Road conditions play a significant role in the severity and frequency of motor vehicle accidents. About two-thirds of car accidents in the United States are related to poor road conditions. These accidents cause millions of injuries and thousands of fatalities each year. State and federal law require all towns, cities, and counties to build and also maintain safe roads and highways. However, it is challenging to ensure that all roads are well maintained and are safe.
Though several drivers expect that they are well maintained to ensure their safety, this is never the reality. Poorly maintained roads coupled up with negligent driving can cause severe accidents. This means that as a driver, you bear the responsibility of staying vigilant and abiding by the traffic rules to minimize risks and accidents. On the other hand, the government must maintain the roads and provide safe driving conditions.
There are times when the state or federal government neglects the duty of taking care of the roads. If an accident occurs under such circumstances, the issue as to whether the road defects directly caused an accident will arise. You will also want to know who is responsible for maintaining the roads and if you can sue them for damages. Remember, poor road maintenance causes car accidents, and negligent road maintenance claims are nevertheless worth pursuing.
These claims involve a governmental agency and are very challenging to pursue. It would be best if you considered hiring an experienced car accident lawyer that has the right skills, determination, and understanding needed to take on the government. Your lawyer will have to determine the responsible governmental agency and know if they can be legally held liable for the accident. This is a complicated process.
After seeking medical treatment for your injuries and obtaining the right legal counsel, the next step is to know and prove that the accident was caused by faulty road maintenance. This means getting experts to look into the accident and find evidence that can help support your claim. Car accident attorneys have a network of experts that they can work with and ensure that they investigate the accident and serve as expert witnesses should the case go to trial.
If you can prove that the accident resulted from poor maintenance, know the government agency that is responsible and that they failed to maintain the road, you can file a lawsuit. Note that several government agencies cannot be sued.
This is known as governmental immunity, and it is only applicable to local governmental agencies or as sovereign immunity to state and federal agencies. The immunity will affect your claim because you will not be able to sue for compensation. There are some exceptions to this immunity, and this can apply if the governmental agency is very negligent in its duty to maintain safe roads.
Some of the factors that can help determine negligence include the following:
- Inadequate warning signs/ instructions
- Malfunctioning or broken traffic lights or signals
- Damaged or missing guardrails
- Missing shoulders
- Poor drainage
- Obstructions on the roads such as debris from constructions
- Potholes or sinkholes
These and more factors can help prove negligence because they point out that the roads were not maintained as they should.
If you have had an accident while using a poorly maintained road, you have a right to claim compensation. Though you may not be able to file a lawsuit, it does not hurt to try. Get in touch with a car accident lawyer and seek legal advice. They will pursue your case and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve if possible.