Accidents Caused by Defective Roadways
State agencies and local municipalities are responsible for maintaining roadways in their jurisdiction. And both state and federal transportation guidelines encourage roadway design and conditions that are sensitive to the environment and make it safe for motorists who travel on our roadways.
But while these agencies are legally responsible for defective and dangerous roadway conditions, holding them accountable is another matter entirely. Governmental entities are immune for defects in roadway design if a designated governmental body has approved said design. This immunity can be overcome, however, if it can be shown that a motorist had reason, based on present roadway conditions, to expect a safe roadway that turned out to be a dangerous trap.
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident caused by a defective roadway, you should consider consulting with an experienced auto accident attorney who can cut through the red tape and navigate the legal morass a defending governmental entity can present as an obstacle which prevents you from receiving the compensation you may be entitled to. Your attorney should also be intimately familiar with the applicable local state and municipal laws.
Examples of defective roadways and the dangerous conditions they may create include:
- Insufficient signage/notification of impending conditions such as merging traffic, construction zones, or hazardous weather
- Soft shoulders with an edge rut, narrow fall-off and other potential dangers
- Large potholes
- Unmodified intersections with persistent past indications that they are dangerous
- Inadequately marked roadway divisions and edge lines
- Excessive oil, gravel and tar left over from road maintenance
- Traffic islands that are poorly lit or not delineated for night visibility
- Uncovered drainage pits
Of course, it is incumbent on motorists to drive safely and be on the lookout for possibly dangerous road conditions. But when an unexpected dangerous condition that is created by a negligent roadway defect causes an accident, those responsible for the defect should be held accountable.
In order to do so, evidence should immediately be collected and secured, and engineers and accident reconstruction experts may need to provide testimony in court. Make sure that your accident attorney has the resources to maximize your chances of recovering compensation in a lawsuit.
But be aware that these types of cases can be complex and require time to develop. There are also statutes of limitations, or time limits by which roadway defect lawsuits must be filed. By consulting with an experienced auto accident lawyer as soon as possible, you will be furnishing your legal representative with a resource only you can provide to make him or her effective on your behalf, namely time. Please email or call us today and we’ll help you find an experienced accident attorney near you.