This past April, 64-year-old Kathy Velez miraculously survived a freak accident when a 30-foot-tall steel sign fell on her.
On a windy Thursday, Velez was leaving a hair appointment when the accident occurred. She was waiting to turn into traffic when the sign snapped from the pressure of the wind and fell onto her car. After several 9-1-1 calls, the help of various witnesses, multiple surgeries, and weeks in the hospital, Velez was finally able to return home in one piece.
However, the fact that she survived does not overrule that fact that the incident should not have happened. It’s only a matter of time before something like this happens again if protocols in the sign industry don’t change.
Who Is Responsible?
Though sign makers and businesses must follow precautions in the making of the signs, it is ultimately the liability of the landowner in most cases. If you allow a business sign to be placed on your property, then it is your job to inspect the sign and its foundation in order to be sure that it is not a danger to anyone.
What Are the Problems?
There are two main problems with the current system of signage:
Cheap: At times, businesses will choose the cheap path over the safe path, and there is really no true way to monitor this issue. As long as a company complies with zoning requirements, they can be held harmless for the sign, even without insurance or licensing.
When a sign is put up, materials and the structure are rarely checked for safety measures. If someone takes the cheap way out, they may cut out the most expensive components of the sign, which are also the most stabilizing aspects of it.
Old Signs: Another primary issue in the realm of signs is the expenses that deter businesses from fixing old signs. Many times, in order to replace an aged sign, a business is required to remove the whole sign, pole and all, and replace every part of it. This not only costs money but also requires the company to meet the new zoning standards which may result in the loss of prime real estate for the advertisement.
Instead, businesses tend to simply put new signs over old signs, and as a result, the signs get older and heavier.
Though this was clearly a freak accident, sign experts believe it is only a matter of time before an incident like this occurs again until new regulations are set. Although this matter is mostly out of the hands of drivers, always be cautious of your surroundings when driving. It is also recommended that you try to park away from any business signs.
What About Your Case?
A giant business sign does not have to fall on your car in order for you to experience a personal injury because of a company’s refusal to pay a little extra money in order to ensure safety. If a company takes a cheap way around a matter and you suffer a personal injury as a result, you could be entitled to compensation. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation or contact us online.