One of the most common types of collisions are intersection collisions at stoplights. Our Raleigh car accident lawyers explain why these are the most challenging car wreck cases to settle:
The problem faced by car accident lawyers trying to resolve an issue arising out of collision at a stoplight intersection is that stoplights change. The light is red one moment and the next moment the same light is green. These intersections are not constant like a stop sign intersection. In a stop sign intersection case there can be no dispute as to who was required to stop.
Not so with the stoplight intersection. In many, if not most stoplight collisions, there is a dispute about who had the red light and who had the green light. Most law-abiding citizens will not enter an intersection when the light is red. This is particularly true when a car is coming from the other direction. However, these types of collisions occur on a daily basis.
Both parties explain with the utmost sincerity that they had the green light and that it was the other car that had the red light. Chances are, both of these parties honestly think they are telling the truth. As we all know, our eyes and our minds sometimes play tricks on us, especially if we are not paying as close attention as we should.
When parties cannot resolve a stoplight dispute case it often ends up in court and the jury has to decide who is telling the truth. When one of these cases is settled, it is always for an amount substantially less than the damages suffered by the injured party in the collision.
A recent example of the challenge these types of car accident cases create happened at a stoplight in an April 2012 Gaston County car accident. Unfortunately, one of the parties was killed in the collision. At trial, the parties disagreed about who had the green light in the intersection where the collision occurred.
The deceased was a 43 year old married man who worked in the construction industry. The posted speed limit at the intersection was 35 miles-per-hour and the intersection was controlled by a traffic signal for traffic in all directions.
After all of the evidence was presented the parties agreed to a $20,000 settlement.
You may say, “$20,000? That is ridiculously low for the death of a human being.” It is a ridiculously low amount. However, in deciding to accept the $20,000 settlement, the lawyers for the family of the deceased undoubtedly considered the very strong possibility of a total loss in the event the jury should find that the defendant did have the green light after all.
The wisdom of the dead man’s wife in deciding to settle for $20,000 is exemplified by what occurred after the settlement. For some reason, and this is most unusual, jurors were allowed to hear the closing arguments and to make an informal deliberation.
Under this arrangement, the jury’s verdict didn’t count. I suppose the judge and the parties were curious about how the jury would decide the case so they let the jury make a decision even though it did not count.
The jury’s decision? You guessed it, the jury decided for the defense. Had they would have not settled for the $20,000, she would have received nothing.
-Post by North Carolina car accident lawyer Brent Adams