Two Observations: 1)Every case is “different”, but red lights provide a little more potential for dispute 2) Investigation is Important.
With a stop sign, the law says that people who run them are negligent per se. The words per se mean that the fact that there was an accident is evidence that the person with the stop sign did not stop (although there is an exception if the driver with the right of way was speeding.)
The same thing goes for rearenders, and for drivers who cross the double yellow line. The difference is that a lot of the time, the person who runs the red light and causes the accident says the light was green; otherwise, he would have hit the brakes, right?
This might be the result of not looking, or not paying attention, or lying. But unlike the rear ender, or the stop sign, or the driver who crossed the center line, the circumstances of the accident aren’t enough to allow the jury to tell who is at fault without hearing witnesses.
People say different things. Most people in accidents are not looking at the traffic signal at the moment of impact. If they looked away for just a moment, the light could have changed!
And most people don’t like to think they are at fault for anything.
Of course, people are convicted or found liable every day on red light cases. I had a case in Brown County, Ohio where the insurance company for the other side denied liability until after their driver was found innocent at trial on the traffic charges; and then the insurance admitted its driver was at fault and settled the case.
No, I never found out why this happened, although I have some suspicions.
Whenever evidence can be disputed, it is important to investigate the facts early. Sometimes I call witnesses myself; other times I recommend hiring a detective to provide independent verification.
Often, getting a copy of the police report – with the officer’s findings of vehicle damage, and reports on what the witnesses and drivers told him – can resolve the most basic issues. So can a traffic court conviction.
So can writing a letter to the adjuster and saying that their driver is at fault –and then waiting to see if they deny it.
Most “red light” lawsuits are resolved with either a witness statement or an admission by the guilty driver.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I have been fighting over red light cases that entire time. If you want to talk about what you can do to settle your case, speak with an experienced Cincinnati injury attorney – call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775 in Cincinnati.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.