Even Though the Other Driver Ran a Red Light, the Accident Might Be Your Fault!
Suppose you’re stopped in the middle of an intersection waiting for traffic to clear before executing a safe left turn on a green light. Suddenly the light turns yellow, then red. Not wanting to be corralled in the middle of the intersection any longer, you begin to make the left turn you intended. POW! You’re hit on your passenger side door by an oncoming vehicle that clearly ran the red light. After the police arrive and gather information, you are handed a citation for violating A.R.S. § 28-772. How is this possible and what does it mean?
Arizona Revised Statute § 28-772 says the following:
The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and that is within the intersection or so close to the intersection as to constitute an immediate hazard.
What’s important here is the phrase “so close to the intersection as to constitute an immediate hazard.” In other words, the oncoming vehicle that struck you was found, by the officer, to be close enough to the beginning of the intersection that it constituted an immediate hazard that should have been recognized by you and thus avoided. The statute makes no mention of the fact that the striking vehicle ran the red light but it implies that even if he/she runs the red light, the accident may still be your fault.
Arizona is a comparative fault state pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-2506 (sometimes called contributory fault). This means that the jury, after considering all of the evidence and arguments, will be charged with assigning fault for the accident to the applicable parties. This process is designed to attribute a percentage of fault to each party who contributed to the accident. It is important to understand that the amount of fault apportioned to you in this situation may very well hinge on your attorney’s understanding of the law in these types of collisions and her ability to identify the best arguments needed to minimize the fault percentage that may be applied to you.
If you have been injured in a similar accident, don’t let inexperience be the reason you are found at fault for the mistakes of a red-light runner, call POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN, PLLC for a free consultation.
The information provided in this website is meant only as a general description of the current laws as of the date of the writing. It is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of all the nuances of the law and is intended to be only an overview. Many issues may appear simpler than they are, and an individual should always contact an attorney to obtain a complete, accurate interpretation of the law given the individual’s particular circumstances. POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN, PLLC makes no representations as to how the law would affect a particular situation and intends only to illustrate areas of concern and give general information.