Who’s Liable for Accidents Caused by Bad Road Conditions?
Car Accident Attorney Explains
You have been injured or your car has suffered extensive damages due to an accident caused by bad road conditions and you are thinking about calling your car accident attorney. However, you don’t know who to bring your claim against. This is a question that many victims of pothole-related accidents and other accidents caused by bad road conditions have when they walk into our offices. Do not worry! All of our clients usually walk out of our offices happy and confident about the likelihood of success in the claims they are about to file.
Poor road conditions include potholes, eroded roads, missing road signs, missing guardrails, construction zones, icy roads, lack of night-time lighting, and just poor engineering and construction in general. In most car accident cases involving bad road conditions, the agency responsible for maintaining the involved area is held accountable for the accident. That agency must, however, have had “reasonable” time to have discovered the bad road conditions and have also had enough time to consider repairing it for your claim to be successful. There are many other legal issues involved as well; for example, the statute of limitations is different for injury cases against government entities than it is for most other personal injury cases; you must make sure that your claim is filed in time, or you may lose the right to pursue compensation altogether. Your car accident attorney will explain all these legal issues to you during your initial consultation.
Proving that your accident was caused by bad road conditions can be somewhat difficult. You can, however, gather some important info by yourself or get some assistance from your car accident attorney.
Here are some of the evidence that will be critical to your case:
- Photographs (lots of them): In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you should take as many photographs as possible that capture the road condition that caused your accident. You should also take a lot of written notes. These will help the judge and jury to visualize the conditions.
- Police report: The police will help control the traffic and they will make an accident report right there at the scene. This report will include details such as the contributing factors, condition of the road, witnesses, and a diagram of the accident scene. Ask the officer how you will be able to access the report. He/she will probably give you his contact details and the station he/she serves at. You could even ask the police officer if accidents caused by bad road conditions are common in that particular stretch of the road. If so, then you should most definitely contact him or her for previous accident reports as that information will go a long way in showing that the problem is with the road conditions and not poor driving habits as the defense will probably claim.
- Government records: In order to determine which specific government agency is responsible for maintaining the road, you should head to your county clerk’s office. There you will find the name of the party or parties responsible for designing, building, and regularly maintaining the road. These government records are usually accessible free of charge.
- Look for witnesses: In the aftermath of the accident, you should look for witnesses to help back your claim. You could take the contact details of other motorists who saw what happened. You should also look around and ask those who live close to the road if they have witnessed any other accidents on that road and if they could have possibly reported to the responsible agency about the bad condition of the road.
By getting all these pieces of information, you will be increasing your likelihood of winning your lawsuit against the responsible agency. However, the right car accident attorney can handle your legal matters in your stead so you can focus on your recovery.
Wilshire Law Firm Car Accident Attorney
You can find a reliable car accident attorney with proven experience and results at Wilshire Law Firm. To learn more about what our firm can do for you in a FREE consultation, call us now at 1-800-52-CRASH.