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Chicago Red Light Accident Lawyer

Red light accidents in Chicago provide unique challenges. In a traffic light accident, one car usually proceeds through the intersection during a red light or when the driver otherwise does not have right of way turning left into oncoming red on a green light without a turn arrow, for example.

That’s especially true in Chicago, where diagonal streets like Milwaukee, Elston, and Lincoln cross major grid streets and form unusual, complicated six-way signaled intersections. You can usually see the lights that control the traffic on roads other than the one you’re on, making it hard to tell which lights are telling you to go and which are telling you to stop. The snow and ice that frequently cover our roads in winter can make those intersections even more treacherous to navigate.

In just one year alone, more than 900 people lost their lives in accidents at intersections controlled by traffic lights. Even more suffered severe injuries. Evaluating these accidents can prove tricky and you will want to call the Chicago red light accident attorneys at Abels & Annes to support you throughout the process.

How Common Are Red Light Accidents?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an estimated 143,000 people suffered injuries in red light accidents in 2019 alone, and nearly 850 others died. According to a comprehensive study by the AAA Foundation, red light accident fatalities hit their 10-year high in a recent year. Every day, at least two people die in crashes involving a driver running a red light.

Nearly a third of all motorists in the United States (31 percent) admit to running a red light at least once in the past 30 days, according to a national telephone survey conducted by the AAA Foundation. At the same time, over 86 percent of drivers agree that running red lights is “extremely dangerous.”

What Are the Most Common Red Light Accidents?

Accidents involving drivers who fail to stop at red lights lead to various crashes.

Some of the most common types of collisions resulting from a driver’s failure to stop at a red light include but are not limited to:

  • T-bone accidents
  • Side-impact collisions
  • Rear-end crashes
  • Head-on collisions
  • Rollover accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Truck crashes
  • Multi-vehicle accidents (pile-ups)

Any accident resulting from red-light running can lead to devastating injuries and property damage. If you suffered injuries in a red light accident, a knowledgeable attorney can help you pursue compensation for your losses and damages.

About Abels & Annes

David Abels and Gary Annes founded our award-winning firm in 2008 to help injured people recover from the accidents that other people and entities caused. Since then, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Among our recent successes, we helped to obtain:

  • $3,000,000 for catastrophic injuries after a crash
  • $825,000 for a client with injuries after a rear-ender
  • $600,000 policy limits settlement for a passenger
  • $460,000 for surgeries to repair a herniated disc after a Chicago car accident
  • $250,000 for surgeries to repair a herniated disc after a car accident
  • $220,000 for the wrongful death of two minor children who were fatally injured in a car accident
  • $200,000 in compensation for two herniated discs after a drunk driver struck our client
  • $135,000 after a driver failed to yield while making a left turn and injured our client
  • $125,000 for a shoulder injury after a rear-end car accident
  • $105,000 for a Chicago car accident

In addition to good reviews from happy clients, our peers have recognized us for our accomplishments through the awards we have earned from Super Lawyers, AVVO, and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

We cannot promise you results similar to the ones listed above, but our Chicago red light accident lawyers know our city well. We know its intersections and what to look for when an accident takes place in one. Please call us now so we can evaluate your case and see what we can do to help you.

Who Can Become a Victim of a Red Light Accident?

While anyone can become a victim of an automobile collision when someone blows through a red light, the following road users are more likely to get hurt in such accidents:

  • Bicyclists proceeding through the intersection
  • Pedestrians crossing the street
  • Drivers making a left turn or remaining stopped at a red light
  • Drivers proceeding through the intersection when they have the right of way

You deserve compensation for your losses if you suffered injuries because someone decided to run a red light, disobeying traffic rules, and putting you and others at risk of injury.

Injuries in Red Light Accidents

People involved in red light accidents are at risk of severe injuries because these collisions often occur at high speeds.

A victim of a car crash caused by red-light running may suffer any of the following injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Concussion
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Neck injury
  • Loss of a limb
  • Soft-tissue injury
  • Lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Burn injuries

These injuries may result in expensive medical treatment and prevent the injured party from working and enjoying their normal life. The financial burden associated with injuries resulting from red-light accidents can take a toll on the victim and his/her family. That is why it is essential to seek compensation for your losses by pursuing a claim or lawsuit against the driver who ran a red light.

Who Is at Fault in Red Light Accidents?

In the vast majority of car wrecks caused by red-light running, the fault for the accident is quite obvious. The driver who fails to stop at a red light and attempts to cross into the intersection when other drivers have the right of way will be at fault for causing the collision. However, there may be exceptions to the general rule. In some cases, other drivers may share fault for a red light accident, even if they entered the intersection on a green light.

Each case is unique, which is why a victim might need the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney to determine fault for the accident. However, gathering and preserving all available pieces of evidence at the scene of the red light accident will help your attorney prove your claim and obtain maximum compensation on your behalf.

Four Things About Accidents at Red Lights You Should Know

Here’s four things you need to know.

1. Chicago red light accidents can quickly turn into “He said/she said” scenarios.

At a red light, the normal flow of traffic allows each driver to proceed through the intersection, with the traffic light determining which segment of traffic has the right of way. Unfortunately, that can make it difficult to determine which driver ignored the right of way and the proper flow of traffic during an accident. Often, it devolves into a “he said/she said” argument in which no one, potentially including the two drivers involved, really knows who ran a red light.

Evidence to prove that the other motorist did not have the right of way may include:

  • Witness statements. Independent witnesses those who did not drive or ride as a passenger in one of the vehicles in the accident can give an unbiased statement about the accident. Witnesses may give a clearer picture of how the accident occurred than either driver. Unfortunately, memory can fade quickly after an accident, especially if the witness felt traumatized. Getting a statement soon after the accident may prove critical to ensuring an accurate statement.
  • Camera footage. Some drivers use dash cameras to help provide evidence in the case of an accident. Dash cameras show a full, unbiased account of the accident and what led to it, at least from that vehicle’s point of view. Camera footage may also come from traffic cameras, which can display clear, overhead views of the accident and how both vehicles behaved moving into the intersection. In some cases, there might be security camera footage from local businesses positioned to catch the red light.

Evidence can disappear quickly after an accident. The sooner you start working with a personal injury attorney, the more evidence your attorney can collect to build a strong case on your behalf.

2. It may take independent evidence to prove who caused an accident at a red light.

Police officers responding to the scene of the accident may struggle to clearly determine who caused the accident. Fault in a Chicago red light accident relies on knowing which driver failed to yield the right of way that is, which driver chose to proceed through the intersection despite a red light. Unfortunately, a responding officer may not know which light was red at the time of the accident on his own. In some cases, the driver that caused the accident may not even know for certain that the light was red, since an instant’s distraction can give the light enough time to change or prevent the driver from recognizing that challenge.

Evidence may include:

  • Witness statements. Independent witnesses those who did not drive or ride as a passenger in one of the vehicles in the accident can give an unbiased statement about the accident. Witnesses may give a clearer picture of how the accident occurred than either driver. Unfortunately, memory can fade quickly after an accident, especially if the witness felt traumatized. Getting a statement soon after the accident may prove critical to ensuring an accurate statement.
  • Camera footage. Some drivers use dash cameras to help provide evidence in the case of an accident. Dash cameras show a full, unbiased account of the accident and what led to it, at least from that vehicle’s point of view. Camera footage may also come from traffic cameras, which can display clear, overhead views of the accident and how both vehicles behaved moving into the intersection. In some cases, there might be security camera footage from local businesses positioned to catch the red light.

Evidence can disappear quickly after an accident. The sooner you start working with our Chicago red light accident attorneys, the easier we can collect the vital evidence you need.

3. A driver confessing fault at any time can serve to establish liability in a red light accident.

After a Chicago red light accident, as with any type of auto accident, you should avoid any statement that could indicate fault in the accident. If a driver admits fault, even in a seemingly minor way, it could cause the balance of liability to shift in the accident. On the other hand, if the other driver does confess liability, you should ensure that the police officer that responds to the scene takes note, since this could help establish liability legally and put you in a better position to get the compensation you deserve.

4. Many factors can contribute to Chicago red light accidents.

Most Chicago drivers do not set out to deliberately run red lights. Several factors, however, can substantially increase the risk of Chicago red light accidents:

  • Driver distraction. Chicago’s red lights can change quickly in some cases, faster than the driver anticipates. A moment’s distraction can cause the driver to miss the light changing. Anything from fumbling for an item in the vehicle to checking a text message or answering a call can cause a driver to lose focus on the road and increase the risk of an accident.
  • Speeding. A speeding driver may struggle to stop fast enough at a Chicago red light, especially on a short yellow light. The driver may choose to proceed on through the intersection rather than slamming on his brakes, or he may not have the chance to stop before an accident occurs. The higher the rate of speed, the greater the likelihood of an accident.
  • Ignoring a yellow light. Yellow light lengths vary across the nation. Drivers should use yellow lights as a warning to slow down and stop, not an invitation to speed up and try to make it through the light before it changes. Rushing to get through a yellow light can quickly lead to an accident.
  • Rushing to make a left turn without an arrow. Impatient drivers who are forced to wait for a long time at an intersection may attempt to speed through a left turn during a small break in traffic. Unfortunately, that break may not leave enough time for the driver to get safely through the light, resulting in an accident.
  • Reckless driving. Some Chicago drivers do attempt to run red lights deliberately, either to make up time or because they do not want to stop. Such reckless driving substantially increases the risk of accidents.

How Effective Are Red Light Cameras?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), red-light cameras have effectively discouraged motorists from blowing red lights. It means that drivers are more likely to obey the law and stop at a red light when they know that someone is watching them.

The IIHS reports that red-light cameras have been effective in reducing fatal crashes resulting from red-light running in large cities by an estimated 21 percent. If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a red light accident, consider contacting an experienced attorney to gain access to the footage from the red light camera. The footage will be a valuable piece of evidence in your legal case against the reckless driver who caused the accident.

Can You Sue a Driver Who Ran a Red Light?

Yes, you can file a lawsuit against the driver who failed to stop at a red light and caused your accident. Suing the at-fault driver may help you maximize your compensation because you will not be limited to the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits. Pursuing a lawsuit will also allow you to seek compensation for non-economic damages such as emotional distress, pain, suffering, and others.

Can You Sue the City if a Traffic Light Malfunctioned?

It is not uncommon for traffic lights to malfunction. But what if the malfunction contributed to your car accident? Traffic lights may malfunction as a result of power outages, lightning storms, vandalism, or improper maintenance.

When traffic lights malfunction and contribute to a collision, the injured party can potentially file a lawsuit against the city or another government entity responsible for maintaining the light. If power outages caused the malfunction, maybe you cannot hold the city responsible for the crash. However, if the city fails to maintain the traffic light in good condition, you can.

What Damages Can You Recover After a Red Light Accident?

Depending on the type and severity of your injuries, you may recover from the at-fault party:

  • The cost of medical treatment (past and future medical bills), rehabilitation, and physical therapy
  • Property damage (the cost of repairing or replacing your car)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement

If someone you love died in a red light accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party to obtain reimbursement for the funeral and burial costs and seek compensation for the loss of support, loss of companionship, lost wages, and other damages.

How Can a Red Light Accident Attorney Help?

When you hire an attorney to help you handle your legal case following a red light accident, your attorney may:

  • Investigate your accident
  • Request footage from the red light camera
  • Gather all available pieces of evidence to determine fault
  • Interview witnesses
  • Handle all communications with the insurance company
  • Determine the value of your claim to know what compensation will be fair in your case
  • Negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf
  • If you cannot settle, file a lawsuit and represent your best interests in court

You might want to start working on your legal case as soon as possible to increase your chance of a positive outcome. A skilled attorney will help you understand your compensation options to make sure that you receive fair compensation for your losses and damages.

Many people try to handle these complicated situations on their own and end up with far less than they deserve. Do not risk your financial future seek legal assistance now.

Call Abels & Annes’s Chicago Red Light Accident Lawyers Today

Determining liability in a Chicago red light accident can prove incredibly difficult without significant evidence or a direct admission of liability. If you suffer catastrophic injuries in a red light accident, however, an experienced Chicago red light accident attorney at Abels & Annes can help.

Get in touch with our Chicago red light accident lawyers as soon after your accident as possible it will make it easier to collect evidence that can help prove liability and make it easier for you to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

You can reach us anytime for a free case evaluation at (312) 924-7575 or through our online contact form.


Client Testimonial

“This firm was great to work with. Very fast and understanding. Every time I called I was able to receive an update about my case and always had a polite conversation. I was able to get through my case with less stress then I anticipated. I will be sure to come back if I am ever in need of their services again.”

Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Darryl W.
March 2020
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Client Reviews

★★★★★ I had no trouble reaching my attorney at any time. I was always updated on the case. I could text him, call him, or leave him a message and he would get back to me. Dave
★★★★★ After contacting several law firms, I sent an email to Dave [Abels] and he responded fairly quickly, asked me several questions, and took the case straight away. From there forward, it was simple and easy. Nik
★★★★★ These guys were great to work with. At the end of the day, tough case and all, Abels & Annes helped us get enough to pay our bills and then some. My wife has now recovered and we are able to move forward without the cloud of a huge medical debt. Brett
★★★★★ They were very detailed and communicated well. I felt very secure with professional looking out for my interests. They didn’t talk down to me and explained things in terms I understood. Robin
★★★★★ Everything was pretty smooth and there was a lot of communication between my attorney and myself. I am really happy with my settlement and I got more than what I expected. Arturo
★★★★★ I would give Abels & Annes an A+, a 10, they have far exceeded my expectations. Professional, direct, very educated and very honest. Molly
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