Accidents Caused by Defective Traffic Control Devices
If you were involved in an accident that was caused by a defective traffic control device, the police officer investigating the accident may not believe you. They may not acknowledge that a traffic light could be defective, resulting in a serious accident. Your insurance company may also refuse to blame the accident on the traffic light, leaving you responsible for your property damage and physical injuries. If no one is taking your claim seriously, you may need to turn to a lawyer to fight for you, to get you compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Defective and Poorly Programmed Traffic Control Devices
When there is a problem with a traffic control device, it can lead to dangerous conditions for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. When a traffic light improperly gives multiple lanes a green light, two cars can unknowingly drive straight into each other. An obscured road sign can fail to warn a driver of cross traffic ahead, leading to a serious T-bone accident. Pedestrians may think an approaching car is aware of a crosswalk, only to end up hit by the unsuspecting driver.
Traffic control devices malfunction more than most people realize. They are generally controlled by timers, motion sensing devices, weight sensing devices, cross-walk buttons, and other signals. In some cases, these sensors may fail to notice a waiting car, leaving the driver no choice but to ignore the traffic signal. Other traffic control devices may malfunction, giving multiple lanes a green light at the same time, leading to an accident.
Even if a traffic control device is working properly, it may have been poorly programmed by city engineers or so-called traffic control experts. Experienced commuters are familiar with poorly programmed traffic control devices. Certain lights may not stay green long enough to allow anyone to move through heavy traffic. Other signals may not allow enough time for a pedestrian or vehicle to clear the intersection before other cars come speeding through, risking a serious accident.
These types of electrical or computer malfunctions can be difficult to identify, especially for the average driver. The police, your insurance, and the city may not believe you, and not pursue your claim. You may have to hire an attorney to investigate the traffic signal malfunction. Your attorney can determine if the traffic control device has a design flaw or manufacturing defect that allowed the dangerous traffic condition. They can also see if the intersection was the scene of similar accidents with similar claims, putting the city on notice that there was a problem with the traffic signals.
Even the most basic traffic control systems can have problems that increase the likelihood of an accident. When a stop sign has been knocked over, the city may take months to repair or replace it. A driver unfamiliar with the intersection may see no stop sign and continue through the intersection only to be hit by another vehicle. The same thing can happen when a sign is obscured by a tree or otherwise blocked.
Another way traffic control devices can lead to an accident is by failing to warn people of a change in traffic patterns. When the city decides to put in a new stop sign or to add a traffic light to an intersection, drivers should have adequate warning of the traffic changes. If a driver does not expect to see a stop sign around the corner, they may be approaching too fast to come to a stop safely. This can lead to a rear-end collision, hitting a pedestrian, or other serious traffic accident.
Traffic Control Defect Accident Injuries
An accident involving defective traffic controls can lead to serious injury or even death. Defective traffic control accidents often occur at intersections, where multiple vehicles may be traveling at high speed in various directions. This can lead to head-on collisions, side-impact accidents, rear-end collisions, or accidents involving pedestrians. Serious accidents can result in head or face injury, broken bones, severed limbs, neck or back injury, and internal injuries. Some accidents may leave the occupants trapped inside the vehicle, making their injuries worse.
Government Claims for Defective Traffic Control Device Accidents
The state government or other traffic authority may be responsible for the inspecting, programming, and maintaining traffic control devices. If the traffic control device was defective, obscured, or poorly programmed, then the government may be liable for the injuries caused.
Claims against the government have special requirements. The government has a different timeline within which to file your claim. This is known as the notice requirement. If you do not file your claim in time, the government can deny your claim, and you may be left having to pay your medical bills and car repair costs. Talk to your attorney as soon as you can to make sure you can file your claim in time.
Maryland Accident Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a faulty traffic control device, the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian may be able to help. Claims against the government can be more complicated than simple claims against another driver. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with automobile accident cases against city and state government agencies throughout Maryland. We will fight for your rights to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.