An important part of any lawsuit is determining who is at fault. When roadway defects contribute to the cause of an auto accident, the government entity responsible for the roadway becomes a responsible party, changing the dynamics of your case.
Defective roadway accident lawsuits are more complicated than other auto accident lawsuits. Most roadways are the responsibility of government entities – federal, state, county, or city agencies or departments. Lawsuits involving government entities are subject to different procedures, including notification requirements, and have different time limits than typical auto accident lawsuits. Multiple parties may be at fault.
Roadway defects that often result in accidents include:
Detecting roadway defects
The importance of proving that a roadway defect caused your accident cannot be understated. It may the key to absolving yourself, and any other drivers involved, of both civil and criminal responsibility for an accident. When drivers are held responsible for accidents caused by defective roadways, innocent victims can incur devastating financial harm and sometimes imprisonment.
Defective roadways that have unexpected obstacles or other hazardous conditions, such as too much oil or gravel, may be immediately obvious to the driver, but not in time to prevent an accident.
Accidents that initially appear to be caused by driver error are sometimes caused by a roadway defect. Often no one involved in the accident is aware of the defect itself, but statements made by drivers, passengers, and witnesses can reveal the possibility. A malfunctioning traffic light will typically lead to conflicting statements in which drivers and passengers all claim that the vehicle which they were in had a green light and that the “other driver” ran a red light.
Defective roadways often have a history of accidents. This may be a history of accidents caused by the specific defect that caused your accident, or a pattern of similar defects in the city, county, or state in which your accident occurred. Correcting roadway defects can be expensive, and a history of accidents can mean that the responsible party is subject to multiple lawsuits, so this type of evidence may be well-hidden. An experienced accident lawyer has the resources and know-how to bring this evidence to light.