Stop Sign Accidents – Who's at Fault?

Stop Sign Accidents – Who's at Fault?

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Stop Sign Accidents – Who's at Fault?

The act of running a stop sign alone is a violation of traffic law and counts as negligence. Drivers who run a stop sign or commit other stop sign violations resulting in an accident are generally legally responsible. However, determining who’s at fault in stop sign accidents can be tricky, especially in accidents involving several cars at an intersection.

If someone else caused your stop sign accident, you could be entitled to damages such as medical expenses, car repair or replacement, pain and suffering, and others. Having a dedicated car accident attorney in your corner can be crucial for proving the other party’s fault and getting what you deserve. 

Morgan & Morgan can protect your rights, help you navigate the legal process, and pursue maximum possible compensation. Contact us today for a free and confidential case review to determine if you qualify for compensation. 

What Are the Stop Sign Rules?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following stop sign rules apply:

The First to Stop Is the First to Go

The most basic of all stop sign rules is that the first vehicle arriving and stopping at a four-way section is the first to proceed.  

Farthest Right Goes First 

If several vehicles arrive simultaneously at an intersection with stop signs, the car on the furthest right has the right of way.

Straight Traffic Goes First

If neither of the other two rules applies, straight traffic goes first. For example, if two opposing drivers arrive at the same time, with one going left and the other going straight, the driver going straight ahead has the right of way. 

When in Doubt - Bail Out

If it is your right to proceed at the stop sign, but you believe an accident could occur if you move forward or you feel uncomfortable for another reason, consider letting other traffic go first. Defensive driving can prevent accidents and injuries. 

Causes of Stop Sign Accidents

The NHTSA determined that 94 percent of all car crashes occur due to human error. Causes for accidents at intersections with stop signs can include: 

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

According to the NHTSA, almost 12,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2020, a marked increase from previous years. Alcohol and drug use can have several impacts on a vehicle driver, including:

  • Longer reaction time
  • Reduced ability to judge distance and speed of other cars
  • Difficulties with decision-making
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased risk-taking behaviors

An impaired driver may not be capable of deciding who has the right of way at a stop sign or miss the sign altogether and plow through an intersection without stopping.


Speeding causes accidents and can lead to more severe injuries and more extensive car damage than collisions at lower speeds. A speeding driver may be unable to stop quickly and run a stop sign. Driving at high speed and then attempting to stop can cause the car to end up in the middle of the intersection, at risk of getting hit by other vehicles. 

Distracted Driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people lose their lives every day in the US due to distracted driving. Distracted driving can include texting, eating, reaching for objects, or listening to loud music. Distracted drivers may ignore stop signs and fail to yield to other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycle riders. 

Reckless and Aggressive Driving

Reckless and aggressive driving can include the following behaviors:

  • Erratic lane changes 
  • Failure to obey stop signs and other traffic signs and signals
  • Following too closely
  • Illegally passing
  • Failing to yield
  • Racing other cars
  • Failure to signal
  • Making improper turns
  • Road rage 

Dangerous drivers may willfully run a stop sign or fail to yield while speeding or racing other drivers. Aggressive driving can lead to severe injuries and deaths.

Other Factors Leading to Stop Sign Accidents

Human error or unsafe driving behaviors are not always responsible for stop sign accidents. Other causes of crashes can include:

Car Defects

While accidents from car defects are not as frequent as those resulting from human error, they do happen. The NHTSA’s crash causation survey revealed that car defects such as faulty brakes, damaged tires, and steering problems cause around two percent of vehicle collisions. A driver dealing with faulty brakes or a blown tire may be unable to come to a complete halt at a stop sign, potentially causing an accident. In cases where a car defect causes an accident, a car manufacturer may be responsible for victims’ damages.

Obstructed Stop Signs

Stop sign accidents can happen if drivers cannot see the signs. In some neighborhoods, stop signs may be partially or wholly obstructed by bushes, trees, construction work, or other signs. Drivers unfamiliar with the area may not be aware of a stop sign until it is too late to stop. 

Stop signs must not be obstructed and should be visible at some distance. If your accident happened due to a blocked or partially obstructed stop sign, you could hold a property owner or local government entity accountable and pursue compensation.

Injuries in Stop Sign Accidents

Running a stoplight can result in T-Bone crashes, rear-end collisions, and other accidents. Low-speed stop sign crashes may cause only minor car damage and no injuries. However, drivers racing through an intersection at high speed could potentially cause devastating accidents with severe injuries and fatalities. Injuries in stop sign accidents can include:  


Whiplash is a common rear-end accident neck injury. Minor whiplash, although uncomfortable, can heal by itself within a few weeks. However, severe whiplash can have long-term health consequences and cause loss of function and chronic pain.  

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

TBIs can be common in stop sign accidents. A significant TBI can have devastating consequences and could impact a car victim’s cognitive abilities. Individuals with a severe TBI may need long-term care and costly rehabilitation therapies.

Broken Bones 

Commonly broken bones in car accidents can include the clavicle, skull, arm, face, and wrist bones. While a minor fracture could heal without too much medical attention, crush injuries or shattered bones may require multiple surgeries. Depending on the severity of fractures, victims may experience reduced mobility or permanent loss of function. 

Internal Organ Injuries 

A severe car crash and the resulting trauma to the body can cause internal bleeding and organ damage. Significant internal injuries are generally life-threatening and require emergency treatment.  

Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis 

Spinal cord injuries are generally serious and often irreversible. A completely severed spinal cord leads to permanent paralysis below the injury and can cause various additional health complications. Car accident victims with a severe spinal cord injury may never work again and could require round-the-clock care. 

Emotional Trauma

Car accidents with injuries or fatalities can cause significant emotional trauma and distress. The emotional impacts of a stop sign accident can include depression, anxiety, and insomnia, making it challenging for victims to resume a normal life. 

You Could Qualify for a Stop Sign Accident Settlement

In stop sign accidents, who’s at fault is an important question, as you could be entitled to compensation from the responsible party. In most states, the at-fault party or their car insurance company should reimburse you for costs, such as car damage, healthcare bills, wage loss, and other expenses. 

If you suffered significant injuries, you could also qualify for so-called non-economic damages, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of a limb
  • Disability
  • Loss of life enjoyment

However, getting what you deserve from the at-fault party or insurer can be tough. Most insurance companies are more interested in their bottom line than in providing fair settlements for stop sign accident victims. 

However, an experienced car accident lawyer can level the playing field and could help you get your injury claim paid. Seeking prompt legal assistance after you or a loved one suffered harm in a stop sign accident can be vital. Morgan & Morgan’s car accident lawyers can be here for you and fight for what you deserve. 

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • What Is Considered “Running” a Stop Sign?

    Drivers approaching a stop sign must come to a complete stop at the marked line. If no stop line is present, drivers should stop at the pedestrian crosswalk. When a vehicle fails to come to a complete stop, the driver is generally guilty of running the stop sign. A driver who does not wait their turn at the intersection, failing to yield to others, is also running the stop sign. 

  • What Are My Next Steps After a Stop Sign Accident? 

    Your main priority after any car accident should be your health and well-being. If you or others at the accident scene have injuries, call 911 and request medical help and law enforcement immediately. 

    However, even if you feel fine or notice only minor symptoms, see a doctor promptly after a stop sign accident. Some standard car accident injuries, such as whiplash and traumatic brain injury, can have a delayed onset and may not show symptoms for days or weeks. After getting medical help, your next best steps are: 

    • Gathering evidence such as photographs of the accident scene and witnesses’ contact information 
    • Collecting the contact details and insurance information of all involved drivers
    • Noting down details about the accident 
    • Contacting your car insurer
    • Calling a car accident lawyer for legal advice
  • Should I Provide the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer With a Recorded Statement?

    Be very careful if the at-fault insurance adjuster approaches you and asks for a recorded statement or demands that you sign a settlement document. Providing the insurer with a recorded statement could sink your legal case. Consider calling an attorney immediately to protect your rights, as anything you say could potentially be used against you by the insurer.

    Letting a seasoned attorney handle all communication and negotiation with the insurance company is generally a better idea. Morgan & Morgan’s car accident attorneys can protect you from unethical and predatory insurers who may be more interested in making a profit than making you whole again.  

  • How Morgan & Morgan Can Help Accident Victims 

    If you want to determine who’s at fault for your stop sign accident, let us assist you. Morgan & Morgan has helped thousands of victims and their families receive what they needed to get their lives back on track after a vehicle collision. We can offer:

    Dedication and Tenacity

    Our car accident attorneys are experienced litigators who will fight tirelessly for what you deserve, even if it means going to trial. We have the legal knowledge, experience, and stamina to handle even complex and demanding claims that other law firms avoid. Most of all, we never settle for less because we know that injured victims need a fair settlement to rebuild their lives. 

    Resources Few Other Personal Injury Firms Can Match

    When we handle your case, you can rest assured that it will receive our full attention. We can draw on an army of lawyers, legal team members, and professional accident investigators to help us analyze your accident and build a comprehensive case against the at-fault party. 

    Personal Attention 

    We want you to get the healthcare and legal assistance you need to get back on your feet. Our attorneys and team members don’t drop the ball and will keep you informed at all stages of your car accident claim. We always have an open ear for your concerns and questions. 

    The Fee Is Free 

    We understand that car accident victims have a lot on their plate and can be inundated with medical bills and other expenses. However, financial considerations should never prevent you from receiving first-class legal representation. Therefore, when we take your case, you don’t pay a cent unless we win and recover for you. 

    Get help today and contact Morgan & Morgan to schedule a free consultation. 

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