While speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving are some of the leading causes of auto accidents, bad road conditions are also a major contributor. According to a study, over 22,000 fatalities happen due to dangerous road conditions, which cost $217.5 billion annually on average. They are mostly a result of natural events, such as ice and snow, tropical rains, and flooding, that make roads unsafe for driving. Moreover, they may also arise from improper condition of a road and absence of appropriate safety signage.
It is the government’s duty to design and construct roads and uphold safety standards. Several government agencies are assigned with the task of maintaining roads and taking proper measures to ensure they are safe for all types of vehicles and pedestrians. They are responsible for putting up proper signage, pavement markings, lighting, signals, and other traffic control devices.
Road Conditions Contributing to Auto Accidents
Here are a few hazardous road conditions that may result in a vehicle crash:
- Missing, confusing, or damaged road signs
- Poor landscaping causing vision obstruction
- Use of inappropriate road materials
- Broken guardrails
- Roads not plowed in winter weather
- Lack of nighttime lighting or measures for reducing glare
- Lack of appropriate road markings
- Poorly banked roads with blind curves
- Potholes and cracks
- Absence of rumble stripes on freeways
- Faded paint markings
- Construction materials and utility poles placed in a way that block driver’s vision
- Low bridges
- Steep shoulders (drop-offs)
- Windy roads with no lines
If an accident happens due to any of the above road conditions, you may hold the concerned government agency liable for the damages.
Filing a Claim against a Public Entity
According to the guidelines by the American Bar Association for personal injury, the injured party has to prove the following five elements in order to file a claim against a public entity:
- The hazardous road or surrounding condition caused the accident.
- The public entity owns or controls the road where the accident took place.
- The accident happened in a manner that the public entity could anticipate would result from the hazardous conditions.
- The road was in a improper condition when the accident happened
- The accident was a result of the public entity’s failure to promptly take remedial actions after learning about the dangerous condition.
Statute of Limitations
Unlike a personal injury claim against an individual or a private company, the statute of limitation for filing a claim against the government is six months or less. If you don’t file the claim within this period, you may lose the opportunity to recover the damages due to hazardous road conditions.
The process of filing a claim against a public entity can be complicated and lengthy. It is recommended that you hire an experienced auto accident attorney to handle your case and get the rightful compensation for the damages you sustained. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.