Who is Liable When Poor Road Conditions Cause a Car Accident?

According to statistics, accidents caused by poor road conditions have doubled in the last ten years. Poor road conditions include potholes, missing guardrails, sinkholes and faulty designs. What happens when you get involved in a car accident as a result of poor road conditions? Who is held liable for your accident, damage to your vehicle and injuries? Here are the basics of what goes into a car crash caused by poor road conditions.

Who is Responsible for the Road’s Maintenance?

Before you even consider filing an injury or property claim, you must establish who is responsible for the road’s maintenance. States, counties, and cities typically maintain roads. Also, maintenance responsibilities for a particular roadway can be assigned to multiple governmental agencies. By finding out who is responsible for the road’s maintenance, you will by extension help you know who to sue.

Showing Negligence

Now that you know who is responsible for maintenance of the road, you must show that agency neglected its duty to keep the road in a good condition. You may also have to prove that the agency did not adhere to the set standards when construction the road.

Establishing the Cause of the Car Damage or Injury

Just as is the case will all injury or car damage claims you must show that you car’s damage or injuries sustained were as a result of poor road conditions. Note that proving motor vehicle damage in regards to badly maintained roads can be relatively difficult. Take car damage caused by a pothole for instance. The chances are that you may not notice the damage immediately it occurs and backtracking the route to identify the particular pothole that caused the damage can be a daunting task unless you have an eyewitness or other forms of evidence such as a police report. Besides, the agency might argue that your reckless driving or bad weather condition caused the damage.

Can You Sue the Agency?

You have proof that a road maintenance agency neglected its duty to main a road and as a result of using the road, your car got damaged. The question is, can you take the agency to court? Most government agencies enjoy a sovereign immunity which means that you cannot sue them. However, despite the privilege, some exceptions can allow you to sue a government agency such negligence in maintaining a roadway.   That said, the openings that allow you to sue a road maintenance agency for injury can car damage are limited. For instance, the negligence must be deemed as gross (overly negligent) or when the agency does not have insurance to coverage such a lawsuit.  The circumstances under which you can sue a government agency may vary from one state to the other. State governments, however, have rules that allow you to take smaller agencies such as municipalities to court. Such laws do not vary within a state. Note that you cannot sue an agency for damage and injury if the time limit set by the statute of limitations expires. Most states have short statutes of limitations ranging from six months to one year.

Seek Legal Advice

Suing a government agency for car damage and injuries caused by poor road conditions is not easy, and you may need a lawyer to help you out. If you or a friend has sustained injuries or their car damaged because of poor road conditions, contact a car accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible. The attorney will access your situation and give free advice on whether you have enough grounds to sue.

Car Accident Repair Options and Insurance Availability

Who should pay for your car’s repairs after an accident? What are your options? The party liable for the collision is most often the one to cater for the repair costs. However, other factors such as the type of your coverage or whether or not the at-fault driver is insured will also come into play. Here’s a look at your repair options and insurance liability after a car accident.

Who is to Blame for the Accident?

As stated, the driver who is responsible for causing the crash is liable for the cost of repairs ranging from small scratches to major bodywork. When the car is considered a “total loss,” the at-fault driver will compensate you for the actual cash or market value of the car the time of the crash. This is the case even in states where no-fault insurance laws are applicable.  That said, being at fault for the accident is one issue but who pays for the repairs is quite another. Below is a look at some options:

The At-Fault Driver’s Property Damage Liability Coverage

The law requires that every driver buys liability insurance for his or her car. After a collision, the property damage liability coverage is used to pay cater for damages to your vehicle. In essence, this means that if another motorist is to blame for the accident, the at-fault driver insurance provider will pay for your car’s repairs. You can also file a claim with the insurer directly.  But, what happens if the at-fault driver is not insured or if you are to blame for the accident? What if the other driver is to blame but you want to get your car back on the road as soon as possible instead of waiting for the insurer to fix the vehicle?

Use Your Collision Coverage

If you have collision coverage, you can turn to your insurance provider for repairs. Collision coverage caters for the repair costs of your car after an accident or total cash value if the vehicle is beyond repair up to the coverage limits irrespective of who is to blame for the crash. Note that if you use your collision coverage to cater for repairs, you will pay the deductible which typically starts at $500. You can recover the deductible in some situations, such as when your insurance provider pays you and later pursues reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurer.

Pay for the Repairs and Seek Reimbursement

Paying for the repairs out of pocket and seeking compensation, later on, is the fastest way to get your car back on the road. Take caution not to overpay for the repairs because you may not get a full reimbursement. Also, if controversy arises as to who was to blame for the accident, it may take relatively long before being reimbursed. At times, you may never get compensated.

Get a Lawyer

Car accident claims procedures are hectic. One mistake could mean forfeiting your right make a claim. Before you file a claim, talk to a car accident lawyer in your area so that he or she can help you with the basics. You are better off doing things right.

When an Attorney Can Help in a Car Accident Case

A lot of things come into play after a car crash. From a damaged vehicle to medical expenses and lost income, there is a lot to get worried about following a motor vehicle collision. Even more complicated is the process of pursuing compensation for damages. Consequently, seeking the services of an experienced injury attorney can significantly boost your quest to seek compensation. What follows are the reasons you need a lawyer in a car accident case.

An Attorney Brings Professional Help

The laws governing car accident suits are somewhat complicated and require expert interpretation. It goes without saying that an experienced lawyer is well acquainted with the pertinent statutes and procedural rules and how they may affect the outcome of your suit. Additionally, the attorney will notify you of the statutes of limitations that may deny you the right to sue. Staying with statutes of limitations, the attorney will as well let you know if there are any special exceptions in relation to your case.

An Attorney Will File the Suit on Your Behalf

Filing a car accident claim correctly is essential. Apart from acting on your behalf, the lawyer will help build a strong case and address issues raised by the other side from a legal point of view. The attorney will assist in determining the value of your claim, prepare a demand letter and forward to the insurance company and further negotiate a settlement amount on your behalf. If your case goes to trial, the attorney will prepare your case and most importantly, use his knowledge to even out the odds particularly when you are seeking compensation from an insurance company with a sound financial standing.

An Attorney Will Save You Visits to the Courthouse

Going to the court every time your case comes up for mention can be time-consuming, and it might mean abandoning other equally important endeavors such as work or business. An attorney will do the legwork, leaving you time to pursue other things. Also, the lawyer will collect the evidence required to build a strong case such as police reports, witness statement, medical records and bills as well as employment and lost income data. This is a significant step of pursuing compensation at the court especially if you sustained serious injuries and are still recovering.

An Attorney Acts as Your Advocate

From filing your injury claim to negotiating the settlement amount and arguing out your case in the court, the attorney will be acting as your advocate. In other words, the lawyer will be championing your interests before the jury and other lawyers, ensuring that your side of the story is heard and that you get compensation equal to your losses.

Most injury lawyers work on a contingent basis. This means that you will only pay your attorney if he or she successfully gets you the compensation. Thus, if you are contemplating filing an injury claim, you should seriously consider having a lawyer to represent you. Besides, consultation is free with most personal injury lawyers, so call an attorney lawyer in your area as it will help you get a fair and reasonable ruling in your car accident suit.

Preserve Your Rights to Compensation After a Car Accident

After a car accident, the law provides that you can seek compensation for injuries and property damage against the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. However, to retain your right to sue, you must document enough evidence to show that the other motorist was to blame for the collision, be patient, and relentlessly pursue compensation. A personal injury lawyer gives an outline on how to preserve your right to compensation after a car accident.

Collect As Much Evidence at the Scene as You Can

The amount of evidence you gather at the site of the crash will come in handy when proving that the other driver is liable. Here’s how to collect evidence:

Talk to Eyewitnesses – Collect as much information as you can from onlookers, their contact details and ask them to make written or verbal statements. Document all relevant information that would help paint a picture of what happened. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case and by extension the higher the likelihood of winning your suit.

Call the Police – Involve the cops as soon as you can. Police reports will prove helpful when dealing with the claim adjuster and lawyers. Don’t be swayed by the at-fault’s driver plea to talk you out of calling the police. Unless the other driver has sustained serious injuries, prioritize on getting a police report at the scene because it will most often include evidence of fault that you can use when setting your claim in the future.

Take Photographs – Photographic evidence will further authenticate your documented evidence, so be sure to take pictures using a camera or your phone. Concentrate on the damage to your car and that of the other driver, injuries sustained and any debris that may be on the road.

Visit a Doctor Immediately

Be sure to seek medical attention as soon as you can. Keep the treatment records, medical expenses, and doctor’s notes because your personal injury lawyer will use them as evidence when determining the value of your case and when negotiating a settlement amount.  Also, stick to your doctor’s instructions and do not engage in activities that would in any way aggravate your injuries. The last thing you want to do is escalate your medical bills lest the insurance company you’re seeking compensation from denies your claim. In other words, don’t give the claim adjuster a reason to think that you’re trying to increase medical bills by not sticking to your doctor’s orders.  Remember, as far as insurance injury claims are concerned, perception can determine whether you will get paid or not.

Get Repairs Estimates for Property Damage

When you have documented the evidence and have sought treatment, collect repair estimates for the damage caused to your vehicle. While a claim adjuster will ask for an independent inspection, be sure to have two or three assessments of your own. That way, you will justify the repairs needed and how much they might cost.

Be Patient, Professional and Relentless

Just like you, there are hundreds of other motorists pursuing compensation which means claim adjusters and attorneys have their hands full. You may want your car repaired soonest, but insurance companies work on a “first come first served basis.” Thus, be patient and persistent. Make follow up calls and frequently check on the status of your claim. Also, make sure that you are on the claims adjuster and attorneys good books.

Contact a Lawyer

While being patient and resilient is important when dealing with insurance claims, you’re better off with a lawyer on your side such as The Clark Law Office. A claim adjuster may deliberately delay or block payment of your claim and involving an attorney in your case could help avoid unnecessary obstructions. The need to have your compensation process move swiftly cannot be overemphasized, particularly when you’re pursuing long-term medical care or a substantial amount of lost wages.