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Is It Legal To Go Through A Yellow Light In Tennessee?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Aug 03, 2021 | 0 Comments

Going through a yellow light is legal in Tennessee. Drivers can generally enter an intersection on a yellow light but must stop for red. In   added a law that provides absolute clarity on the issue of yellow lights and states that drivers do not commit a traffic violation unless their front wheels cross the stopping line after the light has turned red.

However, what happens if someone runs a yellow light recklessly, causing an accident? If another driver behaved recklessly or dangerously in an intersection, they could still be responsible for another motorist's damage even if they entered the section legally on a yellow light.

Labrum Law can help if a negligent driver caused your accident and injuries. Call us now to determine your legal rights and options in a free consultation: (615) 338-9500.

Could Running a Yellow Light Be Illegal in Tennessee?

While, in Tennessee, it is legal to go through a yellow light, the actions of drivers rushing through a yellow light can be illegal. If, for example, a driver performs a risky maneuver such as an unsafe lane change or speeds excessively to make it through an intersection, they could end up with a ticket.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 40 percent of all crashes occurred at intersections in 2008. If a driver going through a yellow light causes an accident due to reckless or dangerous driving, they could be legally responsible for another motorist's damages.

Slamming on the brakes when the yellow light is showing can be just as dangerous as speeding through an intersection. Drivers should determine the safest way to get through an intersection by observing the speed limit, driving according to road and weather conditions, and observing traffic flow.  

Who Is at Fault for a Yellow Light Accident?

Establishing fault for accidents that occur at intersections can be legally complex and challenging. Turning on a yellow light, while legal in Tennessee, can cause accidents. A driver who turns left, for example, and collides with an oncoming car in the intersection, could be at fault for the accident.

Left-turning drivers are generally expected to yield to oncoming traffic. Failure to yield in itself constitutes negligence even if the light was yellow when a driver turned. However, if the oncoming driver also had a yellow light or a red light and continued to travel through the intersection, hitting the left-turning car, the red-light running driver could be at fault.

Knowing who is liable for damages in a yellow-light accident can require a comprehensive analysis of the accident. If your accident is complicated and fault is unclear, consulting with an attorney can be essential for protecting your legal rights. Contact Labrum Law today to learn more about the specifics of your case, and if you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.

Proving Negligence in Car Accidents

Car accidents in intersections do not always result from running a yellow or red light and can occur due to other negligent driving behaviors, including:

  • Speeding
  • Impaired driving
  • Racing
  • Following too closely
  • Distracted driving
  • Improper turns
  • Failing to use signals
  • Failing to yield

According to the NHTSA, over 90 percent of car accidents are the result of driver negligence or error. A car accident attorney can help gather the necessary evidence to prove another driver's negligence and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Compensation You Could Recover

If another driver is at fault for your accident and injuries, you could be entitled to damages such as:

Medical Expenses

Healthcare costs you could recover from the at-fault party's insurance company or through a lawsuit can include hospitalizations, surgeries, rehabilitative therapies and all other present and future expenses related to accident injuries.

Income Loss

Catastrophic or disabling injuries can change a victim's life forever after a devastating car accident. If you are unable to work after an accident or need months to recover, income losses can be steep and cause financial hardship. However, if another is to blame for the accident, you could potentially receive reimbursement for all your lost income and future expected income loss. In some circumstances, you may also be entitled to loss of future earning capacity.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Out-of-pocket expenses such as car rental and other transportation costs, or expenses for over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as others, can mount up quickly after a car accident. However, you are generally entitled to recover all bills you have related to the medical issues that you have as a result of an accident.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages can be challenging to quantify. However, those who suffered permanent or severe injuries in an accident could be entitled to considerable non-economic damages, such as:

  • Emotional distress
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of a limb or a sense
  • Loss of life enjoyment

Contact Labrum Law Today for Help and Advice

It is generally legal to go through a yellow light in Tennessee. However, if another caused your accident negligently, they could still be responsible for your injuries and losses. An experienced car accident lawyer from Labrum Law can help you with all aspects of your case, including:


Legal Counsel

If you got hurt through no fault of your own, we can determine your legal options. Labrum Law can analyze your car accident and advise you of your legal rights.

Gathering Evidence

The process of gathering evidence should start immediately after an accident. Our experienced lawyers can gather vital proof such as witness statements, police accident reports, and other material helping to prove negligence.

Handling Insurance Companies

Dealing with the at-fault party's insurance company can be tricky. Insurers tend to seize any opportunity to minimize or deny a claim. Whatever you mention to the insurer could later be used against you. Therefore, letting a lawyer handle all communication and negotiation with an insurance company can protect your rights to fair compensation.

Representing You Aggressively in Court

Self-representation, while possible, can be full of pitfalls as well as stressful for accident victims. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), self-represented litigants can also be at a distinct disadvantage. Let our competent attorneys handle the complex legal issues of your case while you can recover from your accident.

Call Our Experienced Tennessee Car Accident Lawyers Now

We can fight for the compensation you need to go on with your life after suffering injuries in a car wreck. Call Labrum Law today to determine whether you have a case at (615) 338-9500.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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