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Sometimes, it’s readily apparent who is at fault in a motor vehicle collision if one of the drivers clearly disobeyed a traffic law, sign, or signal. But liability in an auto accident may be less clear if both drivers believe that they were acting within the law – for instance, when two drivers both say, "But I had a green light!"

This was the situation in a head-on collision in Las Vegas last Friday afternoon a couple miles east of McCarran International Airport. Around 3:45pm, a 2007 Toyota Yaris was traveling west on Russell Road and tried to turn left at Annie Oakley Drive. But it was hit on the right side by an oncoming 2002 Toyota Sequoia traveling east on Russell. The 81-year old male driver of the Yaris was rushed to a hospital in serious condition, while the 61-year old woman driving the Sequoia suffered moderate injuries and was also hospitalized.

According to the news article, both drivers reportedly had a green light when the crash happened. This probably means that one of three things happened:

  1. The traffic signal malfunctioned.
  2. One of the drivers was either mistaken or lying about having a green light.
  3. The Yaris had an unprotected green light, which required him to make sure that the roadway was clear before he made his left turn (which he failed to do).

Chances are, the third scenario was the one that took place (although the investigation is still ongoing), which would mean that the Yaris driver is responsible for the auto accident. In this case, the driver of the Sequoia could choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the 81-year old man to receive reimbursement for medical expenses and compensation for other damages.