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.

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.