In a personal injury case, there is a heavy focus on liability and negligence. Liability is the legal term for responsibility, and negligence refers to what someone failed to do. For instance, imagine someone is texting and eating a hoagie while driving. They are negligent in paying attention to the road, and they are responsible for the damage caused when they hit someone.
Sometimes, a car accident involves only one person. On the surface, the driver appears to be completely liable for the incident. This, however, is not always true. Mitigating factors can affect a lone driver’s performance.
For example, a lone driver may not be responsible for their crash if their line of sight was impaired. Drivers need clear visibility when operating their vehicles. If something obstructs their view, they can collide with unseen objects. In these cases, they may not be responsible for their accident or any resulting damage. The party responsible for obstructing the view could be held liable.
Items That Hinder Line-of-Sight
Sometimes, people allow their plants to grow wildly. Unkempt trees, shrubs, and hedges can create visibility problems for drivers. These problems affect individual drivers differently. A tall person in a large truck may have no problem seeing beyond these obstacles. A short person in a Volkswagen Bug, on the other hand, can be blinded by low shrubbery. Landowners have a responsibility to keep their plants from causing dangerous road conditions. If their plants cause an accident, they could be held liable.
Signs and Statues
The city places signs as a service to everyone. These placards relay important information necessary for safe driving. When placing signage, however, the city must keep visibility angles in mind. Poorly placed signage can reduce visibility, causing accidents on the road. This is also true for statues or corporate art. They should be placed in areas that don’t hinder drivers.
Ideally, all parking should not obstruct traffic or visibility. Often, however, you will find vehicles parked in inopportune places. Large commercial trucks, for example, are sometimes found in the middle of the road. You also see this with construction vehicles. There may not be many other options for these vehicles, and the drivers have jobs to do. Sometimes, visibility is blocked by plain selfishness when a driver decides to double park.
In any event, if your view was blocked by another vehicle, and it caused you to get into a wreck, you may be able to avoid liability.
The very design of an area can create visibility issues. Roads built on steep hills often make it impossible to predict what’s on the other side. Tight turns can do the same. Even the placement of structures can make it nearly impossible to see what’s around the corner.
The same is true for traffic and parking. Poorly planned areas can create visibility problems, placing cars in front of turns and stops.
It’s easy to forget, as a pedestrian, that your presence is part of the natural flow of traffic. If walkers are ignoring proper crosswalks or gathering in inappropriate areas, it can be hard for drivers to see where they’re going.
Proving a Line-of-Sight Claim
If your wreck was the result of an obstructed view, it can be hard to prove this claim to an insurance company or a courtroom. People want the easiest solution, especially those who handle these issues daily.
If you need to prove that you aren’t responsible for your wreck, seek the services of a good attorney. They have investigative skills that can overlook the details of your crash, helping bolster your claim. They could, for instance, look into the history of the crash site. If there is a history of wrecks in that same spot, that is strong evidence that the area is inherently dangerous.
Lawyers may even be able to recreate the wreck. They can drive along the same route, taking pictures of obstructive items and demonstrating the dangers involved.
Sometimes, there is no one directly responsible for a line-of-sight car accident. You could, for instance, happen to drive by a throng of people filing out of a concert. In that situation, it would be difficult to hold any one party responsible for your blocked view. Instead, your attorney must prove that you were there at just the right time to have your vision blocked, causing your accident.
However, there are times when fault is undeniable, and you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. For example, we mentioned overgrown shrubbery and commercial trucks in the middle of the road. In cases like these, you could sue the owner of those plants, or you could make a claim against the truck driver or his employer.
If your car wreck was the result of an impaired view, contact our office today for help. You can reach us online, or you can call (602) 483-6114.