Can a broken street light affect my punishment in a car accident involving a pedestrian?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a broken street light affect my punishment in a car accident involving a pedestrian?

I was turning at a intersection at night. I am supposed to yield to pedestrians at this turn. I looked and saw no one. The street light above by the cross walk was not on, there was a dark man with dark clothes on in the road and I hit him. When I go to court and show a pic of the broken street light would it be able to help me?

Asked on December 16, 2017 under Accident Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It MAY help you. It depends on what the credible evidence and testimony shows about the overall amount of light available there--for example, even without one street lamp lit, there could have been sufficient light from other street lamps, from buildings, from other vehicles, etc.--and also about your speed--since you are supposed to drive at a speed that you could theoretically stop in time if something suddenly was seen in your headlights. (Basically, you should not go faster than your headlights let you see.) This last point, however, if modified by the kind of road you are on: it takes much longer to stop at highway speed than residential subdivision speed, so in the former case, you might be excused for not being able to stop in time if the first you could see the pedestrian was when they showed upon your headlights; but on a residential side street, you could be going slowly enough to stop.
Also, the court will take consideration of when the man stepped into the road--did he step off just in front of your, so there was no chance to react given that you could not see him until he was in your lights? So the information about the lamp and the picture could certainly help you if the other facts are in your favor, but will not be enough if the area was well lit or you were driving inappropriately fast for the road and area. It is definitely worth bringing up, since it should not hurt you--it may not help, but it should not make anything worse, and could make things better.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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