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What if a Broken Traffic Light Results in a Car Crash Accident?

broken traffic light

A road crash is by far the last thing any driver or passenger would want to get involved in. However, car accidents happen literally all the time, and there’s no telling when they’ll happen or what will cause them. From distracted driving to fatigued driving, driving while intoxicated, bad weather, and poor road conditions, a car crash can have many possible causes. Some collisions actually occur as a result of missing, broken or malfunctioned traffic lights. 

But what if you or a loved one got into a road accident where the traffic lights were broken? Who is to blame between you and the other driver if it was a collision? What if you suffer injuries that require you to incur medical bills, income losses, and after-treatment care costs? How and where can you seek help besides the police and your insurer? To try and answer these burning questions, here’s what you need to know about car accidents caused by a broken traffic light. At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers we have close to 50 years of experience helping clients injured in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents cause by broken traffic lights. 

Traffic Lights as a Cause of Accidents – The Dangers Posed   

If you’re well-acquainted with road signs and traffic signals, whether you’re a driver or a passenger, you can probably relate to the kind of chaos road users face if these elements are not properly in place and functional. 

For instance, traffic lights basically instruct drivers when to stop, wait, or go, depending on how they are programmed and the volume of traffic on the road. As much as a driver could cause an accident if they ignore traffic lights, the same could happen if these signals are not clearly visible, malfunction, or are poorly programmed. Broken traffic lights can cause traffic accidents!  

What Statistics Say  

Accidents can emanate from a wide range of causes. However, reports indicate that traffic light violations such as red-light running are among the most common causes of collisions and other types of accidents on the road. 

Most of these crashes also tend to happen at intersections, where a driver was either negligent, or it was simply a case of intentional misconduct. At times, however, the traffic lights were either broken, malfunctioned, or completely absent. The good thing is that in most states and countries, laws and regulations are in place to govern the conduct of drivers in the absence of reliable traffic lights at intersections. 

Who Is To Blame For Such An Accident?  

If you were involved in a car crash, perhaps at an intersection where, clearly, the traffic lights were smashed or had malfunctioned, you may be eligible for compensation under the laws of the land or state where the accident took place. 

But who can you sue for such an accident when seeking compensation? Should you wedge demands on the other driver, their insurance company, the city, or the federal/state government? Should the contractors responsible for the maintenance of the troublesome traffic lights be involved? 

Well, the universally honest answer to these questions is, it depends on the situation at hand. Sometimes it can be really difficult to get compensation from state and local governments, which is where decorated accident attorneys come into play. 

The trusted learned fellows and car accident lawyers from Flora Templeton Stuart would recommend seeking assistance from a reputed car accident lawyer. Not only will they help you determine who to blame, but an experienced attorney will also gather solid evidence to help solidify your case and recover maximum compensation. 

After all, states, counties, and cities are expected to ensure the safety of road users at all times, from drivers to pedestrians, and even passengers. This is also something that a good accident attorney with invaluable experience in similar cases will counsel you about. 

Drivers Have a Responsibility  

While many car accidents happen at intersections due to broken traffic lights, most of them actually happen as a result of drivers disobeying safety driving laws. For instance, some naughty drivers may use the broken or malfunctioned lights as an excuse to speed and fail to give the right of way. 

Such drivers, thankfully, are often caught by traffic cameras if any is available at the crossing. In some cases, such a driver might have been spotted by a law enforcement officer or witness at the scene. As much as broken traffic lights can indeed contribute to a road accident, it doesn’t have to be an excuse for drivers to neglect driving rules. 

When approaching a spot where the traffic lights are broken, the law requires all motorists to treat it as a stop sign and operate the vehicle with extreme care and attention. They are needed, for instance, to make a full stop, give right of way, and wait until the junction is clear before proceeding. 

Finding Help as a Victim of a Broken Traffic Light Accident   

If you or a loved one got involved in such a traffic collision where the traffic lights were absent or broken, there’s a big chance the other driver disobeyed traffic rules. They could have been speeding, driving recklessly, or perhaps they failed to give the right of way. 

A good accident attorney at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers can help you gather evidence to build your case and seek compensation for the damages you suffered. They are well trained and experienced enough to know who to place liability on, between the other drivers and the local government in charge of road maintenance. 

Flashing Lights

It is not unusual to find broken traffic lights that are not completely off. In some cases, either the red or yellow light may be flashing, or they simply won’t change. Flashing red lights should usually be treated as a stop sign. Flashing yellow lights should usually indicate “go”, but the driver must yield right of way to traffic that’s already in motion through the intersection.  

Dos and Don’ts after a Collision at a Broken Traffic Light 


  • Do check for injuries and call for help/emergency line 
  • Do take the details of the other drivers involved 
  • Do collect photo/video evidence if possible 
  • Do contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible 
  • Allow the accident investigators to do their work and figure out who might be to blame for the accident 



From time to time, traffic lights malfunction, start flashing and even go completely dark. The damage could stem from a wide range of sources, including high winds, lightning strikes, power outages, vandalism, illegal tampering, or even a previous accident. 

When an accident happens near a broken road light, you could be eligible for compensation from the government or the other driver depending on the circumstances of the crash as well as the available evidence. As much as it can be a bit baffling to determine who is liable for such an accident, it becomes easy with an experienced accident attorney on your side. Call Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers 27/4 for a free consultation from one of our top attorneys. There’s never a fee unless you win.

Author Photo

Flora Templeton Stuart

Flora Templeton Stuart is the lead attorney and founder of the law firm Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, established in 1976. She is a nationally recognized personal injury lawyer with over 40 years of experience. Her story has been featured on Fox, The New York Times, ABC, Time, and NBC.