Determining Liability When An Accident is a Result of Poor Road Conditions
In most cases, car accidents occur due to fault on the part of one or more drivers. However, there are some circumstances in which an accident could happen simply due to poor road conditions, such as potholes, erosion, bad weather (snow and ice), or poor design.
If this is the case, what options do accident victims have to seek compensation for their losses?
Responsibility for road maintenance
Roads are maintained by cities, counties and states. Even single roadways might have different government organizations with responsibilities for them. For example, on one road the city might be responsible for plowing and laying down salt, but the state might be responsible for paving or filling potholes.
If you are the plaintiff in an accident case based on road conditions, you must first determine, then, which entity bears responsibility for the poor maintenance conditions that caused your accident. This will vary from location to location, so it will take a little bit of research on your part.
The next step is to prove that the accident occurred as a result of that entity’s negligence. The agency or entity must have had a reasonable notice of the issue and a sufficient amount of time to correct it. It would be very difficult to hold a city responsible, for example, for a situation in which the roads had not been plowed or de-iced in the middle of a snowstorm. However, after a certain amount of time has passed without any snowfall, the city needs to make reasonable efforts to get all the streets cleared, or else risk being considered negligent and thus liable for accidents that occur due to poor road conditions.
For more information about specific legal strategies to employ if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by poor road conditions, contact a skilled lawyer at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.