As a personal injury attorney in Plantation, I am fielding more and more phone calls from clients involved in a major car accident where both parties allege the other party was at-fault for “running the light” with no citation issue.
Involved in a major car accident where one party “runs the light” and no citation issued?
The facts of these major car accidents typically follow the same pattern. One vehicle is attempting to turn left on a solid “yellow-red” light; the other vehicle speeds up in an attempt to “make the yellow light”. The vehicles collide in a “t-bone” type fashion at a high rate of speed. These accidents routinely occur at busy intersections during rush hour. Law enforcement arrives to two inoperable vehicles with tremendous body damage. Oftentimes, one or more of the occupants require emergency medical treatment for neck and back injuries. Despite the tremendous impact, as the police officer wasn’t present for the accident and both drivers give conflicting stories, the police officer usually does not issue a citation to either party unless an independent witness can verify their story.
Can I pursue a personal injury claim against the other driver if he/she was not cited for the accident?
YES. You can file a personal injury claim regardless if someone was (or was not) cited for the accident. In fact, it is irrelevant whether either party was cited for the accident.
In pre-suit negotiations, it is helpful if the other party was cited for the accident as it provides our accident attorneys leverage in negotiations. In a personal injury case one of the elements an attorney must prove involves liability (who is at fault and at what percentage) – the other elements are causation (of the injuries claimed) and damages (from the injuries). Clearly it is to our benefit if we only have to negotiate over causation and damages, and not liability.
Surprisingly to most, in Florida, police reports are NOT admissible at trial. A police officer cannot opine who was at fault, even if he/she is 100% confident that one party “ran the light” or “was speeding” unless he/she actually observed the accident. Additionally, any conversations made by the driver to the police officer on scene are privileged pursuant to the “accident report privilege”. A driver can tell the police officer at the scene of the crash that he was going 100 mph and later change his story to indicate that he was going only 40 mph with absolutely no recourse. Additionally, a driver will oftentimes tell his/her insurance company that he/she was NOT at fault, in the hopes that his/her insurance rates do not increase.
Accident with no citation issued, who does the jury believe?
Assuming the case does not resolve pre-suit or at mediation, the case may proceed to trial. After hearing testimony, the jury may believe you are 0% at fault, 100% at fault, or anywhere in between (apportion liability). Florida follows a pure comparative negligence rule. This allows for the injured party bringing their claim to be up to 99% at fault for their injuries and still recover 1% of the settlement.
What damages can I recover after a major car accident where the other driver “runs the light” with no citation issued?
Due to the high rate of speed, these types of car accidents often cause major injuries (back and neck) to the driver, and especially the passengers of the vehicle which is “t-boned”. In an accident where one driver is making a left turn on a yellow and the other driver is “running the light”, the impact occurs at the front passenger quarter panel, front passenger door or rear passenger door. As a result, the front seat / back seat passengers of the tuning vehicle absorb most of the impact. The occupants of the vehicle can recover past and future medical bills, lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering (which could be significant).
Remember, your automobile insurance will cover 80% of your first $10,000.00 in medical bills. If you do not own a vehicle, another individual’s PIP coverage may be available. Please contact one of our experienced attorneys with any questions regarding your available PIP benefits.
Injured in major car accident from a driver running a red light – our accident attorneys can help
Our experienced accident attorneys will present your case to the at-fault insurance company (and possibly a jury) in a light most favorable to your position. We will speak with witnesses, hire an investigator and subpoena cell phone records to show that the other driver’s negligence (i.e. texting and driving, in a rush to get home) caused this accident. Even if the police officer did not issue a citation, you still can be compensated for your injuries. You will not have go this alone – we can help!
Call the Plantation car accident attorneys of Lyons, Snyder & Collin today for a free consultation. We are available 24/7 at 954.462.8035.