Stop Sign Blocked By Tree Caused Crash; Who is Responsible?


A stop sign blocked by tree branches creates a road hazard in Brooklyn Bronx & Queens NY traffic.

An automobile driver was found to be at fault for running a stop sign blocked by tree branches, even though the driver did not see the stop sign in time to stop. The State of New York also shared liability due to its failure to clear the trees and safely maintain the roadway.

The driver of the vehicle (“Vehicle No. 1”) was attributed 55% of the liability in the accident, and the State of New York was assigned 45% of the liability.

The plaintiff in this lawsuit was the driver of a second automobile (“Vehicle No. 2”).   After Vehicle No. 1 ran the stop sign, it was struck by Vehicle No. 2 in the intersection.

The case was litigated under the caption Rugar v. The State of N.Y., 118851, NYLJ 1202734638668, at *1 (Ct. of Clms, Decided July 1, 2015).

The driver of Vehicle No. 1 argued there was no time to stop once he arrived at the street corner and finally glimpsed the stop sign through the foliage.

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Stop Sign Blocked by Tree Caused Crash

Stop Sign Blocked by Tree Requires Adjusted Driving Style

The State of New York successfully argued that the negligent driver should have noticed the abundance of trees and plants in the subject neighborhood. After all, the driver had already driven through many intersections in the neighborhood that day, and had an abundant opportunity to observe the roadway and stop sign conditions. Moreover, a clearly visible road sign posted prior to the intersection alerted Vehicle No. 1 of a “Stop Sign Ahead”.

Under such circumstances, the law requires a driver to adjust his driving style in the interests of safety. If the driver had slowed down while approaching the intersection, he would have had an adequate opportunity to see the stop sign blocked by trees. Instead, by blowing the stop sign the driver caused serious bodily injury to the occupant of the second automobile.

Sign visibility presents a hazard in densely populated areas in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and throughout NYC.

Have you been in an accident involving a stop sign blocked by tree branches or other obstructed vision of street signs? Contact our road sign accident lawyers for a free consultation about New York State maintenance of road sign safety and visibility.


About NYC Injury Attorneys

Michael Hurwitz, Esq. is the managing member of The Hurwitz Law Firm, PC, and is a personal injury attorney representing accident victims in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and throughout the New York City region.

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