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Improper Signage Caused My Accident. What to Do?

It’s estimated that over 300,000 accidents have occurred in Florida this year alone. Now typically, they assign the cause of a car accident to a negligent driver. However, some car accident cases can be a little more complicated.

For example, who is to blame when improper signage causes your accident? And can you seek compensation for damages related to these types of accident

Accidents relating to road maintenance can be a sticky business legally. That’s why we made this guide to answer some of the common questions clients ask about these types of accidents. That way you can figure out the best course of action for your specific case.

What Are Some of the Types of Improper Signage?

Many types of improper road signage can lead to serious car accidents. Perhaps the most common is traffic signs that are either missing or stolen. Here in Florida, hurricane-level winds can cause stop or yield signs to fly away (especially if they’re on the older side).

Teenagers and intoxicated individuals are also prone to steal traffic signs for trophies. However, it’s important to note that these aren’t the only types of improper signage that can lead to accidents.

Sometimes an accident is caused by improper signage design, meaning there should have been a traffic sign at a location, but there wasn’t one. Other times, things like an overgrown tree can obscure a traffic sign from a driver’s vision.

During road construction, proper signs need to be in place that protect both workers and drivers from accidents. Improper signage is dangerous because it can lead to serious accidents even when someone is driving perfectly fine.

Other Types of Road Maintenance Problems That Can Cause Accidents

A missing road sign isn’t the only type of road maintenance that can cause car accidents. The road condition can also be a factor. One common cause of accidents is broken or malfunctioning traffic lights.

The same goes for road stripes that are missing on streets. Serious potholes, missing guardrails, and poor road design are all factors as well.

These types of problems are similar to improper signage in that it’s the responsibility of the Department of Transportation to find and fix them. As such, they should be treated with the same seriousness.

Who Needs to Maintain Roads?

It’s the responsibility of the Department of Transportation in a state or county to maintain all of the traffic signs in an area. However, these departments typically turn toward private contractors to carry out this maintenance.

The issue gets even more complicated with stolen signs. In these situations, the person who stole the sign is responsible for your accident. Unfortunately, finding these individuals can be difficult, if not impossible.

Regardless of whether a DOT or a private company is responsible for the road signage accident, you deserve compensation. After all, taxpayer dollars are responsible for maintaining the roads.

As such, you deserve for them to be safe. Unfortunately, as we’ll see, proving auto negligence with the Department of Transportation is a lot different than a traditional car accident. You will require a trained professional to assist you.

What Should You Do Following an Improper Signage Accident?

The first thing you need to do following a signage accident is make sure you’re okay. Get any injuries and property damage documented. You’ll also need an accident report. Do your best to point out to the officer filling out the report how improper signage may have been a factor.

Then, you need to find out who is responsible. The fastest way to do this is by contacting the FDOT Office of Maintenance. Inform them of where the sign is missing and what occurred at the location.

The Department of Transportation is responsible for missing, damaged, or neglected road signs. However, they’re also allowed a reasonable amount of time to replace said sign once it’s brought to their attention.

That being said, if the DOT is aware of a missing sign, and still doesn’t do anything, then you have grounds for a lawsuit against the government. However, as we’ll see, this can be a challenge.

Why Can Proving Liability Be a Challenge?

Sovereign immunity typically protects the Florida government from civil lawsuits. That being said, if an auto accident was caused because of the failures of a private company or a government agency, there are exceptions to this rule.

You can begin a formal filing procedure by giving the government or responsible party a Notice of Claim. However, you will require a lot of evidence for these proceedings, which can make proving liability a challenge.

First, you have to prove that improper signage was the cause of your accident. You also need to prove that the municipality was negligent in their upkeep of the improper signage.

The good news is that a car accident lawyer can help you decide whether or not suing the government is the right course of action for your specific case.

How an Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Dealing with improper road signage accidents requires a lot of evidence. Not only do you need photographs of the area and accident reconstructions, but you also need to prove that the government agency or private company knew about the sign in question and didn’t do anything.

Attempting this on your own can be next to impossible. That’s why it’s vital to contact a Tampa car accident attorney.

These professionals can help you navigate the complicated process that’s required for these accidents. They can also assist you in gathering enough evidence to hold whatever party is responsible for the accident.

Need Help With a Road Signage Accident?

We hope this guide helped you learn what to do after you’ve been involved in an accident due to improper road signage. As you can see, getting compensation for these types of accidents requires a bold legal presence that’s familiar with all the nuances of Florida auto law.

Here at RHINO Lawyers, we combine extensive auto case experience with a personalized approach to our clients. That’s why we encourage you to schedule a free case review today so we can help you get the compensation that you deserve.


In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.

Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.