Liability for a Car Accident Caused by Poor Road Conditions
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Feb 18, 2019 in Car Accidents
While a large portion of automobile accidents are caused by negligent drivers, poor road conditions are another common factor in car wrecks. In an accident caused by poor road conditions, state, local and federal government agencies may be held legally responsible and you may be able to pursue compensation from these entities.
Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak's South Bend car accident attorneys handle claims concerning accidents caused by poor road conditions. Request a free, no obligation consultation after your accident and learn what legal options may be available for recovering compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Common Types of Roadway Hazards
There are a few common roadway hazards Indiana drivers face. These hazards create dangerous driving conditions and increase the risk of an accident.
Poor Maintenance of Roads
When the agency responsible for a particular road fails to properly maintain it, many hazards may arise that increase the likelihood of accidents, including:
- Faded lane markings
- Pavement erosion
- Uneven pavement
- Missing traffic signs
- Damaged guardrails
Hitting a pothole has the potential to cause serious damage to a vehicle, possibly causing the driver to lose control and crash into another car or fixed object and suffer injuries.
Potholes are often formed when the roadway gives out after groundwater freezes and thaws. This causes the pavement of a roadway to expand and contract, forming a pothole. As Potholes can continue to expand in size if more and more vehicles drive over it and it is not fixed.
Poor Roadway Design
Even when roadways are constructed safely, if their design is poor there is an increased danger to motorists. Roadway design flaws like the following, raise the risk of auto accidents:
- Overly sharp curves
- Not enough lighting
- Short on-ramps and merge lanes
- Not enough warning signs for dangerous conditions
Who Can Be Held Liable for Poor Road Conditions?
In Indiana, state, local and federal governments are responsible for maintaining roadways in a safe condition. These government agencies may be held liable for automobile accidents and injuries where poor road conditions were the cause of the collision.
Government agencies may only be held liable for these accidents if you can prove the entity knew or should have known about the issue that caused the accident. Government agencies are legally granted reasonable time to discover dangerous conditions and make repairs. If a roadway hazard exists for long enough that the responsible agency should have discovered it but did not, the agency may still be held liable for the accident.
For a government agency to be held liable for your accident, you must be able to prove the agency neglected to properly care for the roadway. You must demonstrate the agency either failed to act on its obligation to correct known hazards or properly notify motorists of the hazards.
Determining which government agency is liable for an accident caused by poor road conditions may be difficult. The location of the road as well as type of hazard matter. Multiple government agencies may be involved in the care of a particular roadway, such as if one agency makes repairs for potholes and other damage while another agency is responsible for maintenance tasks such as snow removal. This is one of the reasons it can be a huge advantage to have a trusted personal injury attorney working with you.
Filing a Claim
To file a claim against the state of Indiana for an automobile accident caused by poor road conditions, you must file a tort claim with the state. This allows you to pursue compensation for personal injuries as well as property damage.
You must file your tort claim within 270 days after the accident causing damages. Claims must be submitted using the proper form with any applicable documentation to the Office of the Attorney General. You will receive notice within 90 days of receipt if your claim is approved.
Contact Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak for a Free Consultation
If you were injured in a car accident caused by poor road conditions, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our South Bend car accident attorneys can thoroughly review your claim and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available in your situation. There are no upfront fees and you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.