When road conditions are poor, devastating accidents can occur. Unfortunately, when accidents occur as a result of poor road conditions, it isn't always easy to determine who is liable for the accident. All accidents in these instances do not wind up leading to a personal injury lawsuit. Before a lawsuit can be filed, the victim must be able to prove that the poor road conditions were unsafe and that the responsible third party or government agency responsible for said conditions was negligent in some way. Read on to learn more.
Who Is Responsible for Road Maintenance?
As a general rule, roads are maintained by the city, county, or state. Homeowners or property owners will maintain private roads. Various agencies have different responsibilities when it comes to maintaining roads, and many times, multiple agencies will maintain a single road. For instance, city roads will be paved by the state, who will also be responsible for potholes, while the city will plow and de-ice that same road.
Therefore, it is important that you determine who is responsible for the maintenance of the road, what particular condition caused the accident, and who would have been responsible for the prevention of the accident had proper maintenance been performed.
How Can You Prove Negligence?
Once you have properly identified the responsible party for the maintenance of the road, you need to prove that the party was negligent in their duties. Showing that they were responsible for maintaining the road is not enough, you must prove that they were negligent. In other words, you must show that the party had time to perform repairs and failed or refused to do so, leading to unsafe conditions for motorists.
For instance, the city may have reduced their funding for road repairs. As a result, heavy erosion began to occur on the road. If a vehicle accident occurred as a direct result to that erosion, the city would be negligent. The road erosion was known and repairs were evident, but the city failed to perform the necessary repairs.
Can You Sue?
First off, it is very important that you understand suing a government agency like the city or state can be highly complex. In many cases, they are immune from lawsuits, though there are always exceptions to the rules, such as when negligence is involved. However, the negligence must be extreme. Therefore, if you have been involved in an accident and you believe the city, state, or federal government is responsible, consult with a personal injury attorney immediately to review your case and determine if the adequate amount of negligence applies to move forward.
For more information, reach out to law firms like Wolfe Jones Wolfe Hancock Daniel & South LLC.