Man Sues City for Failing to Prevent Tree from Blocking Stop Sign

In a recent case, a plaintiff brought a claim against a city after he was hit by another driver. The man was hit after a woman failed to stop at a stop sign and crashed into his car. The man filed a lawsuit against the woman for negligence, alleging she was negligent in failing to stop. He also alleged the city was negligent for failing to make sure the stop sign was visible.

Stop SignThe woman claimed she did not see the stop sign because it was blocked by a tree, and a police officer who was at the scene also found the stop sign was significantly obstructed. After the man brought the claim, the court granted summary judgment and dismissed the city from the case, finding the city had immunity. The man appealed the decision.

That state’s supreme court reversed the decision and found the city did not have immunity. The man argued the city was liable under a state statute as a local government entity that negligently failed to keep public roads in repair or negligently failed to remove obstructions from public roads. The statute defined a “public road” as a public road, highway, street, avenue, alley, or bridge, but it generally did not include a shoulder, right-of-way, or traffic control device, unless the traffic control device was mandated by the “Ohio manual of uniform traffic control devices.”

As a result, the court had to determine whether the stop sign at issue was mandated by the state’s manual of uniform traffic control devices. If it was not mandated by the manual, the city had immunity from suit. If it was mandated by the manual, the city did not have immunity.

The court determined the stop sign at issue was mandated by the statute. The court looked closely at the manual, which did not state specifically that stop signs are ever “mandatory”— but the court looked beyond the manual to answer the question. It determined that stop signs are mandatory at intersections involving “through highways,” according to the manual when considered in conjunction with state statutes. The manual had to be considered in conjunction with state law, and thus, the stop sign was covered by the manual. As a result, the city did not have immunity under state law, and the man’s claim against the city was permitted.

Governmental Immunity

There are a number of situations in which individuals or entities are protected from lawsuits by immunity. A number of different relationships confer immunity from certain lawsuits, one of which is the relationship between a citizen and their government. Often, claims can be brought against local governments, but laws have created immunity for governments in certain circumstances. However, even in those circumstances, there are a number of exceptions. To avoid the risk of an unnecessary delay or dismissal, a dedicated injury attorney should be contacted prior to filing any personal injury case involving a government entity.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

The car accident attorneys at Moll Law Group are skilled in guiding victims through claims. We can represent accident victims throughout the Chicago area and the rest of Illinois. Moll Law Group can also bring product liability cases in other states nationwide. In each case, we invest the time and effort necessary to investigate the situation thoroughly, often consulting with prominent product safety and medical experts. Contact us through our online form or call us at 312-462-1700. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for our time unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

See More Posts:

Court Applies Government Immunity in Pedestrian Accident Case, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 13, 2017.

Court Discusses “Foreseeability” Requirement in Chain-Reaction Truck Accident Case, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 2, 2016.

Court Reinstates Case After Attorney Admits Fault in Failing to Pay Court Fees, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 14, 2016.