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Involved in a Car Accidents Caused by Traffic Lights? Know about Traffic Signal Car Accidents

Car accidents caused by traffic lights featured image
Involved in a Car Accidents Caused by Traffic Lights? Know about Traffic Signal Car Accidents

Like any other electronic device, the performance of traffic lights may deteriorate with age. Hence it may provide error signals which can lead to traffic accidents.

However, you cannot accuse the traffic light of the incident and ask for compensation, can you? So, what should you do if you are involved in a car accident caused by a traffic light?

When the accountability is unclear and multiple parties may involve in a car accident, you must seek advice from an experienced lawyer. Let us inform you how a lawyer can help you fight for your rights in such disputes.

Who is to Blame for an Accident Caused by Traffic Light Malfunctions?

The driver’s responsibility is to maintain the rules and regulations while driving, including the traffic light. If the traffic light is the one that is giving everyone misdirection, a collision is likely to happen. So, in general, the traffic light is at-fault, which is not a plausible accusation.

However, the provincial government of Canada has its own set of guidelines for compensating or resolving these types of claims, which could be a little confusing for you. That is why you should consult an injury lawyer after such an accident. Your lawyer will guide you through your legal proceedings.

He might suggest you file for the compensation against either one of the two parties mentioned below:

The authority responsible for maintaining the traffic light:

Generally, holding the authority responsible for the accident could come to your mind. However, you need to stop right there and think carefully about the base on which you will hold the authority liable.

The foundation of your claim will be strong and acceptable to the court only if-

  • There was no signal/ board/warning/traffic control officer before or at the place of the intersection.
  • The authority or agency didn’t know about the malfunctioned traffic light.
  • The authority knew about the broken traffic light and was ignorant about fixing the problem.
  • There is no fixed authority or agency responsible for the specific intersection. The Provincial Government should have appointed one but didn’t.

A car accident caused by traffic lights also happened because of the failure of the quick reflex of the drivers to stop right there. You can claim compensation from the other car driver in such a situation.

The other motor vehicle driver:

You can accuse the other motor vehicle driver only if-

  • There was a red light on all four sides, and you saw the malfunction. According to the Safe Driving Laws, you were supposed to stay on the brake in such a confusing situation. The other driver didn’t wait and ride through it, which caused the collision.
  • You both can hold each other liable for riding through the intersection at the same time.

What is the Reason Behind Car Accidents Caused by Traffic Lights?

There could be a handful of reasons behind a broken traffic light. They are:

  • The hardware has loosened or damaged after a storm/ lightning
  • Old and worn-out cables and lights
  • Short-cuts of electric wire or high/low voltage
  • Vandalizing or messing with the light intentionally
  • Poor or no maintenance from time to time
  • Damage caused by accident previously

What are the Broken Traffic Light Rules?

In the cases of a malfunctioned traffic light, any three of the situations are observed so far. Please read them carefully and keep them in mind while driving to be cautious.

Blackout during car accident / no-light in the signal:

If you come across an intersection with or without a crosswalk and encounter a blackout on the signal pole, you must consider it a four-way stop.

And whether there is a traffic control office or not, you should only proceed when you are sure that the other side of the traffic is at a complete halt.

Flashing red light:

You may come across flashing red lights in the four-way. When approaching a flashing red traffic control light, consider this the same as a STOP sign. You can proceed with caution and slow speed to avoid a potential collision after staying a while for a complete stop and ensuring no traffic running on the opposite side.

Flashing yellow light:

You can go through a yellow light if the other way traffic has already passed the intersection.

The best idea is to communicate or give a hand side to the other driver to stop or proceed. You can also flash your car light to let others know which way you are heading.

What Should You Do at the Time of the Incident?

If the malfunctioning traffic light causes you and other motor vehicles a serious collision, you should follow the steps given below:

  1. Call 911 for help. State the accident and damages shortly.
  2. Ask for emergency medical help if you are injured.

Look for any traffic cam or pedestrians who were present at the scene. Remember the camera’s location and ask for the contact information of the witness present. They would vouch for your innocence if you did follow the broken traffic light law.

  1. Take photos of your car damage
  2. Do not apologize or blame other drivers right away. Wait for the police to come to the scene.
  3. Inform your car accident lawyer after taking the emergency medical care.
  4. Inform your insurer about the accident yourself or your lawyer.
  5. Do not lose your temper and start arguing about the accident.

How to Report a Malfunctioning Traffic Light?

You have to call 911 to report the collision in an intersection caused by a broken traffic light. Also, being a responsible citizen, you can report the malfunctioned traffic light to the authority even if there is no casualty.

DO NOT call 911 and ask to repair it in such a situation. You need to contact Law Enforcement or a Related maintenance agency. Call them, state the position of the traffic light, and if you know the reason that caused the malfunction, state that as well.


Hopefully, you understand the complication of a car accident caused by traffic lights. So, take our suggestion and consult a skilled lawyer who is experienced enough in such cases. It is wise to look for a lawyer who gives free consultation and takes fees only after you win such a legal proceeding.

And also, don’t forget to inform the related authority about the incident and urge them to fix the problem.