Poor road conditions such as potholes, faulty design, missing guardrails, erosion, and other defects can cause a serious car accident. Proving fault in a car accident due to a road defect can be complicated. The victim must prove that the road condition actually caused his/her injuries or caused damage to the car. He/she must show that the government agency or company responsible for maintaining the road was negligent in its duty to provide a safe roadway. He/she must also show that the agency failed in its duty to warn drivers of a potential hazard.
Who can be held liable?
Generally, cities, counties, and states are responsible for maintaining the roads. Sometimes, the responsibilities for a certain roadway may also be shared by more than one agency. It is therefore important to find out which agency was responsible not only for suing the appropriate party, but also for determining if the particular agency can be sued at all.
The victim must prove that the agency was negligent in its duty to maintain a safe road. He/she must show that the agency could have or should have repaired the road but chose not to do so, or that the agency built the road in a dangerously defective manner.
It is important for a victim to prove that the poor road condition actually caused the accident. This can be difficult to prove when it comes to vehicle damage. This is because the damage might not get noticed immediately after the accident and it may be difficult to retrace a car’s route to show what specifically caused the damage. Under such a circumstance, the victim may not be able to file a police report or take photos of the accident. His/her testimony will be the only proof of how the damage was caused. In such a scenario, the agency can argue that the accident was caused due to poor driving or bad weather.
Suing the agency
Most state and the federal governments have immunity from lawsuits, which means they cannot be sued. However, there are exceptions. If the agency was negligent in maintaining a roadway, the victim can sue it.
Circumstances under which a victim can sue an agency may vary from state to state. In the case of municipalities, it is the state government which sets the rules for when it can be sued.
Another rule that prevents a government agency from being sued is the “statute of limitations.” This means the victim must sue the government agency within a given time period. If he/she fails to do so within the deadline, a court will not allow the victim to sue later.
In most states, the statute of limitations for injury claims based on poor road conditions is typically from six months to two years. If the victim decides to sue, he/she must notify the responsible agency the reason why he/she is going to sue.
Need a Car Accident Lawyer? Contact the Reinken Law Firm
If you have been injured in a car accident due to a poor road condition, contact car accident attorneys at The Reinken Law Firm. We are confident about taking your case to the court and recovering compensation. Call us at 203-541-0090 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We do not charge a fee unless we win your case.