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What If My Car Accident Was Due to a Hidden Sign?
Missing or hidden road signs are likely to be one of the major causes of car accidents every year. The road signs may be missing because they are not installed in the first place. And hidden because they are being improperly positioned or placed behind a tree making them impossible to notice. The rest of this information will give you an overview of accidents due to the above-mentioned circumstances and describes the process of filing a claim so that you can understand what to expect, what to do, and when.
Related: What do I do if I get in a car accident in NJ?
The Cause of the Accident
Before you can even begin the process of filing a claim, you need to zero in on the cause that led to the accident. If the accident is caused as a result of your vehicle losing control on a sharp curve because there was no cautionary road sign or the sign was being blocked by a tree, you might be able to successfully win your claim. If, on the other hand, the cause is due to speeding or not paying attention to road signs or conditions, the chances of winning your case are slim to none. Consult Our NJ Car Accident Lawyer for help.
Once you have figured out the cause of the accident and gotten a sense of the scenario, it’s time to determine the party responsible for ensuing safety and security protocols around the accident area. Installing and maintaining road signs are usually the duty of your local transportation department. If the road signs were missing or hidden from view, your municipality can be held responsible for covering the financial cost of damages and injuries as a result of the accident.
If the road signs are missing due to theft or vandalism, the individual responsible for the missing sign can be held liable for the damages. However, if the signs have gone missing for a considerable amount of time, you can hold the municipality or department of transportation liable citing their failure to replace the sign.
Filing a Lawsuit
The procedure to follow for filing a claim for a car accident that is the direct result of a missing or hidden road sign is simple and straightforward. However, state and local governments are typically immune to civil lawsuits. But there are exceptions to this immunity, and these exceptions allow you to file a claim for injury or property damage against the government or its employees.
To begin the process, you need to file a Notice of Claim formally notifying the government agency of its negligence and liability. This notice contains the time, date, and place of the accident among other things. If this claim is denied by the government, you can then file a lawsuit in court.
The filing of the Notice of Claim should be done within a given timeframe, usually around 3 to 6 months. Failing to file the notice in a timely manner will result in your ineligibility for compensation. If the claim is valid, the professional assistance of a personal injury attorney can go a long way in winning your case.
Evidence to Gather
Much of the process during a car accident due to hidden or missing signs involve gathering evidence. If the accident occurred, and there are no serious injuries to the drivers or passengers, the first thing to do is to call law enforcement for a police report. Collect evidence in the form of photos, videos of the hidden or missing signs and that of the vehicles involved as well as witness statements. Make sure the police have recorded everything on the report. Contact your car insurance company as well and report the accident in detail.