When drivers fail to exercise caution or follow the rules of the road, car accidents can happen. This is especially true at busy intersections with traffic lights or stop signs. Proving fault is pretty straightforward in the average car accident case. On the other hand, proving fault in a stop sign accident can be incredibly tricky, especially if there were more than two cars at the intersection. Below, our legal team breaks down stop sign violations and rules, as well as how to prove fault in stop sign accidents.
If you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, or property damage due to a serious accident, you may have grounds to file a car accident claim. We can negotiate with insurance companies, protect your legal rights, and help you obtain a fair settlement from the negligent driver. Call a Baton Rouge car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown today at 225-343-1111 today.
Stop Sign Traffic Rules
Understanding basic traffic laws and right-of-way rules at stop signs is crucial to not only prevent accidents, but to determine fault in a stop sign accident as well.
- First to Stop is the First to Go: This is the most basic stop sign rule that everyone is supposed to know, but unfortunately, even many experienced drivers don’t fully understand. If you are the first person to stop at a four way stop, then you are the first person to go.
- Farthest Right Goes First: We don’t live in a perfect world, so most of the time, multiple cars stop at a stop sign at the same time. In this case, the furthest right car gets to go first.
- Straight Traffic Goes First if the aforementioned two rules do not apply to the situation. Let’s say two cars on opposing sides of the street stop at the stop sign simultaneously. Let’s also say that one of these cars is turning left while the other one is going straight. The car going straight gets to go first.
- Don’t Know? Don’t Go: If you’re in a situation where you truly don’t know what to do, and you feel that even if you did have the right of way you could get into a car crash, then don’t go.
What Does “Running a Stop Sign” Mean?
Running a stop sign can mean a couple different things. It can mean that someone did not make a complete stop at an intersection before driving off. It can also mean that a driver turning left or going straight did not wait their turn before going. The same rules apply at a red light: if you didn’t make a complete stop or you didn’t yield to oncoming traffic, you ran a red light.
Common Causes of Stop Sign Accidents
Car accidents at stop sign intersections are incredibly common. Listed below are the most common reasons why stop sign accidents happen:
- Distracted Driving: Many people think that a stop sign intersection is a great time to adjust their music on their cell phone, text a friend back, or check their phone notifications. These are all examples of incredible distractions. Stop sign intersections require a lot of focus and attention because you have to see who arrived at the intersection first in order to determine who has the right of way. You can’t do this well if you’re staring at your cell phone, fixing your makeup, or tending to a child in the backseat, for example.
- Drunk or Drugged Driving: If you’re drunk or under the influence of some illicit substance, you’re going to struggle at stop sign intersections even more than normal. Your reaction time will be slowed, your vision will be blurry, you’ll struggle to judge the approximate distance or speed of other cars, and you’ll be more likely to make a risky move on the roads. This is a recipe for disaster at a busy intersection.
- Speeding: We’ve all been there – late for an appointment or work and speeding through stop signs as quickly as possible without looking both ways first. Hitting a car at a high speed increases the chances of everyone suffering severe injuries or death.
- Reckless and Careless Driving: Our roads are full of reckless and careless drivers blatantly ignoring traffic signs and rules, failing to make complete stops at stop signs, speeding, erratically changing lanes, etc. These types of drivers are very likely to cause a stop sign accident.
- Uninformed Drivers: We all have to go through driver’s ed in order to get a driver’s license. This short period of time learning all the rules of the road can easily be forgotten as years pass. There are countless “experienced” drivers who still aren’t sure who has the right of way at a stop sign, and this alone can easily lead to an accident.
- Broken or Obstructed Stop Signs: Previous intersection accidents and high winds can bend or break stop signs, making them difficult to see. Additionally, overgrown trees and bushes can easily hide stop signs from drivers. If no one knows when and where to stop, an accident is bound to happen.
Common Stop Sign Car Accident Injuries
T-bone and rear end collisions at stop signs can lead to very serious injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries such as concussions
- Skull and facial fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Neck injuries such as whiplash
- Herniated discs and/or pinched nerves
- Fractured vertebrae
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Broken bones
- Scarring, bruising, and/or lacerations
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other types of emotional distress
- Loss of fetus
- Wrongful death
Who’s At Fault for a Stop Sign Accident?
Now back to the main question at hand. Basically, the driver who committed the stop sign violation is the one at fault for the accident. For example, if a distracted driver runs a stop sign and t-bones another driver who had the right of way at the intersection, the distracted driver would be the negligent one because they committed a clear violation of traffic laws.
How to Prove Someone Ran a Stop Sign
Proving fault in a stop sign accident can be difficult without sufficient evidence. In order to properly prove fault in an insurance claim or a personal injury claim, you should have the following pieces of evidence:
- Police Report: When a police officer arrives at an accident scene, they will talk to all drivers to figure out how the accident happened. They will also examine the accident scene to ensure that the drivers’ stories line up with the evidence. Officers will include all findings and conclusions in their police reports.
- Surveillance Footage: Some intersections have nearby surveillance cameras. Additionally, some cars have dashboard cameras. If there was any type of camera nearby that could have caught the accident happening, it’s crucial to request a copy of this footage to prove fault.
- Accident Scene Evidence: Just like crime scenes, car accident scenes can tell the story of what actually happened through things like skid marks and property damage.
What To Do After a Stop Sign Accident
If you’ve never been in a car accident before, you may feel completely overwhelmed and confused as to how to best handle the situation, especially with all that adrenaline coursing through your system. Below, our legal team lists a few steps you should take after a stop sign car accident to best protect yourself.
- Call 911: First thing’s first – always call 911, even if you believe the accident is a minor one. 911 will dispatch paramedics and police to the scene. You should allow paramedics to check you for injuries and provide basic medical treatment, even if you believe you’re not injured. In the meantime, police officers will examine the scene and talk to all drivers involved.
- Stay At the Scene: Common responses to traumatic accidents include fight, flight, or freeze. No matter how much you may want to, do not choose the “flight” option and leave the scene of the accident. You may face hit and run charges and massive fines if you do.
- Exchange Information: Before you leave an accident scene, be sure to exchange names, phone numbers, and insurance company information with the other driver(s) involved.
- Gather Evidence: Be sure to take pictures and videos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any car damage. You may need it for your insurance claim or personal injury claim.
- Contact Your Insurance Company: You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the crash. Depending on who is at fault, you will either compensate the other driver or they will need to compensate you.
- Call a Car Accident Lawyer: If the other driver is uninsured or their insurance policy isn’t enough to cover your damages, you may need to hire a lawyer and file a personal injury claim. Baton Rouge car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown will make sure your legal rights are protected and you are fully compensated for your suffering.
Can I Sue for a Stop Sign Accident?
Yes, you can definitely sue for a stop sign accident if the other driver was negligent, uninsured, and/or underinsured and caused you severe injuries and other damages. For most accidents, the minimum car insurance required in Louisiana is enough to cover all damages caused by the motorist’s negligence. Therefore, most drivers don’t need to pursue legal action.
However, not all drivers are insured, and not all insurance policies provide enough compensation for catastrophic accidents. In these cases, crash victims can definitely pursue compensation through a civil lawsuit, and Baton Rouge car accident lawyers can help.
Stop Sign Accident Damages
A Baton Rouge car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown can help crash victims recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:
- All medical bills
- All physical therapy bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity if the victim can no longer complete their job duties due to their injuries
- Mental health counseling bills
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and/or disability
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
- Funeral and burial expenses if the crash results in wrongful death
Call Baton Rouge Car Accident Lawyers at The Law Offices of Ossie Brown Today
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or wrongful death due to a driver’s failure to obey traffic signals and signs, you may have grounds to pursue legal action. Baton Rouge car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown have been helping personal injury victims obtain justice and fair compensation since 1984. We can protect your legal rights and guide you through the entire legal process. Call 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation at our law firm today.