Who is At Fault for a Yellow Light Accident?
We all know that running a red light is illegal and incredibly dangerous. It also opens that driver up to liability if he or she causes a crash in the intersection. Yellow light accidents, on the other hand, are a bit less clear. Determining fault in these cases tends to be more complicated, as Florida law allows for a lot more driver discretion when encountering a yellow light. For instance, while a red light clearly means stop and a green light means we can safely move forward, yellow lights provide a brief window where drivers basically have to decide whether they will proceed or not. Not all drivers in these scenarios will make the same call and whether that decision was reasonable will largely determine whether a driver is deemed negligent if someone is injured in a yellow light accident.
Permissive vs Restrictive Yellow Light Laws
There are two main approaches to traffic law when it comes to yellow lights: permissive yellow light law and restrictive yellow light law. Under the former, drivers can enter an intersection at any point during the entire interval of the yellow light and can:
- Legally be in the intersection; or
- Legally proceed through the intersection when the light turns red.
As long as the driver entered the intersection while the light was yellow, they would be in the clear. Restrictive yellow light laws, on the other hand, state that vehicles are not permitted to enter the intersection when the light is yellow unless they are able to clear the intersection before the light turns red, or if it’s unsafe to stop. Florida adheres to a permissive yellow light standard, which can have important implications for those who are involved in yellow light accidents.
Types of Yellow Light Accidents
There are a few common accident scenarios (involving yellow lights) that tend to occur over and over again in Florida, including situations in which:
- A driver stops upon approaching a yellow light and is rear-ended by another vehicle;
- A driver who is making a left turn fails to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming vehicle;
- A pedestrian is struck by a vehicle when a light turns yellow before he or she was finished crossing the road; or
- A driver accelerates through a yellow light, but collides with slowing or stopped traffic ahead.
Whether a driver is held liable for these types of yellow light crashes will depend on the facts of the case and whether a court deems a driver’s judgment reasonable based on the circumstances. For help investigating the cause of your own yellow light accident, please reach out to our experienced car accident legal team today.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
As long-time residents of Tampa, the legal team at Anderson & Anderson is well aware of how congested our city’s streets have become over the last decade. Unfortunately, this means that car accidents are also on the rise. If you were injured in a yellow light accident in Florida, you do not need to face insurers or the legal system on your own. Our dedicated Tampa car accident lawyers are here to help. Call us at 813-251-0072 to get started on your case today.