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Lawrence Egerton
Lawrence Egerton
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Street Signs: When a Driver’s View is Obstructed, Who is to Blame?


Road signs are vital to maintaining safe roadways. Without them the streets would be a chaotic and dangerous place. So whose fault is it when your view of those signs is completely blocked? This is the exact question raised by a case we took this week.

Our driver entered an intersection and was suddenly t-boned by another car. It turns out that she had driven through a stop sign, but did not find that out until she was told about it at the hospital by the investigating officer. He also told her this made her "at fault". This news was quite a shock to her, since she was unaware that there had been any stop sign at that intersection.

Why? Because it was completely obscured by a large parked truck. She also had the unfortunate circumstance of having her view down the cross street blocked by a large brick building, making it impossible to see the oncoming car either. Having never traveled this street before, our client had no way of knowing about the stop sign. She became a victim of the exact situation the sign was put there to avoid.

This case raises several questions. Was our driver at fault here? I don’t think so. Our office takes the position that the accident was caused by the truck driver whose parked truck blocked the view of the stop sign. We are also considering the possibility that the city is liable for failing to designate the area in front of the sign a "no parking zone" as is common at many intersections served by stop signs, to avoid situations exactly such as this. What could our client have done to avoid the accident? I don’t think she could have done anything.

As you can see from the photos, there was really no indication that any stop sign existed, or that cross traffic had the right of way. We’ll let you know what happens.


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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Very interesting point. We have a number of intersections in Minnesota where the signs are level with the truck drivers. Guess what happens at those intersections. Just plain crazy.

  2. Mary Bordelon says:
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    I am doing a prpblem solution paper on this very subject and I would appreciate anything you could give me on the subject of accidents and obstructed signs. Thank you very much.