Negligent driver or green light... which takes precedence?
by Damian (Ohio)
Side impact accident diagram
I'll refer to the diagram above for this question. The collision happened as follows... Unit 2 was stopped at the light waiting to turn left. Then went into the intersection, striking Unit 1 in the very back bumper as they traveled across. Both drivers claim to have a green light.
Unit 2 made a statement to an officer that they never saw Unit 1 coming from the left. They stated that this was because they were adjusting their right sun visor to avoid sun glare. They have a witness from 2 cars behind who says the light did turn green before they moved into the intersection.
Unit 1 was traveling at 45 mph and was over 50% of the way through intersection. Unit 2 was traveling less than 10 mph and was only 10-20% of the way through intersection.
Who is at fault if we assume that the witness testimony is correct, and that the light had just turned green for unit 2? I'd really appreciate your perspective on this. Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Negligent driver or green light... which takes precedence?":
(A) When two vehicles, .....approach or enter an intersection from different streets or highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
In your case it appears Unit #2 was on the left and Unit #1 was approaching from the right. If you were both approaching the intersection at the same time Unit #1 had the right of way. Of course, the issue of whether or not Unit #2 turned in violation of the traffic light must be factored in.
You shouldn't be intimidated about going to court. Go to the above URL and open up the law. Be sure you make at least three copies of the law. When you go to court, offer the defense attorney one copy, keep a copy for yourself and give a copy to the judge.
Rely on the law. You might consider in addition to arguing your speed and its impact on the collision, that you also argue the law regarding right of way at intersections. Judges almost always follow the law and give law precedence over testimony from witnesses and parties involved in a collision.
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