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Why Are Injuries Suffered in Red-Light Crashes So Severe?

You’ve probably read more than one local news report about a crash after someone ran a red light and hit another vehicle. In many cases, people are injured in the crash, and those injuries are frequently serious. If you’ve been injured in a red-light accident in New Hampshire, call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. at (888) 332-5855, or contact us online.

Red-Light Crashes Are a Serious Problem

The US Department of Transportation reports that in 2020, more than 1100 fatalities were caused by a vehicle running a red light at an intersection. That’s more than twice the number of people killed due to wrong-way drivers in that same year. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that in 2021 the number of fatalities stayed high, at 1,109 killed due to red-light crashes, with an estimated 127,000 injured.

Part of the problem is that, while most drivers will agree that running a red light is extremely dangerous, many of them will admit to having done so recently anyway. In a survey conducted in 2021 by the Foundation for Traffic Safety, 76% of respondents said that driving through a red light was “very or extremely dangerous,” but 28% of them said they had run a red light anyway within the past 30 days.

Why Red Light Crashes Are So Serious

There are a few reasons red-light crashes cause so much damage and can result in such serious injuries.

  • They often result in broadside collisions. Red-light crashes typically involve vehicles traveling in crosswise directions so that the crash is what’s referred to as a “t-bone,” “side impact,” or “broadside” collision. In these situations, the front of one vehicle will plow into the side of the other. As a US Department of Transportation publication notes, “Because of the relatively thin protection along the side of a vehicle, a large amount of force is transferred directly to the victim.” And the more force transferred to a victim, the more likely that person is to be seriously injured.
  • One of the vehicles is often speeding. A 2022 report from the New York Department of Transportation states, “Motorists who are speeding are much more likely to run red lights because vehicles traveling faster need more time and take a longer distance to come to a complete stop.” As a result, drivers who run red lights tend to do so at a higher speed – and more speed means a more severe crash and more damage to vehicles and injuries to occupants. (In fact, a vehicle traveling at 40mph has four times the amount of kinetic energy as one traveling at 20mph.)
  • In many cases, the offending driver is distracted. A distracted driver may not only miss the red light but may not be able to react when they realize their mistake. The New York DOT report notes that “drivers using cell phones ‘look but fail to see’ up to 50 percent of the information in their environment.” As a result, they are more likely to run red lights and are less likely to be able to avoid a serious crash.

What to Do if You’re Injured in a Red Light Crash

If you are injured in a red light crash, it’s important to take some steps to help protect yourself and your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.

  • Accept medical treatment. This is not the time to “suck it up, buttercup” and refuse the help of EMTs or prevent them from taking you to an emergency room or trauma center for evaluation or treatment. There are two reasons for this – first, you need to ensure you’re okay. And second, if you’ve been injured, you need to document those injuries if you want to have a chance of recovering damages from the driver of the vehicle that ran the red light.
  • Write things down. As soon as possible, write down as much as you can remember about the crash, how it happened, who was with you, and where it happened. If your injuries are serious, record how they affect your ability to lead your normal life.
  • Contact witnesses. If there were witnesses to the crash, try to find out who they were and get their statements about what they saw and heard. This goes for anyone else who was in your vehicle.
  • Get copies of your medical records. These will help support any claim you make against the other driver based on your injuries.

How Tenn And Tenn, P.A. Can Help

Tenn And Tenn, P.A., we have years of experience helping clients in New Hampshire recover compensation for injuries suffered in vehicle accidents. We know the law, the court procedures, and how insurance companies operate when faced with claims from accident victims. We will help you investigate the crash, collect and organize the evidence you need to support your case and present your claim to the appropriate insurer.

Our experienced personal injury attorneys will negotiate with the insurance companies to secure you the payment you’re entitled to, and where necessary, we will take your case to court. Our attorneys have the in-court experience to take a case from filing through trial, all to secure you the compensation you’re entitled to.

From our office in Manchester, we serve clients from all over New Hampshire, including Laconia, Portsmouth, Nashua, and elsewhere. If you’ve been in a red-light accident, call us today at (888) 332-5855, or use our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys. At Tenn And Tenn, P.A., we understand how difficult it can be to manage all the issues that arise if you’ve been injured in an accident. We are here to listen and help.

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