Liability in Poor Road Conditions resulting in a Car Accident

Road conditions that are poor such as erosion, missing guardrails, faulty design and pot holes can be the cause of severe vehicle damage or even death or injuries for the unguarded driver.

However, whether an individual can file a claim for the resulting injuries or damage is a complex question.

A plaintiff who is a car accident victim because of poor road conditions should establish that the road conditions truly resulted in the injuries or car damage.

Also, the plaintiff should demonstrate that the company or agency liable for maintaining such road was careless in its duty to offer a harmless roadway – or that they’re unable to warn motorists of a potential danger sufficiently.

Lastly, the plaintiff should establish if the agency liable is permitted to be litigated in court and whether or not the time limits for filing has passed.

truck accident
Truck accident about to happen on the road

Who’s Liable for Maintenance?

Roads are usually maintained by states, counties, and cities. Different maintenance tasks for a particular roadway can be shared by numerous governmental agencies as well.

For instance, a state may be in charge of paving the roads and filling pot holes while a city may be in charge of de-icing roadways.

Determining which agency was liable is essential not just for prosecuting the correct party, but for establishing if the certain agency can be charged at all.

Road Maintenance: Proving Negligence

Once it’s determined who’s liable for the roadway, the plaintiff should establish that the agency was careless in maintaining the road. Meaning, the agency could’ve, and should’ve, fixed the road but decided not to, or that the particular agency constructed the roadway in a hazardously faulty way.

For instance, a state may decide to reduce funding for road patch-up, which in return, results in erosion close to a lake. If a vehicle goes off as the roadway is washing away, then the state could be accountable for the subsequent vehicle damage.

Conversely, if a huge tree fell right into a road, yet there wasn’t a way wherein the agency responsible may have found out about the tree and got rid of it before the damage took place, then the agency won’t be found responsible.

Truck accident case

Determining the Injury or Car Damage Cause

Also, the plaintiff should prove that poor road conditions truly caused the injury or car damage, and this can be problematic, particularly if we talk about vehicle damage.

Vehicle damage caused by debris or potholes in the road may not be noticed instantly after it takes place and it could be hard to retrace a vehicle route to determine what exactly in the road that resulted in the damage.

Without other evidence or other witnesses, such as accident photos or a police report, the testimony of the plaintiff will be the mere evidence of how the accident was caused.

If that’s so, then the agency could argue that the poor driving of the plaintiff or other condition, like the weather, was the actual reason the accident happened.