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Car Accident at Dark Intersection in East LA - Who's at Fault?


"I collided with another vehicle at a non-functioning traffic light in East Los Angeles, with both of us having limited visibility. How do we determine who's responsible?"

Last Saturday night, around midnight, I was driving through East Los Angeles. As I approached an intersection, I noticed the traffic light wasn't working. There was no illumination, making it hard to see if any cars were coming from the opposite direction. Sadly, another vehicle and I ended up crashing into each other due to the darkness and the malfunctioning traffic light. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but both our cars sustained significant damages.

How are accidents like this typically handled in terms of liability? Given that neither of us could see the other, how will fault be determined? Is there a specific type of attorney I should seek out for such cases? How do I find a reputable lawyer, and how much will legal representation cost me in East Los Angeles? I've never been in this situation before and would greatly appreciate any guidance or referrals.

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Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to Automobile accident attorneys in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

Liability in Low Visibility Accidents

In situations where two parties are involved in a collision, and there's a clear external factor like a malfunctioning traffic signal, determining liability might be more complicated. Both parties could argue that they were driving cautiously and that the primary cause of the accident was the non-functioning traffic light.

Relevant Laws and Statutes

  • Vehicle Code Section 21800: This section deals with right-of-way at intersections where the traffic signal is not operational.
  • Government Code Section 835: Addresses liability of public entities for dangerous conditions on public properties.
  • State of California Department of Transportation

Possible Solutions

  1. Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney: They can provide guidance on whether you have a claim against the city or county responsible for maintaining the traffic signal.
  2. Gather Evidence: Photos of the intersection, witness statements, and any surveillance camera footage can help in building your case.
  3. Check Traffic Reports: The history of accidents at that particular intersection can serve as evidence that the non-functioning light is a recurring problem.
  4. Contact the City: Reporting the malfunctioning traffic light can not only prevent future accidents but can also act as evidence if the city was already aware of the issue. Here's a link to report such issues to the City of Los Angeles Traffic Department.

Costs for Legal Services in East LA

Service Average Price
Consultation with Personal Injury Lawyer $250 - $500
Representation in a minor injury case $2,500 - $5,000
Representation in a major injury case $10,000 - $25,000
Settlement Negotiation $1,000 - $3,000

Note: Legal fees can vary depending on the experience of the attorney, the complexity of the case, and the duration of the lawsuit.

Seeking Additional Details

For a more comprehensive analysis, it would be beneficial to provide more details on the exact circumstances leading up to the accident.

Would you like to share your story with our community and get professional legal insights? ask a free legal question.

  1. What was the weather condition at the time of the accident?
  2. Were there any witnesses, and did you gather any statements?
  3. Did you or the other party contact law enforcement, and was a report filed?

Q1: Who is responsible for maintaining traffic signals in East Los Angeles?

The City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation is responsible for the maintenance and operation of traffic signals within city limits.

Q2: Can I claim damages from the city if a malfunctioning traffic light led to an accident?

Yes, if you can prove that the city was negligent in its duty to maintain the traffic signal, you might have a claim. However, there are specific procedures and timelines to follow when filing a claim against a public entity.

Q3: How long do I have to file a lawsuit if I'm injured in a car accident in California?

In California, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Q4: Can two drivers both be found at fault in a car accident?

Yes, California follows a comparative negligence rule, which means that more than one party can be found responsible, and damages can be allocated based on each party's degree of fault.

Q5: If the other driver and I agree on the cause of the accident, do we still need to involve insurance companies or attorneys?

It's always advisable to report the accident to your insurance company. Even if both parties agree initially, disputes can arise later regarding damages or injuries. Consulting an attorney ensures that your rights are protected.


This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

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When should you seek a personal injury lawyer? Car accident attorney will be needed in the event of traffic accidents that lead to serious injuries or long-term medical treatment of those involved. Choosing an experienced attorney will help increase the chances that you get the compensation that you deserve. By hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you immediately after a car accident, you will have a professional working for you – one who is very knowledgeable about the specific field of law and procedural rules that may significantly affect your case.

An indicator of the skills of a particular injury lawyer is the fact how many lawsuits he/she has won as well as careful pre-court preparation and possibly also the process of negotiation with the counterparty. In the case of car accidents where there are problems related to limits for car insurance, lawyers may threaten to file a suit. However, in most cases, an out-of-court settlement can be reached between the parties. Why should you hire a car accident attorney? Underestimating such a decision may result in considerable financial loss, especially in the event that you or the other party (the participant of the accident) have inadequate insurance coverage and the insurance company thus does not pay the claim.

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