During an investigation of highways in New Jersey, NBC4 New York’s I-Team found that dozens of traffic signs were missing from and/or misplaced on intersections and ramps on some of the state’s busiest highways. Some of the locations in question include Routes 9 & 35, 1 & 9, 46, 4 and 80.
“There can’t be ambiguous thoughts in someone’s mind. Can I go here or can I not?” said Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino, who reviewed some of the I-Team's findings. “We, the state, county, towns have to do everything possible to make sure that there is proper signage.”
During their investigation, the I-Team found 19 intersections and ramps along Route 46 between Bergen and Morris County lacked the legally required signage, and another 12 were missing in Bergen Country along Route 4. Bergen County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Vincent DiRienzo commented that while he doubted someone driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs would be stopped by a sign,
“[It could still be life-saving] for the average person, an elderly person or someone who’s new to the area or from another country and they’re just confused.”
When an accident is caused by a missing sign, you may be able to file a claim against the public entity responsible for that sign. Because claims against public entities are governed by the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, it’s important to note that you only have 90 days to file your Notice of Claim or else it will be most likely barred. It’s impossible to stress how important it is to conduct an early and timely investigation to ensure that the statutory requirements are met; this is a function typically served by a lawyer.
It’s also important to note that there is a difference between a missing sign and one that “should be there”. Under N.J.S.A. 59:4-5, a public entity cannot be held liable for the failure to have provided ordinary traffic signals, signs and markings in the first place. Thus, a duty exists to maintain approved and planned signs, but not to put one there in the first place.
Our attorneys at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. have represented injured victims in court and at the negotiation table for nearly 80 years, and through our efforts have secured more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. If you were seriously injured in an accident, we may be able to help you file a lawsuit. Call us at (732) 440-3089 to discuss the details of your situation, or start out with a free case evaluation today by filling out our online form.