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What to do when a missing street sign causes a car accident

Car accidents are not always clear-cut. Sometimes multiple factors played into a wreck, such as one tragic incident several months ago in Colorado when a high school student missed a curve, causing his vehicle to roll. Deputies later said a sign warning drivers about the curve was not in place at the time of the crash.

When a person sustains injuries in a car accident, it is vital for the police and the person's insurance company to be aware of all the contributing factors. While it can be difficult to sue a municipality for a missing or damaged street sign, it can be a viable way to recover damages. 

Make note of the sign at the scene

There are many ways a missing street sign can contribute to a crash. A missing stop sign can make one driver run an intersection, colliding with another vehicle. The lack of a one-way road sign can make someone travel in the wrong direction down the street. 

Regardless of the situation, someone needs to take a picture of the missing or damaged sign at the scene. Someone needs to take pictures of both cars regardless for insurance purposes, but these pictures can also serve as evidence later. Additionally, it is important for the people involved to point out the missing sign. 

Who is liable?

In the event someone stole the street sign that resulted in a crash, the thief would hold liability. That is dependent on the police being able to track the thief down and prove he or she took the sign.

Whether it is stolen or removed due to damage, there may be ways to show the local government was negligent. For example, if people in the city are well aware the government has not replaced an important street sign for a while, then it becomes easier to prove negligence on the part of the government. The argument would come down to showing how the government failed to replace the sign in a timely manner, which contributed to the wreck.

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