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.