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Red Light Crashes in Maryland and Who May Be at Fault

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Dec 16, 2021 in Car Accidents

liability for red traffic light crashes
Far too many people are killed in red light crashes each year by drivers who ignore traffic signals. Motorists who break the law in this way risk causing serious harm to themselves and others.

At Goldberg Finnegan, we are deeply committed to helping crash victims injured by negligent or reckless drivers. Proving fault for a red light crash can be challenging, but our Silver Spring car crash attorneys are experienced and ready to help. Call to learn more.

Proven Results. No Upfront Costs. (888) 213-8140

Who May Be at Fault for Causing a Red-Light Crash?

Establishing fault for a red-light crash is challenging. Even if the other party gets ticketed for running a red light, it is still up to the plaintiff (injured party filing a claim) to prove there was negligence. 

Having an experienced attorney on your side may benefit your ability to seek compensation. He or she will know that, with or without a traffic ticket, there may be other evidence that can help establish negligence, such as:

  • Camera footage
  • The location of the vehicles at rest after the collision
  • Type of damages the vehicles sustained
  • Witnesses who saw the crash
  • An officer who may have seen the collision
  • Evidence provided by an accident reconstruction specialist

That said, in Maryland, the plaintiff cannot be assessed with any degree of fault for the crash. Under the state's pure contributory negligence system, any degree of fault would bar the plaintiff from being able to recover compensation.

Is It Illegal to Run a Traffic Light in Maryland?

Yes, in fact, running a red light is against the law in every state. In Maryland, according to MD transportation code § 21-202 (2013), running a red light is a misdemeanor offense.

Violators of Maryland's red light traffic law will receive the following:

  • Red light ticket assessed: An exception may apply if you ran a red light to allow an emergency vehicle to pass or if you were part of a funeral procession.
  • Fines: Typically, the fine is $140 for running a light; the fine can be greater if the violation leads to a crash that causes the injury or death of another person.
  • Demerit points: Drivers will receive two points on their license for running a red light; too many points will lead to a suspended license.
  • Reckless driving conviction: This is an additional charge some drivers may receive, depending on the circumstances of the collision.
  • Vehicular manslaughter: Violators may be charged with this offense when a red-light crash causes the death of another person.

What if You Ran a Red Light by Accident?

Typically, drivers run a red light when trying to beat a yellow traffic signal or by ignoring a light that is already signaling red. In either situation, it is a violation of the law, regardless of whether the driver only intended to beat the yellow. Running a red light, even by accident, can lead to a serious or fatal collision.

How Can You Avoid Being Involved in a Red-Light Crash? 

Drivers can best avoid causing a red-light crash by obeying traffic laws. However, that does not help you avoid others who break the law. So how do you also protect yourself from a red-light runner?

Here are a few steps you can take to further reduce the odds of a red-light accident:

  • Address the Yellow Light Dilemma Zone: This is the zone where drivers must decide if they have time to drive through the intersection. In Maryland, it is not illegal to enter an intersection on a yellow light. However, you cannot account for what other drivers might do. What if the oncoming driver jumps the green light? If the light changes red as you go through the intersection at the same time, a crash could result. Regardless of who had the right-of-way, this could place you in severe danger.
  • Slow Down: Obeying the posted speed limits helps drivers to navigate through traffic lights more safely and efficiently, giving more time to respond in a dangerous situation.
  • Remain Alert: You may only get one chance to make the right decision. Talking, texting or even tending to a child can distract you from driving safely and lead to a serious red-light crash.
  • Wait before going on a green: Taking an extra second to make sure oncoming traffic has stopped before you proceed through the intersection could prevent a crash.

Injured by a Driver Who Ran a Red Light? Call Our Firm for Legal Help Today

If you suffered serious harm because of a red-light runner, you may have a valid claim for compensation.

At Goldberg and Finnegan, we have the staff and resources to build a solid case on your behalf, and we are ready to help. Our firm has a history of proven results, recovering more than $130 million on behalf of our clients. This successful track record includes a $1.5 million recovery for the victim of a serious car crash.

We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your situation and whether you may have a valid claim. There is no risk or obligation for this meeting. If you decide to hire our services, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay. We do not collect any payment unless we recover compensation for you.

Our Trusted Lawyers are Here to Help. (888) 213-8140

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