Confusing, misleading, or defective signage can easily cause crashes in New Jersey. Traffic authorities must be careful when it comes to road signs. Although signs might seem like relatively innocuous pieces of metal, they perform crucial roles in traffic safety. A simple sign has the potential to save lives. Alternatively, a defective sign has the potential to end lives. Although many signs are important on the road, perhaps the most important example is a stop sign. Without these signs, accidents are almost inevitable. One set of parents recently filed an auto accident lawsuit in New Jersey, claiming that their son died because a stop sign was blocked from view. 

Parents of Deceased Teen Claim Stop Sign Was Covered by Bushes

New Jersey Parents Sue for Crash Allegedly Caused by “Blocked Stop Sign”

In 2022, a 15-year-old lost his life in a fatal car crash in Pittsgrove. The victim was sitting in a vehicle driven by another teen – who was subsequently indicted on manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter charges. In addition, the driver’s mother is facing criminal charges for lending her car to the teen driver – who was allegedly intoxicated by marijuana before getting behind the wheel. 

Police say that the vehicle was traveling at over 100 miles per hour when it ran a stop sign. After moving through the intersection, the driver lost control and hit a tree. This impact killed the passenger, but the driver survived. Although criminal charges were relatively straightforward after this incident, the possibility of a civil lawsuit has also emerged. 

While the teen driver clearly ran a stop sign, the parents of the deceased teen argue that the sign was covered by bushes and shrubs. In a recent lawsuit, the parents claimed that the teen driver could not have seen this stop sign, as it was completely obstructed from view. The implication is that traffic authorities are partially liable for the accident in question – and that they should pay damages associated with the teen’s death. Specifically, the parents are suing the Township of Pittsgrove and the Salem County government for negligently contributing to the dangerous condition of public property. They are also suing the owners of the residential properties along the intersection. 

Can You Really Sue for Accidents Caused by Traffic Signs?

Although it might seem like a long shot to sue for accidents allegedly caused by problematic traffic signs, this is well within the realms of possibility. Many past crashes have clearly been caused by confusing, blocked, or defective signs. All it takes is one simple mistake. Faced with a defective sign, a driver might suddenly find themselves driving into oncoming traffic. Pedestrians might also find themselves walking into dangerous roads because of blocked sidewalks or questionable “detours.” In some cases, motorists have driven off bridges or overpasses due to confusing signage. 

Confusing signage is particularly common in construction zones. Due to the haphazard and temporary nature of construction diversions, signage may make no sense whatsoever. Drivers may be directed into single lanes of traffic, and the right of way may be impossible to determine. Highway construction can be especially dangerous, as a confusing array of traffic cones and flashing lights can cause drivers to travel into oncoming traffic. 

New Jersey’s comparative negligence laws state that you can pursue compensation from a defendant who was at least 50% responsible for your accident. If they were 49% responsible, on the other hand, you would lose the ability to pursue compensation. The parents of the deceased teen may, therefore, pursue compensation for their teen’s death even if the negligent driver clearly “caused” the accident. As long as they can show that the local traffic authorities were at least 50% responsible for the accident, they may receive compensation. This situation highlights the need for effective legal representation as plaintiffs attempt to prove sufficient fault on the part of traffic authorities. 

Find an Experienced Car Crash Lawyer in New Jersey

If you believe your car crash in New Jersey was caused by defective, confusing, or blocked road signs, you might just be right. To explore the possibility of a lawsuit in more detail, consider getting in touch with a qualified car accident lawyer. During your first consultation, you and your lawyer can discuss the details of the accident in more detail. If your case has merits, your lawyer can recommend further legal action. Traffic authorities have a legal responsibility to provide motorists with effective road signage. If they fail in this duty of care, you may have the opportunity to hold them accountable. Reach out today to discuss your legal options in more detail. 

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over thirty years.

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