Stop Sign Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

Stop Sign Accidents Who's at Fault

When drivers run a stop sign, they are considered to be acting negligently and not following the standard duty of care that drivers should follow. When that act results in an accident and injuries, they can be held responsible for damages and other compensation for any injured victims that may have been involved. 

As more drivers become distracted, rear-end collisions and other accidents related to stop sign violations are becoming more common. Unfortunately, the results could be catastrophic, particularly if the other driver was traveling at a high speed. 

If you were involved in a stop sign collision and suffered injuries, you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side as soon as possible. At Joseph Law Group, our Cleveland personal injury attorneys have been fighting for the rights of those injured in accidents just like these since 2003 and are ready to represent you. To schedule a free initial consultation with a stop sign accident attorney, call (216) 522-1600 today


Stop Sign Rules

Listed below are the stop sign rules that should be followed according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): 

  • First to stop: The first vehicle that arrives and stops at a four-way stop is the first to go. 
  • Farthest right goes first: If multiple vehicles arrive at the intersection simultaneously, the car on the most distant right should be the first to proceed. 
  • Straight traffic: If the two above rules do not apply, then traffic traveling straight goes first. For example, if two drivers stop at the same time, but one is turning right, and the other is going straight, the driver traveling straight goes first. 
  • When in doubt – bailout: If you have the right of way but fear that moving forward could cause an accident or if you feel uncomfortable for any other reason, you can let the other traffic proceed. 

While the above stop sign rules are easy to abide by, watching out for other drivers is always important. They may not be paying attention or think they stopped first, which is how stop sign accidents commonly occur.


How Do Stop Sign Accidents Occur?

These days, drivers are becoming increasingly distracted, whether by their smartphones or all the technology that our vehicles are coming equipped with. In fact, distracted driving claimed over 3,500 lives in 2021, according to the NHTSA. Texting, reaching for objects, eating, and even listening to loud music are ways drivers can be distracted while driving. Distracted drivers may not notice a stop sign or fail to yield to other vehicles. 

Aside from distracted driving, the other most common causes of stop sign accidents include: 

  • Speeding: When a driver is speeding, it makes it harder for them to come to a sudden stop which can result in running a stop sign. Speeding-related accidents typically cause severe injuries and more car damage than those that occur at lower speeds. If a speeding driver attempts to come to a complete stop at an intersection, it can result in them ending up in the middle of oncoming traffic.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI): The NHTSA reported that over 13,000 deaths were caused by drunk driving accidents in 2021. When drivers are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, it can impair their driving and lead to accidents. A driver under the influence could miss a stop sign, ignore the stop sign, or not understand who has the right of way. Drivers under the influence experience:
    • Blurred vision
    • Delayed reactions
    • Difficulty judging the distance and speed of other vehicles
    • Poor decision making 
    • Risky behaviors
  • Reckless or aggressive driving: When drivers are careless or aggressive behind the wheel, they can cause severe injuries to those that get in their path. They may intentionally run a stop sign if they’re angrily following another vehicle. Other reckless and aggressive driving behaviors are:
    • Road rage
    • Not signaling
    • Failure to yield
    • Tailgating
    • Racing
    • Ignoring traffic signals or signs
    • Spontaneous lane changes
    • Passing illegally 

Stop sign accidents may not always be the result of human error. There are also many other potential causes of stop sign-related accidents. For example: 

  • Obstructed stop signs: Stop sign accidents can occur when the driver can’t see the stop sign. A stop sign could be obscured in neighborhoods by an overgrown tree, bushes, etc. If the driver isn’t familiar with the neighborhood’s stop sign intersections, they may only realize it once they’ve passed it. Stop signs should always be visible from a distance and never obscured. If you were injured in an accident caused by an obstructed stop sign, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against a property owner, the local government, or other responsible parties.
    Obstructed stop signs: Stop sign accidents can occur when the driver can’t see the stop sign. A stop sign could be obscured in neighborhoods by an overgrown tree, bushes, etc. If the driver isn’t familiar with the neighborhood’s stop sign intersections, they may only realize it once they’ve passed it. Stop signs should always be visible from a distance and never obscured. If you were injured in an accident caused by an obstructed stop sign, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against a property owner, the local government, or other responsible parties.


Potential Stop Sign Accident Injuries

Stop sign accidents can often occur when the driver travels at low speed. For example, if they came to a rolling stop instead of a complete stop resulting in a rear-end collision. Other times, drivers can travel at high speeds and completely miss a stop sign. Impacts at higher speeds typically lead to more serious injuries and even death. 

Listed below are some of the more common (both minor and major) stop sign accident injuries: 

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Traumatic brain injuries are common injuries that can occur from car accidents. Concussions are mild brain injuries and usually resolve themselves over time with rest. However, a more serious TBI could have life-altering consequences for the driver and/or passengers. If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury from a stop sign accident, our Cleveland brain injury attorneys at the Joseph Law Group are ready to help you understand what compensation you could be entitled to. 
  • Whiplash: One of the most common rear-end collision injuries is whiplash. Those suffering from minor whiplash symptoms can usually feel relief within several days. However, a more serious whiplash injury can cause chronic pain and other long-term health issues. 
  • Broken bones: The most common broken bones that one can suffer in a car accident include the face, skull, clavicle, arm, and wrist fractures. Minor fractures need little medical treatment and can usually heal quickly. More severe injuries like crush injuries or shattered bones can require many surgeries, leading to reduced mobility and function. 
  • Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord are often permanent and can result in paralysis. Spinal cord injuries following a stop sign car accident can be life-altering. If you were injured in a stop sign accident, contact a spinal cord injury attorney at the Joseph Law Group to learn more about what financial compensation you could receive. 
  • Internal organ injuries: Serious car accidents can lead to internal bleeding and organ damage. These types of internal injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
  • Emotional trauma: Following a car accident, drivers and passengers may suffer emotional trauma, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important that you speak to a counselor, psychologist, or other professional in order to work through these emotional damages.

What To Do After a Stop Sign Accident

If you were involved in a stop sign accident, it’s important to take the following steps in order to protect yourself and your rights, even if you do not plan on pursuing an accident claim at that time. 

  1. Stop your car and remain at the accident scene: Leaving an accident scene is against the law. If you leave where the accident happened, you could face criminal charges. 
  2. Contact the police: It’s vital to call the police once a stop sign accident has occurred. Once at the scene, the police will investigate what happened and help determine fault. It’s also important to obtain a copy of the police report for your records. 
  3. Swap information: Besides getting the name and contact information, obtaining the other driver’s insurance company information is important. 
  4. Document the accident scene: Take pictures of the scene, damage to your vehicle, and any other surrounding property damage. After a stop sign accident, it is also important to take pictures of the stop sign (or signs) themselves. 
  5. Seek medical attention: Following a car accident at a stop sign, seeking medical attention is important if you believe you sustained any injuries. Obtaining medical documentation following your accident can also help your claim, regardless of how minor those injuries are.
  6. Reach out to a car accident lawyer: Contacting a Cleveland car accident lawyer to understand your rights following a car accident at a stop sign can also be beneficial. You could seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more if a negligent driver caused the accident.

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How to Prove Fault in a Stop Sign Accident Case

According to Ohio Law Section 4511.43, drivers must come to a complete stop at the stop line, before a crosswalk, or at the point of the nearest intersection where the driver has a view of the upcoming roadway. After coming to a stop, the driver must yield to the right of way. Any drivers that fail to follow the traffic laws for stop signs in Ohio can be held liable for damages incurred following an accident that resulted from stop sign violations. 
Your Cleveland motor vehicle accident attorney needs to prove that the other driver acted negligently, which caused injury to you. Your attorney may use the police report from the accident, medical records, witness testimony, and more to establish fault.


Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer Following a Stop Sign Car Accident 

Your personal injury attorney will seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages from your accident. You could be entitled to the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Disability
  • Home health and other rehabilitative services
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional trauma
  • And more

Hiring an experienced stop sign accident attorney is important, as working with the other driver’s insurance company can be difficult. Often, insurance companies want to rush through any litigation involving their clients’ accidents, which can result in you not receiving a fair settlement. The car accident lawyers at the Joseph Law Group have the knowledge and experience it takes to deal with insurance companies in relation to car accident injuries. 

Call the Cleveland Car Accident Injury Lawyers at Joseph Law Group Today for a Free Consultation

If you were injured by a negligent driver who ran a stop sign, you have the right to pursue damages. To discuss your case with an experienced Cleveland personal injury attorney, call the Joseph Law Group at (216) 522-1600 today.

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Eliminate Your Worry & Ease Your Mind

The insurance industry is built on the avoidance of making any payments on claims. They see claims as liabilities, and initially deny, defend, and delay a claim to limit that liability and save money for the company. Ultimately, it is the job of the attorneys at Joseph Law Group to advocate on behalf of our clients and to give the insurance companies and adjusters enough reason to pay an amount of money that is fair under all circumstances. When you hire Joseph Law Group to represent your claim, you are getting a full-service team of dedicated attorneys and paralegals who will be committed to pursuing the best outcome for you from day one until trial.

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