Drivers are required to come to a complete stop and yield the right-of-way at any posted stop sign.
Why Do We Have Stop Signs?
Stop signs are designed to manage traffic and foster safety on the road. The vast majority of drivers seem to adhere to the rules of road but there are times when others who fail to stop, sometimes resulting in car accidents that cause serious injuries or even fatalities. Drivers accept huge risks when running a stop sign that not only include other motorist, but include pedestrians, bicycles, and animals.
What Exactly is Fault?
The person or entity legally at fault is the party determined to be negligent and therefore responsible for the damages resulting from the accident. Following an automobile accident, the party who is at fault typically must cover car repair expenses and pay for medical bills as well as lost earning capacity. This is determined on a case-by-case scenario.
Who is at Fault Following an Accident at a Stop Sign?
The requirement that drivers stop when approaching a stop sign is set forth in Colorado’s traffic statutes, which carefully dictate the legal obligations of drivers who approach vehicle control signs and signals. The law sets forth the specific point at which approaching driver must stop, which is either a marked stop line before a marked crosswalk or before entering the intersection that does not have a painted crosswalk.
While it may seem evident a driver who causes a car accident after failing to honor a stop sign is at fault, it remains the victim’s legal burden to prove the facts and circumstances relevant to liability. This may require the victim to show the stop sign was visible and that the at-fault driver should have seen the stop sign and stopped but failed to do so. If the stop sign is obscured by foliage or other signs, it is important for the alleged tortfeasor to photograph the intersection at or near the time of the car accident and to identify any parties responsible for maintaining the area where the sign is placed.
What Are Common Reasons Drivers Run Stop Signs?
Unfortunately, some drivers disregard their own safety and the safety of others because they are in a hurry or distracted while driving. In these situations, they may not even realize they failed to stop at an intersection with a posted stop sign. Research indicates there are a handful of common reasons drivers run stop signs, including:
- Inattentiveness: Drivers did not notice the stop sign.
- Rushed: Drivers who are in a hurry may run through a stop sign without stopping.
- Rolling Stop: Some drivers tend to roll through a stop sign, particularly when making left turns.
- Obstructions: Parked vehicles or foliage obstructs a drivers’ view.
- Distraction: Drivers are distracted by cell phones, eating, animals, or other diversions.
- Speeding: Drivers are speeding and do not even see the stop sign.
- Drugs or alcohol.
Owner and Managing Attorney
Jerry Bowman, J.D., M.A., Owner and managing attorney of Bowman Law LLC, takes his responsibility to the legal profession seriously and dedicates his time and effort to providing quality and competent legal representation to clients in Denver and throughout all of Colorado. He holds an MA in Political Science from Wayne State University and earned his law degree in two and a half years from Michigan State University College of Law.
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