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Can a Local Government Be Liable for an Accident Caused by Confusing Road Signs?

Road signs are meant to instruct drivers and lead them to safety. Most road signs are clear, simple, and easy to understand. But, what happens if two road signs are too close together, and this proximity causes confusion and leads to an accident? Could the city or county responsible for placing the road signs be held liable for any accidents that result?

Examples of Confusing Road Signs

In most cases, state transportation departments are responsible for placing and maintaining traffic signs on roads under their jurisdiction. The transportation department’s failure to do so may make them liable for any accident that results.

There are several situations in which road signs may be confusing to drivers including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Signs with two different messages placed to close together, such as one that has a “left curve” warning next to one that says “keep right”
  • Signs with text that is too small to read
  • Signs with too many words or labels
  • Signs that do not provide enough warning of an upcoming hazard

Such road signs could lead drivers into a collision course or trap that they cannot get out of until it’s too late. Such incidents can lead to monumental costs for motorists in medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

Each car accident is unique, and it’s important for you to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can launch an investigation and determine who may be liable for damages. Particularly if a local government may be responsible for an accident caused by confusing road signs, you need seasoned legal representation who can protect your best interests.

At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, our San Jose personal injury attorneys can take this complicated matter out of your hands while you focus on recovering from your injuries.