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Green Arrow Versus Green Light

by Dee
(Texas)

My daughter was in car accident in small town about 45 miles away from the city we live in. She was at an intersection and turned left on green arrow. She was hit on passenger side and airbags came out.

The vehicle that hit her car was driven by an 18 yr old. She states she had green light. The other vehicle did have white writing on her windscreen. Police came and on accident report it said my daughter hit the other vehicle when she did not yield at intersection. My daughter’s vehicle was hit on the side so it is obvious that she was hit by other vehicle. There are no witnesses.

My adjuster said that because of that reason that we will lose because green light is always better than green arrow. Daughter’s car just has liability and apparently both vehicles are totaled.

Also that having writing on your windscreen has no bearing on anything. Should we inform other insurance company about accident and how long do we have to report it.

Fortunately no one was seriously hurt. My adjuster said if it went to arbitration we would lose. I would like to thank you for your informative site and keep up the good work. I have donated five dollars to help keep it going and would appreciate your opinion.

Thanks Dee


Answer:

Hello Dee,

Thank you for your donation. There are a couple of issues on the situation you describe:

Green Light issue: Someone is not being truthful here. There is no way that a solid green light would be displayed at the same time a left turning ARROW is green (when two vehicles are approaching each other and one vehicle is about to make a left turn and the other vehicle is about to go straight – which I believe is the situation you outlined here).

If this is the case, that intersection would be plagued with car accidents. The situation you describe would be possible if instead of talking about an ARROW and we are talking about a solid green for the vehicle turning. In the Texas code, solid green to make a left means “yield the right of way” to incoming traffic. That is why making sure there was a green arrow as opposed as a solid green will be critical.

If there is a green arrow to turn left, then the other light must have been RED. In which case, the other person ran the light. You should have the adjuster do a scene investigation to determine the shape of both lights, and time them to see if it is possible for both lights to be Green at the same time (arrow and the other driver’s light – there could be a malfunction). If there is a malfunction, then fault might rest with the city, county, or state, and not necessarily either driver.

Fault Dispute. Texas follows the 51% modified comparative fault rule (see Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §§ 33.001-33.017. This means that if both parties are 50% - 50%, each party must pay each other 50% of their damages. If one party is 51% of more at fault, that party will not be able to recover for anything.

In a word v. word dispute like this one (no witnesses), 50% split decisions are common, which means your total loss might be paid at 50%. The point of impact shows that your daughter was making a left, which is usually seen as a “heavier” burden, but the other vehicle hit her, which means the other vehicle had more time to react (she was in front of him).

In any event, the fact that the adjuster believes that they will lose in arbitration does not mean they do not have to go. A good investigation could show that this is a 50% - 50% or that she was not at fault at all. If they can show that either 1. the city is at fault or 2. there is no way both lights were green (arrow), then your daughter might be able to get her damages paid.

It all comes down to a good investigation. Your adjuster will have to prove at least a 50% split, and with no witnesses, that is very possible.

- The lettering issues: It could have some impact, but it depends. Again, an investigation must be done. If the lettering is on the way of visibility to look up and see the light color, this could very well put negligence or discredit the other driver version of events. Both vehicles must be seen and photograph.

Yes, it is a good idea to contact the other carrier and advise them that an investigation must be done.

Disclaimer:

Remember, this is not legal advice and everything outline here is most likely incorrect. Please consult with an attorney before making any decisions on your claim. Please do not rely on this information and it is probably wrong.

Good Luck,

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