Intersections can be dangerous places for drivers, particularly when negligent drivers disobey traffic signals or ignore the right-of-way rules. Suppose you suffered a severe injury in a car accident at an intersection. In that case, a personal injury lawyer could help you understand your right to compensation and start building a case to support your claim. The first step is determining who was liable and what avenue to compensation is most amenable to your situation.
What Are Some Common Causes of Car Accidents at Intersections?
A significant number of car accidents occur at intersections, and human error is typically at the root of these issues. Some of the most common causes of collisions occurring at intersections include:
- Driving while distracted, including talking or texting on a cell phone, eating, or any action that manually or cognitively diverts attention from the road
- Failing to yield to bicyclists turning at an intersection
- Failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk
- Attempting to outrun a yellow light
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Falling to follow the rules of right-of-way
- Passing near or in an intersection
- Following another vehicle too closely
Pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and any type of vehicle are all vulnerable to injury at an intersection. Additionally, each has specific traffic laws that apply to their duty of care on the road. Therefore, if you suffered an injury and need to fill an at-fault claim to recover your losses, the first step is determining who is liable for damages.
Who Is Liable for a Collision at an Intersection?
Identifying the at-fault party in a car accident starts with understanding who violated traffic laws. That is a component of a solid negligence claim. To prove someone’s negligence, you must support the following these elements:
- The person you claim is at fault owes you a duty to uphold traffic laws.
- That person also failed to keep that duty and caused an accident.
- The accident was the direct cause of your injuries, and your injuries resulted in the losses named in your claim.
Without these elements, you do not have a valid negligence claim. Additionally, without damages, you have no reason to file. However, the first element is already presumed. Everyone present at an intersection owes everyone else a duty to abide by traffic laws and ensure their actions are reasonably safe. Therefore, if you assume a driver violated a rule of the road, first consider the right-of-way laws that apply at intersections.
Right-of-Way Traffic Laws at Controlled Intersections
A controlled intersection will have traffic lights at least partially dedicated to how people interact with one another. Anyone not abiding by the traffic signals would be liable for the accident. For example, if someone runs a red light and crashes into another vehicle, that person is obviously at fault. Similarly, someone making a left turn at a green light must still yield for on-coming traffic if the light does not contain a green arrow.
Right-of-Way Traffic Laws for Intersections With Stop Signs
Four-way stops and two-way stops have specific right-of-way allowances. At a four-way stop, the general understanding is that you go in the same order you arrived. In a two-way stop, the chances of a dangerous collision are higher because only two points in the intersection must make a complete stop. Overall, the concept is simple. The person not adhering to the right-of-way laws is at fault, and sometimes more than one person is liable.
How Does No-Fault Insurance Impact Your Ability To File a Claim?
In Massachusetts, you may not even need to consider the question of liability. Among the state-mandated insurance requirements is a no-fault auto insurance policy for any registered vehicle operated by a licensed driver. This type of insurance, called personal injury protection insurance, covers medical expenses, lost income, and the cost of replacement services associated with the accident. The question of liability is not a factor in whether or not you can receive coverage. However, there are disadvantages to the no-fault system. For example, you can only recover 75% of your lost income, and most policies only cover up to $8,000 in expenses before capping out. Additionally, you cannot access non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering.
However, if you incur more than $2,000 in medical bills or your injuries include broken bones, severe disfigurement, or loss of sight or hearing abilities, you do not need to adhere to the no-fault method. Instead, you can bypass making a PIP insurance claim and file against the at-fault driver.
What Can You Do After an Accident at an Intersection To Protect Your Rights?
What you do in the aftermath of an intersection collision can help or hurt your fault-based claim. Some things you should do include:
- File a police report. Even if the injuries and vehicular damages are minor, contact the police. You can call 911 for emergency services or contact the non-emergency line to dispatch an officer.
- See a doctor. A common mistake people make is to avoid seeking a medical evaluation following a car accident for fear of medical bills. However, if you wait too long to seek help, the insurance company can use that as an excuse to deny or undervalue your claim. Additionally, you risk exacerbating severe internal injuries by delaying treatment.
- Avoid discussing the case. From the moment the accident occurs, avoid talking about it to anyone at the scene other than the officer. You could unintentionally say something that could hurt your claim. It is likely in your best interests to refrain from social media until the case concludes.
Finally, consider talking to a dangerous intersection car accident lawyer. There are nuances to these cases that could impact your ability to collect compensation. However, an experienced attorney will ensure you have every available opportunity to collect compensation for your losses, and they handle the insurance company to protect you from unsavory tactics used to avoid a payout.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney for Your Case?
Suppose you suffer severe injuries from an accident at a dangerous intersection. In that case, you may need to file a fault-based claim or lawsuit to recover the compensation you need to store your monetary losses and lighten the heavy emotional burden. You have the right to carry out the legal process without help from anyone. However, every accident is different, and any number of circumstances can complicate your ability to recover adequate compensation to reflect what you lost. You can access a personal injury attorney with extensive experience helping car accident victims in Massachusetts.
You can contact our qualified team of legal professionals with expertise in personal injury law at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers as soon as moments after the accident occurs. We understand the need to acquire a fast settlement so you can put the whole episode behind you and start rebuilding the life you had or adapting to your new one. Additionally, we know the financial consequences of a serious car accident can be overwhelming. To help alleviate some of that strain, we work on contingency. The first promise made to our clients in the Stone Cold Guarantee states that we only get paid when you get paid. This means our legal services are free unless we secure a settlement or award for you. Contact Jason Stone Injury Lawyers at (800) 577-5188 to schedule a free case evaluation today. Someone is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer your questions. There’s No Obligation, Just Information (R).