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You may have many questions when you are involved in a car wreck, we are here to help! We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions by head-on car accident victims in the area.

What happens if I accidentally blew a red light?

If you accidentally run a red light, you may be subject to a violation penalty. This will largely depend on whether red light cameras were installed where you ran the red light.

What percent of drivers admit to running red lights?

An estimated 21% drivers have admitted to running a red light in the last 30 days.

What if someone runs a red light in my car?

If someone is driving your car and runs a red light and a red light camera is present, you will be responsible for the violation fee or penalty for that incident.

If someone is involved in an auto accident in your car as a result of running a red light, their insurance company is responsible for covering their damages and those of the victims depending on the state.


Running a red light is a common cause of auto accidents. However, while it may seem straightforward as to who was at fault in these cases, it’s not always that simple.

The concept of assigning fault in a red light accident case can be more complex to determine, especially in terms of an insurance claim. This is particularly important for the victims involved.

If you’re a victim of this type of accident, you may be eligible to seek compensation for damages and losses.

A red light accident attorney can help you decide who was at fault and assist you in filing a claim and taking legal action if required.

Displaying stop lights, traffic red light and rear view of a car

About Fault In Red Light Accidents

While a driver may be at fault for a red light car accident, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are liable.

Fault means the person caused the accident, while liability is their responsibility to compensate victims for damages. A person can cause a traffic light accident without being liable.

Factors that affect whether the at-fault driver is liable for damages include:

  • Driver negligence
  • Unavoidable factors such as a faulty stop light
  • Weather and road conditions
  • Location of the accident
  • Speed

Other important components of fault include police reports, witness statements, and other drivers involved.

Red Light Accident Statistics

Red light running is one of the most common causes of car accidents.

The following are statistics related to traffic signal motor vehicle accidents in the United States:

  • An average of seven fatalities occur every day at traffic signal intersections.
  • One in three drivers have run a red light in the last 30 days.
  • Red traffic light accidents have accounted for nearly 9,000 deaths in the last 10 years.
  • In 2021, around 127,000 individuals experienced serious injuries due to red light runners.

Legal Options For Victims of Red Light Accidents

There are two primary types of legal options for victims involved in a red light motor vehicle accident. These include personal injury claims and wrongful death claims.

Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims are those filed for injuries sustained in an accident. Personal injuries can include physical injuries such as broken bones as well as abstract injuries like pain and suffering.

A personal injury claim allows individuals to seek compensation for these injuries.

For example, if you sustained an injury that prevented you from being able to work, you may receive compensation for lost wages.

Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim is filed when an accident victim loses a loved one in a car accident.

The claim is filed on behalf of the deceased to seek compensation for damages and costs related to the fatality. It also helps loved ones seek justice for the loss of their loved one.

What Causes Red Light Accidents?

There are several causes of red light car accidents. Some of these include:


Speeding is a common cause in red light accidents, as driving too fast makes it difficult to slow down in time to stop at the traffic signal. Speeding may also increase the likelihood of more severe injuries incurred by accident victims.

Attempting To Pass Through A Yellow Light

Some drivers may choose to attempt to pass through a yellow light rather than stop. This can increase the likelihood of running a red light, as many yellow lights only last between three to six seconds.

Not Slowing Down For A Yellow Light

A yellow light is a signal for drivers to slow down. However, some drivers continue to maintain their speed or even speed up to try to make it through a yellow light. This can result in a violation of traffic laws as well as an accident.

Attempting To Predict Light Changes

A driver may anticipate that a light is about to turn from red to green and begin to move forward. This is not only a red light violation, but can result in the driver moving into oncoming traffic if the light doesn’t change.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving, such as texting or eating while driving, takes the driver’s eyes off the road. This can result in the driver not seeing the traffic signal and running through it.

Drunk Driving

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (drugged driving) can also lead to a red light accident. Drivers who drink alcohol may have slower reflexes and decision-making abilities, making it difficult to stop in time.

Common Injuries In Red Light Accidents

The types of injuries incurred in a red light accident can vary significantly based on speed, severity of the crash, and other factors.

The following are some common injuries seen in accidents with red light runners:

  • Fatalities
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts and abrasions
  • Bruises
  • Dislocations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Head and neck injuries

National Red Light Rules

Throughout the nation, a red traffic signal light means ‘stop.’ If you enter an intersection while this light is red, you have committed a violation.

Additionally, at locations that allow a right turn on red, it is necessary to come to a complete stop before making this turn.

Red light cameras are present at many intersections nationwide and capture the image of a vehicle committing a moving violation at a traffic signal. This can result in a citation.

While red light cameras have reduced both violations and accidents, running red lights is still common and often causes a crash.

Drivers who run red lights, thereby causing an accident in the process, are typically found at fault for the accident.

Penalties For Running A Red Light Violation

The exact penalties for running a red light will vary based on the state you’re located in.

Example penalties for red light violations include:

  • Fines of up to $500
  • Jail time
  • Points deducted from a driver’s license
  • Increased insurance rates
  • Suspended license
  • Community service

In most cases, the severity and result of the violation will influence the type of penalty incurred.

How many offenses a person has can also play a role. For example, a first offense will likely warrant a smaller penalty. Someone with two or three offenses may face a more significant consequence.

Damages In Red Light Accident Claims

The primary purpose of filing a red light accident claim is to seek compensation for damages incurred in the crash.

There are several types of damages that may be relevant in this type of claim, including:

  • Medical bills and expenses: This damage covers costs related to injuries sustained that require medical attention. Hospital stays, medications, and surgeries are examples of medical expenses.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from being able to work for a period of time after the accident, you may be eligible for this type of compensation.
  • Lost earning capacity: This damage refers to an inability to earn what you once did due to damages incurred in the accident.
  • Pain and suffering: If you suffered emotional distress and/or pain due to the accident, you may be eligible for compensation for this damage.
  • Wrongful death: This damage is taken into account when you lose a loved one as a result of the motor vehicle accident.
  • Property damage: This refers to damage to any property, including your vehicle.

Factors In Red Light Crash Cases

When filing a personal injury claim in a red light crash case, there are several factors to consider.


While not always immediately clear, determining fault in a red light case is essential when filing a claim. This can include looking at which party committed a traffic violation.

In most cases, the at-fault driver is liable for any damages incurred in the car crash.

An experienced red light accident lawyer can help you determine who was at fault in these complex cases.


The level of negligence on behalf of the at-fault driver is also an important component of these cases.

Not all at-fault motorists were acting in a negligent manner when they caused the crash. For example, if the motorist’s vehicle has faulty brakes and the driver was unable to stop on time, they may be at fault but not negligent.

On the other hand, if the driver was, for example, texting and driving, they were acting negligently and will likely be found liable.

Faulty Lights And Signage

In some cases, a faulty light may be to blame for an accident. For example, if the light suddenly turns red without first turning yellow, drivers have no indication to stop.

Additionally, in rural or remote areas, a stop light may appear with little to no warning. This can make it difficult to stop on time and may result in an accident.

Evidence From Accident Scene

Another important factor in a red light accident case is evidence gathered at the crash scene.

Examples of evidence may include:

  • Photographs of the accident scene and the damaged vehicles
  • Photographs and injuries incurred
  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Video footage

This evidence offers more detailed insight into the accident and who was at fault and should be held liable.

How Can A Red Light Accident Lawyer Help?

A red light accident attorney can provide help with every aspect of your case, especially when it comes to more complex incidents such as a red light car collision.

Common ways a car accident accident lawyer can help you include:

  • Custom legal advice: Your personal injury lawyer, or accident attorney, will offer you custom legal advice specific to your unique case. They will also ensure your rights are upheld throughout the entire claims and potentially legal process.
  • Investigate your case: Your car accident attorney can also help investigate the details of your case to ensure your claim is solid. This may include analyzing evidence, pulling camera footage from the incident, and accessing medical results from your resulting injuries.
  • Determine your damages: After investigating your case, your attorney can help determine which damages you should file a claim for.
  • File your claim: Your attorney will likely file your claim on your behalf as well as negotiate with the other party’s legal representation to get you a fair settlement.

Get Help With Your Red Light Car Accident Claim

If you’ve been involved in a red light auto accident, it’s important to seek legal help as soon as possible after the incident.

LegalFinders can help you find an experienced attorney or law firm in your area that specializes in red light accidents. Call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.



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Published: 28 August 2023


Department of Transportation. “If You Run a Red Light You Are Betting More Than You Can Afford to Lose.” Retrieved from:

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. “Red light running.” Retrieved from:,Red%20light%20running%20defined,are%20not%20red%20light%20runners.

Suffolk County Legislature. “Yellow-Light Timing.” Retrieved from:–Why-Amber-Time-Matters-PDF#:~:text=Fact%3A%20Yellow%20light%20time%20is,roadway%20grade%20and%20intersection%20design.