So I was driving to work a few hours ago when I got into a car accident. A woman turned left directly into my path when I had a green light. I know I had a green light and because after the accident I looked up at the light in front of me, one which is very close to the light I went through and it was green and stayed that way for as long as it took me to make sure I was okay, drive the car off the road and get out of the car before turning around to face the person I hit.
And the first words out of my mouth were “I had the right of way, the light was green just like that light is green” while pointing towards it.
This was near my house and I drive that road to work 5 nights a week that the two lights are timed to be green and red together. Even if I didn’t know this at the time of the accident, I had plenty of time while waiting for the police and while they gathered information to sit there and watch the lights and the pattern proved that if I had ran a red light, I would have seen another red light in front of me but I didn’t.
Also, there was a car in front of the woman who made a left turn before she did. This person had ample time to make the turn before oncoming traffic (i.e. me) came along. When I think happened is that she saw a car go that way and a green light (see the following for the details of the light) and she just went. The turn was a very slight left and it came as the road we were both on veered right for her - it might have even seemed to her as if it was the same road.
The woman in question reacted strangely, maybe from shock… She had a child in her car seat but seemed to not care when she was arguing with me. It wasn’t until I saw the car seat and I said to her “Wait a second, is your kid alright?” That’s far more important than anything else" before she said “I don’t know” and opened the door and pulled her (unharmed) daughter from her car seat.
When we were first talking she said to me “I had a green light.” I told her (and showed her) that the sign clearly says “Left turn yield on green;” at that point she claimed that she had a green arrow.
I tried to reason with her, I never raised my voice, yet she accused me of trying to “be tough” with her, which is amusing. I was saying to her very calmly (under the circumstances) “Look at the light pattern and you’ll see that both lights are green at the same time” and she accused me of that. Um, okay. The cops just said to tell it to the insurance companies.
So, the police come and take statements and look at the scene. No idea what the report will say until tomorrow AM when I pay $15 for a copy, but my guess is it won’t assign blame.
It ended with she still convinced that I ran the red light and I am afraid that in a case of “he said, she said” that I will be screwed. Maybe that’s paranoid - I have a clean driving record, not so much as a speeding ticket in over a decade - but I would hate for this to be a major blemish on that (and the low insurance premiums I pay because of it).
What I don’t know is if this is worth me getting an attorney over. We were both able to drive away but we also both had significant body damage to our cars. And every Google search I saw about car wreck lawyers is about personal injury.
Don’t know if this helps but specifically, the accident happened in Pennsylvania but the woman is from Maryland. I dind’t get her information because the cop said it was all in the report.
I am prepared to gather evidence - I will try and get something in writing from the city that confirms that the lights are in synch with each other although I realize that only proves that the lights are in synch, not that I saw a green one in front of me as I claim. I also have a friend of mine with mad Photoshop skillz who is going to use Google Maps and Street View to make a diagram of what happened.
I also think that the damage itself shows that she was not paying attention to her surroundings at all: My car is damaged on the right bumper and headlight because I hit the brakes and swerved to my left to try and avoid her and I hit her straight on because she never even saw me. The damage to her car is not at the front, it’s entirely on the back door of the passenger side, the back half of the car. Even if she had a green arrow, she was well into the intersection when I hit her in rainy conditions - at best it was horrible defensive driving. But I don’t know if that would hold up as evidence in my favor or just evidence against her.
I am scared and don’t want this to screw me but I would hate to spend money on a lawyer if that person cannot help me because there is no lost wages or hospital bills, just two broken cars. What should I do?