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Stop Sign Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

In stop sign accidents, determining who is at fault is important. Fault usually depends on whether a driver failed to stop at the stop sign, did not yield the right of way, or was careless.

These accidents happen when drivers do not follow the rules of the road, leading to crashes. Knowing who is responsible can help injured victims receive fair compensation.

In this article, we’ll cover the common factors that decide who is at fault in stop sign accidents. Whether you are a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, understanding fault can help you deal with these situations better.

Stop sign at street intersection

Common Causes of Stop Sign Accidents

One of the most frequent causes of car accidents in California is the failure to stop at stop signs. But what leads drivers to ignore these critical traffic signals? Below, are some common reasons:

  • Failure to stop completely (also known as the “California Roll”)
  • Intentionally running a stop sign
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Poor visibility (trees, parked cars, or other obstacles, obstructed signs)
  • Right-of-Way Confusion

Determining Fault in Stop Sign Crashes: It’s All About Right-of-Way

Determining fault in stop sign crashes often boils down to understanding right-of-way rules. Right-of-way rules explain who gets to go first when vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists meet on the road. When drivers fail to yield the right-of-way, stop sign accidents occur.

“The vehicle that arrives to the intersection first has the right-of-way. Other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians must wait for the person who has the right-of-way.” – California DMV

Typically, the driver who reaches the stop sign first has the right-of-way. However, if two drivers arrive simultaneously, the driver on the right goes first. Drivers must also yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and any oncoming traffic that has already entered the intersection.

Intersection Layout and Fault Determination

Different types of intersections have specific rules that drivers must follow. The design and visibility of these intersections can significantly impact how accidents occur and who is at fault.

Cars and a bicyclist at an intersection - right-of-way
  • At a four-way stop, the first vehicle to arrive has the right-of-way.
  • At T-junctions, drivers on the terminating road must yield to those on the through road.
  • Roundabouts require drivers to yield to traffic already in the circle.

Poorly marked or confusing intersections increase the likelihood of collisions, making fault determination more challenging.

Investigators examine the intersection layout, police report, traffic signs, and road markings to understand the circumstances of the accident.

By analyzing these factors, they can identify which driver violated the rules and establish fault and liability. Understanding the impact of intersection design is essential for both preventing accidents and accurately determining fault when they occur.

Hitting a Car That Ran a Stop Sign: Is the Other Driver Automatically Fully Liable?

While failure to stop at a stop sign often indicates responsibility, other factors  can also influence fault:

  • Road conditions
  • Sign obstruction
  • Other drivers’ actions

Therefore, a thorough investigation is usually necessary to determine fault. To establish responsibility, investigators examine traffic laws, witness statements, and any available video footage. They assess whether each driver followed the rules of the road, including stopping completely and yielding the right of way.

Pedestrians and Stop Sign Accidents

Pedestrians face specific dangers at stop signs, mainly when drivers fail to yield. At intersections, pedestrians often expect vehicles to stop for them.

pedestrian accident lawyers in Huntington Beach

In California, pedestrian right-of-way laws are clear. At an intersection, drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing the street within marked or unmarked crosswalks. Even without signals, pedestrians have the right-of-way, and drivers must exercise caution to avoid endangering them.

Pedestrian Accidents & Bill 2147

Another important consideration for pedestrians involves recent legislative changes, specifically, Assembly Bill 2147.

This bill introduces complexities in liability determinations in accidents involving pedestrians. Bill 2147 allows people to cross the street legally at any point, provided it is safe to do so. Under Bill 2147, the burden is on the pedestrian’s judgment of safety and the driver’s responsibility to remain vigilant.

Legally, you might be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Consulting with a pedestrian accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options.

E-Bikes and Traffic Laws

The growing popularity of electric bikes (e-bikes) has introduced new considerations for safety. In response, California updated its traffic laws in 2015 to include electric bicycles, recognizing their unique capabilities and risks.

E-bike riders must follow the same traffic laws as traditional bicycles. This includes:

  • Stopping completely at stop signs
  • Yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians
  • Observing posted speed limits

In accidents involving e-bikes, determining fault involves assessing compliance with these traffic laws.

Solo Car Crashes: When You Hit a Stop Sign

If you find yourself in a situation where your car hits a stop sign, follow the same steps as in any other vehicle collision.

  1. Assess the Damage: Check if there’s any damage to your vehicle
  2. Report the Incident: Report the accident to the local authorities
  3. Document the Scene: Take photos of the car, the broken stop sign, and any relevant surroundings to document the crash.

This can be helpful for insurance claims and legal protection.

Legal Implications of Hitting a Stop Sign

  • Can you go to jail for hitting a stop sign? Generally, hitting a stop sign is not a criminal offense unless it involves reckless driving or DUI elements.
  • Fault Determination: In stop sign accidents who’s at fault in solo crashes is often clear. However, factors like road conditions could impact fault. In this case, it’s essential to consult legal advice to understand the full scope of possible legal outcomes.

What to Do After a Stop Sign Accident in California

After a stop sign accident in California, there are important steps to take. First, report the accident to your insurance company and provide the information you collected at the scene. This includes details about the other driver, any witnesses, and photos of the vehicles and intersection.

Next, seek medical attention if you haven’t already, as some injuries may not show symptoms immediately. Keep all medical records and receipts, as these will be important for any claims.

Consider consulting a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help guide you through the legal process and deal with insurance companies. Remember, it’s crucial to act promptly to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve.

When to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Reach out to a personal injury attorney immediately if you sustain injuries in a stop sign accident. Consider seeking legal advice if you encounter any of the following situations:

  • Disputes over fault
  • Difficult insurance companies
  • Substantial medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Hit-and-run

Did You Get Hit at a Stop Sign?

If you suffered serious injuries or wrongful death due to a driver’s failure to obey traffic signs, don’t face the insurance company alone!

El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers - Personal Injury Attorneys in California

Our seasoned Personal Injury Attorneys at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers have the experience to secure fair compensation for your injuries. Time is critical—contact us at (213) 985-1120 to learn more about your legal options