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4-Way Stop Sign Car Accidents

Legally reviewed by: Miriam Domer March 15, 2024
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Four-way stop sign car accidents often occur because drivers are unaware of or disregard traffic laws for this type of intersection.

If you’re in a four-way stop car crash, you may have to figure out who was at fault. A four-way stop sign car accident attorney and their investigator can help.

With traffic signals like a red light, it can be easier to determine if you have the right of way because the color of the light indicates when it’s your turn.

With stop signs, you must rely heavily on the awareness of other motorists and your knowledge of right-of-way rules.

Seeking legal advice from a personal injury law firm may save you a lot of trouble trying to deal with your insurance company and the legal process.

4-Way stop sign car accident

About 4-Way Stop Sign Car Accidents

Determining fault in car accident cases at four-way stop intersections can be particularly challenging. Traffic lights may have cameras that can help with reconstructing the accident scene — four-way stop intersections rarely do.

You need to gather evidence if you’re in a four-way stop auto accident. These steps may be helpful in intersection accidents:

  • Talk with accident victims about what occurred, if possible.
  • Take pictures of any property damage to vehicles and the rest of the accident scene.
  • Go to the emergency room for treatment and follow up with your doctor.
  • Get copies of the police report and your medical treatment.
  • Find legal representation.

4-Way Accident Statistics

Intersection accidents are extremely common, and these are a few factors to consider:

  • Negligent driver behaviors like failing to come to a complete stop increase the likelihood of a four-way stop accident by hundreds of times.
  • Crashes at four-way stop intersections involving female drivers are mostly due to inattention, while those involving male drivers are mostly due to illegal maneuvers.
  • Approximately 30% of traffic accidents occur at intersections with at least one stop sign.
  • Studies show that replacing traffic signals and stop signs with roundabouts significantly reduces right-angle, left-turn, and head-on collisions.

Legal Options For Victims of 4-Way Accidents

The legal options available for victims of four-way accidents will depend on who was at fault and what can be proven. The law offices of a personal injury attorney will be able to help you decide if you have a case.

Car Accident Claims

If you live in a no-fault state, you can file a claim for damages through your insurance company. Depending on the circumstances, you may file through the other driver’s insurance company or your own in an at-fault state.

In states like Texas, if you’re found to be over 50% at fault for the accident, you may not be eligible for compensation.

Wrongful Death Claims

When an accident includes a fatality, the deceased person’s next of kin may file a wrongful death claim against one or more of the drivers. This is usually done with the help of a personal injury lawyer.

What Causes 4-Way Stop Sign Accidents?

Four-way stop sign accidents have many causes. While failure to yield right of way is at the top of the list, it’s far from the only reason.

Failure to Yield

Make sure that you know who arrived at the stop sign first, who has the right of way based on the order of arrival, and who’s turning in which direction. Otherwise, you might find yourself blocking the intersection with a car accident.

Speed

Some drivers will barely slow down at stop signs, so they don’t allow enough time to assess the situation properly. Going too fast through a four-way stop is an easy way to cause a wreck.

Driver Distraction

Getting distracted when rolling up to or sitting at a stop sign is common, especially if a line of cars is ahead of you. However, failing to pay attention when it’s your turn can have serious consequences.

Lack of Driver Experience

Inexperienced drivers can be timid at four-way stops, meaning they might be too hesitant on their turn and end up getting run over by faster vehicles. They’re also more likely to fail to yield properly.

Failure to Use Turn Signals

A four-way stop that lacks turning lanes can make it even more important for you to use turn signals to indicate which direction you’re going.

Otherwise, the driver across from you might go at the same time, thinking that you’re also going straight and causing mayhem if you’re attempting a left turn.

Driving Under the Influence

Drugs, alcohol, and even prescription meds can affect your judgment and response times. Poor judgment and slow response times may land you in a dangerous situation.

Common Injuries in 4-Way Stop Sign Accidents

T-bone collisions are standard in four-way stop sign accidents, and that can mean severe crush injuries for those on the side that’s hit. Rear-end collisions also occur frequently.

Common injuries in four-way stop sign accidents include:

  • Whiplash
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Minor bruising, cuts, and abrasions
  • Burns

National 4-Way Stop Traffic Rules

Some traffic laws are decided by individual states, but there are some standards that have been established at the national level regarding four-way stops.

Know that pedestrians who have entered a crosswalk at a four-way stop always have the right of way.

Here is what you need to know about traffic rules that may affect your 4-way stop sign car accident case.

First to Arrive Has Right of Way

The first motorist to reach the stop sign and come to a complete stop has the right of way, which means that all other drivers should yield.

Driver on the Right Has the Right of Way

If you arrive at the stop sign at the same time as another driver, whoever is on the right-hand side gets to go first.

When four vehicles stop at approximately the same time, drivers will often signal to one another to yield the right of way.

Drivers Traveling Straight Proceed Through the Intersection

Drivers on the opposite side of the intersection can proceed regardless of their arrival times if they’re both going straight.

Drivers Must Always Signal Turns

A driver turning right or left must use turn signals to make other drivers aware of their intentions.

Drivers Turning Left Proceed at the Same Time

Left-hand turns should yield to all oncoming traffic but can make a left turn at the same time as a driver immediately opposite who is also turning left.

Right-hand turns can do the same but must yield to straightaway traffic.

Penalties for Failing to Yield or Stop in 4-Way Stop Sign Accidents

If you’re caught failing to yield or don’t come to a complete stop at a four-way stop sign, you can receive a ticket with fines. If you cause an accident, you may be subject to greater penalties, including fines and compensation.

Damages in 4-Way Accident Claims

You can claim damages in a four-way accident that includes:

  • Vehicle damage that results in expenses linked to repairs
  • Medical expenses resulting from medical bills caused by the accident
  • Lost wages from missing work due to recovering from the accident
  • Pain and suffering that last long-term after the accident

Factors in 4-Way Stop Sign Accident Cases

A few things factor into four-way stop sign accidents that may work in your favor.

Fault and Negligence

Drivers have responsibilities at four-way stops to come to a complete stop, pay attention to the order of arrival for all vehicles, properly signal when turning, and yield appropriately on the right of way. Failure to do so may find you at fault for the accident due to negligence to follow the duty of care.

Weather or Road Conditions

Any time inclement weather or roads are in bad shape for whatever reason, you should be very cautious in how you proceed to and through four-way stop intersections. Though you may not be at fault for any accidents, receiving compensation without an attorney may be problematic.

Lack of Signage or Working Lights

If the area doesn’t have appropriate signage or the other driver lacks working brake lights or turn signals, it can lead to an accident for which the municipality or the other driver is at fault.

How Can A 4-Way Stop Car Accident Lawyer Help?

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your insurance company is on your side in a four-way stop car accident. You must file an insurance claim to receive compensation from them, and they will have an investigator look into the accident, and their attorneys will represent them.

Having your own personal injury lawyer will help protect your interests in a personal injury claim. If you have a case, your lawyer can help you file your case, negotiate a settlement, and represent you in court if needed.

Get Help With Filing a 4-Way Stop Accident Claim

LegalFinders is here to help. We provide free consultation of your case and connect you with a top personal injury attorney who will offer a free case evaluation.

Whether you’re beginning the legal process after an accident, have been denied by your insurance company, or have been paid less than you should, LegalFinders can put you in touch with someone who can help.

Article Sources

American National Standard. “Manual on Classification of Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes.” Retrieved from: https://www.nhtsa.gov/document/ansi-d16-2017-manual-classification-motor-vehicle-traffic-crashes.

Driving Test. “The Ultimate List of Driving Statistics for 2023.” Retrieved from: https://driving-tests.org/driving-statistics/.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Roundabouts.” Retrieved from: https://www.iihs.org/topics/roundabouts#safety-benefits.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Crash Factors in Intersection-Related Crashes: An On-Scene Perspective.” Retrieved from: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811366.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Pedestrian Safety.” Retrieved from: https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety.

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