran the red light. As a result, do NOT speak to either insurance company without first speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer. The insurance companies will ask you questions in an attempt to deny your claim or reduce their percentage of liability. Common questions include, “What did you do to avoid the crash?”, “How fast were you traveling?”, “Did the other vehicle crash into you or did you crash into them?” and “Why didn’t you see the other vehicle turning?” Don’t get tripped up with these questions. Let us tell your story for you.
Repairs to your vehicle
In “contested liability” cases, the at-fault party may refuse to repair your vehicle’s damage until liability can be determined by an independent arbitrator. This process can take months. As a result, we sometimes recommend that your insurance company repair your vehicle. Your insurance company will then subrogate (or collect back) any deductibles from the at-fault party’s insurance once liability is determined. Please call us with any questions – we’re happy to explain.
Witnesses / Evidence
How can you help us convince the insurance companies that the other party was at-fault?
If possible, get the name and number of any witness who observed the crash who can say that your light was green.
Call us as soon as possible after the crash – and before you call either insurance company. In some cases, especially ones with the possibility of significant injuries, we can seek to preserve the vehicles so our expert can download the at-fault’s vehicle’s black box or “EDR” to determine their speed and whether they attempted to brake before impact. Never discuss your injuries with an insurance adjuster without first speaking with an experienced attorney.
Don’t worry if the other party did not get the citation – especially if they are listed as “vehicle 1” on the crash report. You should, however, call us as soon as possible to open the claim and advocate on your behalf. You can still receive up to $10,000.00 in medical treatment through your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage while the parties fight over liability. On contested liability cases, it is NOT in your best interest to go this alone.
Contact a Coral Springs Car Accident Lawyer
At Lyons & Snyder, we know how to help car accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact one of our Coral Springs car accident lawyers today to discuss your case.