According to the Federal Highway Administration, 10,301 people died in 2017 due to intersection accidents. Houston stop sign accidents are unfortunately fairly common, often causing injuries and other damages. If you were involved in an accident at a stop sign, you might be wondering what the next steps are. Hiring an attorney may help you navigate your claim to get compensation for your injuries.
Houston Stop Sign Accidents are More Common Than You Think
You might be thinking that Houston stop sign accidents are pretty rare. Surely people are stopping when there’s a big red sign right there, right?
Unfortunately, many accidents occur at intersections with stop signs or traffic lights. In fact, a study from 2003 showed that about 700,000 accidents each year happen at stop signs. What’s worse, about one-third of those resulted in injuries.
About 40% of car accidents happen in intersections according to the National highway Traffic Safety Administration. So, it’s important to be aware of the road, especially when approaching intersections.
If you’ve already been in an accident at a stop sign, then you may want to contact an attorney for help with your case.
Common Causes of Houston Stop Sign Accidents
Unfortunately, most Houston stop sign accidents happen because a driver doesn’t follow stop sign laws. One study looked at 1,788 intersection crashes in major cities between 1996 and 2000 and found that about 70% of those accidents were due to a stop sign violation.
The study also found that younger drivers were more likely to run stop signs. By contrast, older drivers generally do stop before the accident. In fact, in about two-thirds of stop sign crashes, the drivers claimed they stopped. Most crashes occur because the driver didn’t look at the surrounding area well enough before continuing. Remember, the point of stopping at a stop sign isn’t simply to follow the law, it’s to check for traffic, pedestrians, and other hazards before continuing your route.
About 12% of stop sign crashes end in Houston rear end collisions. This can be for several reasons, such as following too closely, distracted driving, or speeding.
Most car accidents are due to driver error, which means in most cases at least one driver will be at fault. However, for your claim or lawsuit you’ll need to prove the other driver’s fault. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to prove fault for your accident.
Proving Fault for Stop Sign Crashes
Establishing fault for Houston stop sign accidents may seem simple if someone ran the stop sign, but it’s often more complex than that. Remember, most crashes at stop signs involve drivers who do stop. So, it’s important to have evidence to support your claim.
Your Houston auto personal injury attorney can help with proving the other driver’s fault. We use several different strategies to do this. For example, gathering witness testimonies, pictures, and even security camera footage from nearby businesses can help.
Generally, for your case to be successful you’ll need to prove that the other driver didn’t perform their duty of care on the road. Some driving behaviors that may show the other driver’s fault in a stop sign crash include:
- Not coming to a complete stop
- Following too closely
- Improper lane changes
- Sudden speed changes
- Failure to yield to the person who has the right of way
- Driving too fast
- Distracted driving
- Failing to survey the surrounding area before continuing
In some cases, municipalities may even be at fault for Houston stop sign accidents. An attorney can help you determine if this may be the case for your accident.
Obscured Stop Signs or Traffic Lights
What happens if traffic control devices like stop signs or traffic lights aren’t easily visible? In some cases, this may affect who’s at fault for your accident.
Now, ignorance of the law is almost never a good legal defense. However, there are some situations where the other driver may not be at fault, or may share fault with the party responsible for designing the intersection or maintaining the roadways.
For example, many drivers have gotten into accidents because of poorly designed traffic control. In many cases, a stop sign was fine for an intersection a few years ago, but increases in traffic have made it less effective at preventing crashes. Also, in some cases stop signs or traffic lights might be hard to see because of poor maintenance, such as overgrown trees or shrubs.
In these cases, you may be able to file a hazardous roadway claim for your accident. For these claims, you generally must show proof of the hazard, as well as evidence that it was a known issue. These claims can be difficult, but may help you for your case. Talk to your attorney about your specific situation to see if these circumstances apply. Also, don’t forget to take plenty of pictures of the hazard if you’re able to after your accident. This can help serve as evidence for your case.
Tips for Avoiding Intersection and Houston Stop Sign Accidents
While many accidents are unavoidable, there are some things you can do to help avoid accidents at intersections and stop signs. For example, making sure to give yourself plenty of room between cars in case they stop quickly may help you avoid Houston rear end collisions. Also, remember to stop completely and look around thoroughly before proceeding.
In addition, it’s important to make sure you know what kind of intersection you’re at. Many people get into Houston stop sign accidents at two-way stop signs because they assume they are four-way stops. Most stop signs will have a small sign underneath them stating what kind of stop they indicate.
Also, you can report road hazards directly to the Texas Department of Transportation to their website. This may help reduce the risk of accidents for you and others at the intersection.
Houston Auto Personal Injury Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office
After an accident, choose our attorneys at DeSimone Law Office. We’ve helped settle thousands of car accident cases and are here to help you with your case. Our team will even take care of your out-of-pocket expenses and provide you with a rental car at no cost. If we don’t win your case, then we ask for nothing in compensation. Call us today at (713) 526-0900 for a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers!