Who's at fault in this car accident?

by Breanna
(Clarksville, TN)

I was making a left turn through a yellow light after I had come to a stop and passed the white line. I was hit in my rear passenger side and my car was totaled. The lady behind me was going too fast and hit me, but I was cited for a failure to yield when I was completely stopped before going through the light.

Who's at fault here and what should I do? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Who's at fault in this car accident?":


From the facts you present it is difficult for us to assess blame. If you are inquiring about traffic violations you are immediately in a precarious position. When you receive a traffic citation the legal scales are already tipped against you. If you were to have any hope of prevailing you would have to enter a plea of Not Guilty and proceed to trial.

At trial you would have to present sufficient evidence to convince a judge or a jury you were not at fault. Tennessee traffic laws are specific about turns once a traffic device (light) turns yellow.

Specifically Tennessee Traffic Code Section 55-8-109-110 apply...


55-8-109. Obedience to any required traffic-control device

The driver of any vehicle and the operator of any streetcar shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable thereto placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and chapter 10, parts 1-5 of this title, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter.

55-8-110. Traffic-control signals

(2) Yellow alone or “Caution,” when shown following the green or “Go” signal:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing the signal is warned that the red or “Stop” signal will be exhibited immediately thereafter and that vehicular traffic shall not enter or cross the intersection when the red or “Stop” signal is exhibited;

(c) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.


As you can see the applicable sections make no mention of whether you were at, or passed any white lines. Therefore your chances of success are quite limited.

Because insurance companies rely on traffic citations when determining liability, your chances of convincing an insurance company you are faultless are minimal at best.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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