Phoenix Defective Road Signs

Local officials must do everything possible to keep Phoenix’s roads in safe condition. They should promptly respond to reports of damaged, defaced, obstructed, or non-existent road signs to prevent confusion, misdirection, and the tragic accidents these defects can cause.

Still, incidents of defective signage happen regularly, increasing the risk of serious accidents. If you were in a collision caused by defective signs, partner with Phoenix Defective Road Signs Attorney who can seek financial recovery for your losses.

How Defects on Road Signs Affect Roadway Safety?

NTL-top-40-40-memberGood signage must fulfill a need, command attention, convey a clear message, and provide enough time for the driver to respond. When signage doesn’t do that, accidents can happen. Three major signs on Phoenix’s streets include:

Regulatory Signs

Regulatory signs tell the driver the laws of the specific road.

Regulatory signs may advise motorists to:

  • Stop
  • Refrain from U-turns
  • Only travel one way

When a regulatory sign has damage (or if drivers cannot see it), accidents could occur. The government entity in charge of the sign must repair or replace it immediately upon learning of the damage.

Warning Signs

Warning signs help drivers make decisions on how to properly operate their vehicles. These signs usually give the driver advanced notice of the action they must take. They warn them that a potential hazard could arise ahead of them.

Examples of warning signs on the road include:

  • Reduced speed ahead
  • Railroad crossing ahead
  • Speed change warnings

When warning signs get damaged or have defects, drivers can’t plan ahead when performing certain maneuvers. A lack of signage could cause drivers to run off the road, strike animals, or collide with another object.

Guide Signs

Guide signs provide drivers with information about how to get to a particular location. These signs don’t necessarily tell a driver how to drive, but they help them navigate without relying on GPS.

Guide signs generally indicate the locations of:

  • Rest stops
  • Exits
  • Merging lanes
  • Various destinations, such as state parks
  • Construction workers

While these signs won’t usually cause an accident themselves if they get damaged, they could cause a driver to get lost or confused. Then, motorists may focus more on navigating their cars rather than remaining safe. This could put all road users at risk of harm.

How Do Road Signs Get Defects?

Road signs can suffer damage for various reasons. Damage can cause signs to bend, lose their reflectiveness, or obscure their messages.

Road signs in Phoenix become defective from:

  • Natural causes: Natural causes, such as weather or extreme exposure to sunlight, can damage signs. Animals can also destroy road signs.
  • Accidents: Some traffic accidents involved motorists hitting stationary road signs. If local officials do not promptly fix or replace a damaged stop sign, for example, drivers may fail to see it, run the stop sign, and cause another accident.
  • Vandalism: Vandals may spray paint, apply stickers, or otherwise deface roadway signs. It’s local officials’ job to make sure these signs remain visible and free of obstructions.

Defective Signage May Accompany Other Roadway Hazards

Sometimes, a government entity knows that a roadway is particularly unsafe for motorists. To address the issue, it puts up a warning sign (rather than redesigning the road). If these signs suffer damage, motorists could suffer collisions.

Unsafe roadway hazards that may accompany defective signage include:

  • Improper speed limits
  • Broken guardrails
  • Eroded lane dividers
  • Overgrown foliage
  • Debris in a roadway
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals
  • Flooded roadways
  • Steep ramps

Unfortunately, some municipalities may not invest sufficient resources to maintain their roadways. The Phoenix Business Journal reports that Arizona only spends 15 percent of its highway budget on roadway repairs. That’s well below the national average, which is 30 percent.

What to Know if a Defective Sign Causes an Accident?

When an accident occurs because of a missing or unreadable sign, the government entity in charge of that sign could hold liability.

Pursuing damages from a government agency after an accident isn’t easy. For one thing, government agencies generally have teams of lawyers ready to defend them from liability. These high-powered attorneys sometimes go to incredible lengths to assert an injured party’s negligence.

Here are some other things to know about these cases:

  • Lawsuits against government agencies come with shorter filing periods than lawsuits against individuals. For example, according to Arizona law, you generally have just one year to sue a government office. You have even less time to file your notice of claim.
  • You need evidence to build a successful case against the liable party. Photos of the defective signage could speak volumes when asserting your right to damages. Also, a copy of the accident report and eyewitness testimony could bolster your case.
  • Like with any case, recovering compensation takes time. It could take days, weeks, or months to resolve your case. It’s crucial to remain patient. The first settlement offer may not fully account for your expenses, and you can negotiate.

Who Is Liable?

Experienced Lawyer for Car Accident near PhoenixDefective roadway design cases typically name the entity that designed the road as a defendant. This could be a private party, but it is more likely the state or federal government. If your injuries occurred on a public road, the government that owns the road may be responsible for damages. It is the owner of the road’s responsibility to ensure its safe and reasonable design. Negligently breaching this duty by allowing a dangerous or defective roadway design to become a reality could expose the governmental body to liability for related auto accidents.

Partner With an Attorney After a Car Accident in Phoenix

When a defective road sign in Phoenix causes your accident, you can file a claim against the government entity in charge of that road. Government entities must ensure that drivers can clearly see signage and safely navigate public roads.

An attorney can identify the liable party and build a case against them. To recover damages, your lawyer must prove that the other party acted negligently, and this led to your accident.

Demonstrating negligence involves showing:

  • Duty of care: The government entity in charge of the defective signage had an obligation to keep road users safe.
  • Breach of duty: The government entity breached its duty by allowing signage defects to go unrepaired. Your lawyer would show that the agency knew (or should have known) about the hazard but failed to act.
  • Causation: You must prove the government’s breach of duty caused the accident in which you suffered injuries. Evidence to prove causation includes the police report, traffic camera footage, and eyewitness testimony.
  • Damages: Finally, your lawyer must show that because of a defective road sign in Phoenix, you have injury-related damages. These could comprise medical bills and lost income.

By building a strong case based on negligence, your lawyer can recover the compensation you need to move forward.

Damages You Could Recover After a Defective Road Sign Accident in Phoenix

If you sustained injuries because of an accident caused by defective road signs in Phoenix, you could recover compensation for your losses. An attorney can determine the damages you could recover based on your injuries. By hiring an attorney, you can focus on recovering from your condition while they pursue financial justice.

Through a claim or lawsuit, you could recover:

Economic Damages

Economic damages could compensate you for the monetary losses you accrued because of your injuries. You could have lost a lot of money getting your injuries treated and missing work. An attorney can help you seek compensation, so you stay financially whole.

Examples of damages you could recover include:

  • Medical bills: You could seek compensation for any medical care needed to treat your injuries. If you had to go to the emergency room, needed surgery, or went to physical therapy, you could include those costs in your claim.
  • Lost income: You could seek your lost income if you couldn’t work because of your injuries. You can also recover other revenue streams, including tips, bonuses, benefits, and commissions.
  • Property damage expenses. Your car could need expensive repairs after the collision. It might even be totaled. In that instance, you could seek recovery for the cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle.
  • Anything you spent out of pocket. You may have needed to spend money on childcare costs, temporary transportation arrangements, and other obligations. Using documentation (like receipts), you can seek recovery for those losses.

An attorney can prove that you sustained damages. They can gather evidence, such as medical bills, receipts, pay stubs, and retirement account information, to support the amount you’re requesting.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages compensate you for the challenges you now face.

Examples of non-economic damages you could seek compensation for include:

  • Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering is a legal term that relates to the accident’s effect on your physical and emotional well-being.
  • Emotional anguish: If you developed mental health complications as a result of the accident or your injuries, you could seek compensation for those challenges.
  • Disability. Suffering a car accident could leave you with long-term impairments that affect your quality of life.

What to Do After an Accident Caused by Defective Road Signs in Phoenix?

After getting in an accident caused by a defective road sign in Phoenix, the following considerations could help you seek damages:

Call 911

Immediately after the accident, call 911. Tell them the location of the accident and if anyone sustained injuries. While you wait for the police and emergency personnel to arrive, wait in a safe location.

Once they arrive at the scene, get checked out by medical personnel. Have them document any potential injuries you could have sustained. If needed, receive the treatment they recommend.

Speak to the police and provide a detailed report of what happened. Make sure you show them the defective sign. Even if you know the sign caused your accident, refrain from making any accusations. Anything you say on the record could affect your case later.

Take Photos of the Defective Sign

If your injuries allow, take photos of the defective sign and any other roadway hazards. You want to preserve this information as soon as possible. After learning about the accident, the government may fix the sign, leaving you with little supporting evidence.

Obtain the Contact Information of Those Involved

If anyone else was involved in your accident, ask for their contact information. Also, ensure you receive their insurance information and driver’s license number. These details let your lawyer contact them later.

If possible, identify any witnesses who saw the crash happen. Get their contact information, too  and ask for a witness statement. If your case goes to court, they could give their testimony, which could help your case.

Seek Medical Attention

After an accident, seek follow-up medical care from a trusted health professional. Your injuries could require further treatments than what the emergency medical personnel provided. For instance, what could have initially seemed like a harmless bruise could actually point to serious internal bleeding? A persistent headache could point to a traumatic brain injury.

You want to do everything in your power to fully recover from your condition. You also want to do everything possible to show the liable insurer that you suffered injuries in the collision. Your x-rays, MRIs, and other lab test results can bolster your claim.

Consider Contacting a Car Accident Attorney

Shannon L. Clark, Car Accident Lawyer in Phoenix

Shannon L. Clark, Car Accident Attorney in Phoenix. 

Speaking with an attorney is one of the most important steps you could take after getting into an accident. Fortunately, many personal injury attorneys in Phonex offer free consultations, so you can learn about your legal options at no cost.

You don’t have to accept the aftermath of an accident with a defective road sign in Phoenix. You have legal rights when it comes to seeking financial recovery.

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Gallagher & Kennedy — Phoenix Office

2575 E Camelback Rd, Suite 1100
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Tel: (602) 530-8400