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Failure to Obey Traffic Signs or Lights in Lake Charles
Reckless and impatient drivers cost people their lives, now more than ever. A study conducted by AAA finds that fatalities from drivers running red lights have hit a 10 year high.
Unfortunately, 46 percent of those killed in red light crashes are the occupants of the other vehicle. Stop signs, traffic lights, and other traffic signals are all designed to protect drivers as they make their way from point A to point B. Ignoring them is not only against the law but also reckless and negligent driving behavior. Failing to obey traffic signs and signals is not a victimless crime.
If you or someone you care about has been seriously hurt in a collision where a driver failed to obey a traffic sign or signal, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC have the experience and resources to investigate your accident and help you recover fair compensation. All you need to do to get started is pick up the phone and call us at 337-800-8800. We offer victims a free initial consultation and can review your case and go over all your legal options.
Penalties for Failing to Obey Traffic Signs and Lights
Failing to follow a posted traffic sign or light may seem like a minor infraction that requires no more than a slap on the wrist. However, disregarding the most basic rules of the road can cause serious accidents. That is why breaking these laws can result in hefty fines and serious consequences, especially for those whose actions result in an accident.
- Disregarding a stop or yield sign
- If someone is injured as a result, the at-fault driver can be fined between $200 and $500 and/or have their license suspended for up to 90 days.
- If someone sustains “serious bodily injury” as a result, the at-fault driver can be fined between $500 and $1,000, have their license suspended for up to 180 days, and/or face up to 6 months in jail.
- If someone is killed as a result, the at-fault driver can be fined between $1,000 and $5,000, have their license suspended for up to 360 days, and/or face up to 12 months in jail.
While these penalties should be enough to detour reckless drivers, serious accidents caused by failing to follow posted signs and signals still occur. When a driver disregards the safety of other motorists and causes an accident, they need to be held accountable for their actions. Law enforcement may determine the legality of the reckless driver’s actions, but an experienced attorney can help put you in the drivers’ seat when it comes to maximizing your compensation. At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we want to make sure that victims can get the fair settlement they deserve.
Common Injuries Associated with Failing to Obey Signs
A driver who becomes the victim of a reckless driver who fails to obey signs and signals seldom sees the accident coming. There is very little time to react, if they can react at all, because they expect that they are entering a safe area. A driver going through a green light rarely expects to get hit because they are operating under the assumption that it is safe to enter the intersection. They are following the established rules. A reckless driver thinking they can beat the light tends to be going at a faster rate of speed, meaning the resulting accident can be catastrophic. Some of the most common injuries reported in these types of accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck and spine injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Facial injuries
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Wrongful death
Accidents that Result from Failing to Obey Signs and Signals
Data from the Federal Highway Administration finds that more than 50 percent of all crashes occur at or near intersections. These accidents can range from minor impacts to devastating and traumatic collisions and comprise a variety of different accident types. Some of the most common include:
- T-bone or side-impact collisions
- This type of accident typically occurs when a driver speeds up in order to try and make it through a yellow light. In many instances, they end up entering the intersection while the light is red as another driver, moving with the green light, is already in the intersection. This results in a T-bone or side-impact collision. Even low-speed side-impact crashes can be serious and cause life-threatening injuries.
- Rollover accident
- The force of a high-speed side-impact collision can also result in a rollover crash. The impact to the side of the victim’s vehicle can be so great that it forces the vehicle to roll over onto its roof. Rollover crashes are not only frightening, but they can lead to serious injuries and fatalities.
- Rear-end crash
- When a negligent driver suddenly realizes that they can’t make a yellow light, or they are distracted and don’t see a stop sign at an intersection, they may suddenly and forcefully slam on their brakes. This action can result in a rear-end collision.
- Multiple-vehicle accident
- When a driver ignores a red light, they can cause a chain reaction-type event that involves multiple vehicles. In some situations, the at-fault driver may hit a victim traveling through a green light, and other cars also traveling through the green light may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting the cars now obstructing the intersection. This creates a pile-up situation or multi-vehicle accident.
Compensation for Accidents Involving Failure to Obey Signs and Signals
Compensation may be available for victims who have been injured by negligent drivers. Typically, a victim can be entitled to economic and non-economic damages. The sum of these two categories equals the total amount of damages that a victim may be able to recover following an accident. Economic damages are the measurable losses that a victim incurs because of a crash. Examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Property damages
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
Non-economic damages are much more difficult to calculate because they involve accounting for quality-of-life changes and emotional hardships. Examples of non-economic damages can include:
- Physical impairment
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
However, calculating the total amount of damages is only part of the equation. The state of Louisiana binds both courts and insurance adjusters to distribute compensation through a model known as “pure comparative fault”. In a pure comparative fault system, each driver is assigned a percentage of responsibility for the accident. Compensation is then distributed based on the percentage of liability each driver bears for the collision.
For example, if a driver failed to obey a stop sign and hit another car they could be found to bear 90 percent of the responsibility for causing an accident. However, if the other driver was slightly speeding at the time, they could be assigned 10 percent of the blame for the accident as well. That victim would then be able to recover the total amount of compensation minus 10 percent. If the total amounts to $100,000, they may collect $90,000.
In a pure comparative fault system, the driver most at fault for causing the accident is also allowed to recover damages. In the above example, that driver responsible for 90 percent of the accident would be allowed to recover $10,000 in compensation. It is important to keep in mind that while this individual is technically allowed to recover money, they or their insurance company is responsible for paying the victim their 90 percent share.
Why Do You Need to Hire an Attorney?
Unfortunately, many victims mistakenly believe that when some so obviously break the law, like running a red light, their insurance claim will be open and shut. Yet, that’s not always the case. A police report is only a small part of the whole picture when it comes to assigning blame for an accident. Any good defense attorney or aggressive insurance adjuster can argue that an officer is not a qualified traffic investigator, and therefore their on-site assessment could be flawed. Filling out the entire picture takes witnesses and evidence. This is where an experienced attorney can be most valuable.
An experienced attorney has the resources to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding a serious collision. An attorney will be able to interview witnesses, obtain video surveillance evidence of the crash scene if it exists, obtain cell phone records to determine if the driver was distracted, and examine a wide variety of other angles that may factor into the crash.
With crucial evidence in hand, an attorney can help establish liability for the accident and aggressively negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf. The stronger your claim, the better your chance at recovering the maximum amount of compensation available. If a company does not negotiate in good faith, an attorney also has the ability to take the company to court or file a lawsuit against the reckless and negligent driver. Having an attorney gives you more power to obtain a positive outcome and ensure that you aren’t being taken advantage of by powerful insurance giants.
Contact an Experienced Louisiana Car Accident Attorney Now
Another driver broke the law, and you are suffering the consequences. Physically you are injured and may be struggling to recover. Financially you are strained, trying to pay your everyday expenses on top of huge medical bills and car repair costs. Should a negligent driver get away with turning your life upside down? Hold them accountable and make sure you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve by contacting an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney.
At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we are committed to helping Lake Charles victims get the financial compensation they deserve. Not sure where to begin or how much your case is worth? At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we can provide you with legal advice about where to start and which options are right for your circumstances. Taking the first step is easy. Call us at 337-800-8800 to schedule a free initial consultation, and then let us do the heavy lifting.