According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, forty-five percent of all automobile crashes (and 21% of them fatal) happen in or around an intersection. Generally, you would assume that when two vehicles collide, it should be a clear cut case; someone obeyed the traffic laws and someone didn’t. If no one lies, then the whole thing could be settled without an auto accident lawyer. However, there are other factors to consider, and ignoring them is unwise.
Has there been any recent road construction in the area?
What were the driving conditions?
Are there other intersections nearby?
Did you know that there are two ways of controlling the traffic lights at an intersection?
One is called a fixed, or “pre-timed actuated phase change”. This is the older type of traffic light installation, where the lights change after a set time period, like a kitchen egg timer.
The traffic actuated phase changer is triggered by the presence of vehicles in the intersection. This newer phase change system is controlled by a variety of sensors, both above and below the ground. The computer that monitors these sensors changes the lights according to the flow of traffic, the location of specific vehicles, and even the time of day.
Did you hear sirens before the collision?
The intersections light sequence can be interrupted by emergency vehicles.
In some cases, the intersection itself might have been poorly designed, or in need of repair. If there are other intersections in the area, the sequence of lights could have changed because of something happening farther down the road. And when you are talking about human error, people who have become habituated to a certain traffic pattern could be unprepared for changes in the way an intersection works.
An attorney can collect documents to shed light on these issues. A good attorney will investigate the conditions that led to your collision. A great attorney will not rely on the police report, but seek out experts to make your case presentable to a jury, should the need arise. Settling out of court is sometimes the best decision, but it is never wise to settle without the experienced consultation of an attorney you trust.