Q&A Missing Junction sign caused my accident. Can I sue the Council?

Q:        During bad weather when visibility was poor, I was driving home in the dark when I came to what turned out to be a junction. I was unfamiliar with the road and could not see it was a junction because the road marking had worn out (a very long time ago I would say). As a result of not being able to see any road markings to indicate the bend, my car went off the road and into a ditch.  Can I claim against the council?

A:        The state of road markings over the last 15 years or so has become deplorable. Over the many years before, road markings had improved and it seemed that fewer road signs were used/needed because of the excellent standard of road markings. Nowadays we don’t seem to have either road signs or good road markings.

If you had gone over a junction and hit a car that you should have seen, then you would not have any claim against the council.  Nevertheless, you would have the right to complain to the council to make sure this sort of thing didn’t happen again.

In your case, however, you went off the road because the road markings just weren’t there to help you in the dark. Therefore, this is a claim that is definitely worth investigating further.  Consideration would need to be given as to the speed you were going at and whether you knew the road, but as you did not know the road and if you were travelling at a safe speed, then it seems that there would be a case against the council.

You need to contact a local solicitor experienced in road traffic accidents.  If you suffered significant personal injuries in this accident, then it is more likely to be worthwhile pursuing such a claim. Maybe if councils faced more claims of this nature, they would maintain signage and road markings better!

This question has been answered by Robert Williams, a Partner with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner and Complaints Handler

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham