Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationInsurance & Registration · 9 years ago

Car Accident. Fault Question?

Hello everyone, tonight I was involved in a car accident (i am okay) and Im wondering a little bit about how the insurance should favor. I let you know I do know I am "technically at fault here by Massachusetts law. Here is my situation. I was headed north on a back road. I reached an intersection for a highway. I head a solid red light so I came to a complete stop and let the person who had been stopped in the left lane in front of me turn to my right (west) the reason I say this is so I can prove I came to a complete stop. After looking left and right I did see a car with headlights on in the distance to my right. There are two reasons I began to proceed. First of all she was a great amount in the distance knowing the allowed speed limit and two she had a flashing yellow light which is to tell her to slow down and proceed with caution. As I preceded into the intersection about 1/2 already through. I was slammed into on my right side just about my door and tire. While I know it is confusing how i could be hit on the door going already 1/2 the way through the intersection is in kind of a turned position if that makes sense. Any we both got out, she was frantic and made me call the police calming she had no phone. A civilian saw are cars and was with the fire department and called giving proper code and coordinates. She then grabbed a phone out of her pocket and called a friend (im not saying this is important I just find it odd she made me call the police saying she had no phone and then called her friend. Any way the police get there and she goes off in an ambulance. (Now this is not so much important a I kind of just have to get it out. I am a teenager and Im sure your already thinking here we go another teen trying to get off but i assure you im just trying to better understand my rights. Any way the police officer pulled me to the side and asked if I had been smoking marijuana (which ive actually never done) and said becuase how calm I was. This kind of got to me that I was being persecuted for remaining calm.

All in all is there in any way I can fight fault because she had that flashing yellow light. When she hit me she did enough damage to total both cars. I was actually so blind sided that I didnt tense up and the only injury is from the seat belt around my neck.

My main to points are

- the flashing yellow

- and how hard she hit me. She clearly was going much to fast and not paying attention. Is there any way I can prove how fast she was going?


Alright thanks guys. But do I have no legal grounds that she was way above the speed limit with those yellow lights. I do understand I will receive the at fault immediately but there is no grounds what so ever she was driving recklessly. Especially because i was almost to the other side of the intersection. I do understand it sounds confusing how I got hit in front like i said but the intersection is on somewhat of a turn. I sort of feel as thought then its never safe to cross an intersection because someone could be going 150 and hit me. With the way things are now what was the purpose of the yellow lights?

Update 2:

@ Mark. Thank you, and yes I have never had any trouble otherwise. And if they were to say we were both at fault that would make more sense. She hit me hard enough to total both cars and push me into the edge of the woods. I dont believe I got any citations handed to me I dont know if thats how it works as I am new to this. But you kind of answered my question. How could she not have some fault, with that being the case there should be no yellow lights if that makes sense

Update 3:

HUGE EDIT. Just realized the confusion.

I had a solid red that is always red no matter what.

She had flashing yellow thats always flashing yellow no matter what.

So the lights never change color.

7 Answers

  • Joe
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You had the red, and the obligation to stop and yield to all cross traffic. The yellow flashing light the other driver had is an alert to encourage caution, but does not obligate a speed reduction.

    You are at fault. You're lucky if you did not get a "failure to yield" ticket.

    That doesn't make you a bad person. You're just still a fairly inexperienced driver who didn't do a good job estimating the other vehicle's speed.

  • 9 years ago

    Hi chickenboy, sorry to hear of your mishap. First thing, glad you were not hurt, secondly, did the police issue any citations to you or the other party involved? There is almost always a shared fault law on the books, and in this case- it seems that you may have a failure to give right of way issue and the other driver a failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident as well as a speeding charge. If you must appear in court, have some pictures of the wrecked vehicles or at least yours if you can't get one of hers. The intersection where it occurred, from both your position before the crash as well as her position before the crash. Sometimes there are features that prevented a clear view of the road or intersection that play a contributing role to the crash. If there are posted speed limit signs in the area near the scene, get a photo of them as well. Most of the time, a close guess of vehicle speed can be made based on the damage imposed on the involved vehicles. Since you were hit, and you did not hit her, chances are she was in fact driving too fast which means she broke the law and therefore contributed more to the crash. There will also be the angle that you are a new driver, and inexperienced as well. Make it clear in court if you have not had any other accidents or tickets or even warnings of any type of infraction as long as this is the case. If you have had other history of driving problems, or tickets, they will have access to this information so don't try to lie. I hope it all works out for you and just remember, everything that happens to you in life has a lesson to go along with it.. You will probably be much more cautious in the future and that is a good thing.

  • Ken G
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    As I understand your story you were driving at night and came to a solid, not flashing, red light and stopped to allow a car to pass in front of you. Then you proceeded and were hot in the right side by a car coming from your right.

    Had the solid red light turned green or was it still red when you continued into the intersection and had the collision?

    If you continued through a solid red light you were wrong.

    You say the lady who hit you had a flashing yellow light. How so? I've never heard of a flashing yellow perpendicular to a solid red traffic light.

    It is my understanding if you had a red light.... either flashing or solid you could not proceed legally until the intersection is clear and safe. You do not mention a green light so it seems you are totally at fault. It seems you simply misjudged the situation. I would go in two days to the police station and obtain a copy of the police report.

    Good Luck


    Additional comments:

    Your question of the purpose of yellow lights needs clarification. A yellow light indicates caution is needed for the roadway at the intersection. If the crossing is controlled by a stop signal then the yellow lighted lane has the right of way and the crossing traffic is burdened to yield the right-of-way. The question of who has the right of way is strict and derives from the rules of the road in marine navigation. In every crossing situation someone has the right of way and the crossing traffic is burdened to yield to the one with the right-of-way. While it may be correct the one from the right may have been speeding she apparently did have the right-of-way and had the right-of way been respected there would not have been an accident.

    I still think your constant red light was malfunctioning and should have been flashing. If so that may have led to your confusion.

    You were on a secondary road and came to an intersection with a highway. She probably had a 55 mph speed limit and yours would have been less. Her signal was a flashing yellow light. Yours was a red signal indicating to stop.

  • Where you issued a citation at the scene of the accident? If you were you are likely automatically at fault.

    Based on your description of the accident. You came to a stop and were struck be an oncoming vehicle whilst crossing the highway (or turning onto the highway). I was in a very similar accident when I was 17. I was at fault because the vehicle that struck me had right of way. Even if the other driver was distracted and speeding they had right of way. The fact that they struck the side of your vehicle will result in the insurance company determining you are at fault.

    They are not going to send in a forensic team to determine the speed of her vehicle or other factors at play. You are going to take an at fault on your record and pay a ridiculous insurance premium for the next few years.

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    The law would look at it as she entered an intersection under caution, meaning she entered without making sure it was clear, that's what the yellow light was for, meaning caution, she is at fault, unfortunately most little girls are under the impression that a yellow light means speed up the light is about to turn red, you should have no problem winning your case. and I got a dollar says she was probably on her cell phone when she hit you

  • 9 years ago

    I don't see how you can be held at fault, most officers on the scene determine who is more at fault and explain to the insurance company what the road situation was, you can fight fault if you can document the lights were flashing and that you did come to a complete stop before you started to proceed through.. Slot of people even here in DC don't pay attention to the small things and infact cause alot of accidents.

  • 9 years ago

    It sounds to me like you are at fault for proceeding when it wasn't safe to do so. It's very hard to judge a vehicle's speed when it's coming toward you. "When in doubt, wait it out". Also you never make the assumption that a vehicle is going to slow down even if there's a yellow flashing light.

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