Every year, thousands of Americans suffer injuries in car accidents resulting from road defects. These defects consist of any abnormality or flaw in a road, many of which may hamper a driver’s ability to safely control his or her vehicle.
Oftentimes, road defects arise as a result of poor road maintenance, which may be considered an act of municipal negligence. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in an auto accident caused by a road defect, contact the Springfield road defect accident lawyers at Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. at (417) 855-2022 for a free consultation.
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Common Road Defects
Road defects may be on the actual roadway or in the surrounding areas. Additionally, defects may arise from construction and other roadwork.
Common examples of road defects are:
- Shoulder Drop-Off
- Uneven Pavement
- Lack of Signs
- Lack of Guardrails
- Construction Site Negligence
- Municipal Negligence
When a driver comes into contact with any of these defects, he or she can easily lose control of the vehicle. This puts the driver at greater risk for a single-car accident, such as rolling over, crashing into permanent structures, or veering off the road. In addition, some road defects have the potential to cause large, multi-car accidents that result in serious injury or even loss of life.
In many cases, the municipality in charge of maintaining a roadway is liable for injuries resulting from road defects. Individuals affected by road defects may be entitled to financial compensation if they pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Proving Liability for Road Defects
It can be exceedingly difficult to bring a lawsuit against government agencies, due to sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity protects government agencies from civil actions. The courts have slowly eroded sovereign immunity by permitting lawsuits against grossly negligent or reckless government agencies. It can take a good deal of evidence to prove that you have a legitimate claim, but your attorney can help you build a strong case.
You will need to determine what parties may possibly be held responsible for your injuries. Because road building and maintenance is a huge undertaking, it is likely that there are several parties involved, such as private contractors or federal, state, or local government agencies. You should be able to locate this information in records at the county clerk’s office. Records about roads are available due to several open records acts, so you should be able to discover which agencies are involved in the road that caused your accident.
Building Your Claim
If you are bringing a lawsuit against the organizations involved in building and maintaining the road that caused your injuries, you will need to provide a considerable amount of evidence. This can be challenging, but it is possible that your lawyer can help you find the evidence you need. Here are some credible and relevant sources of information that you can use to build your case.
If a police report was taken at the scene of your accident, you can obtain a copy of the report from your insurance. Asking the responding officer questions may also help you determine if the road has caused other accidents. If there have been other accidents at the same location, it can strengthen your claim that the road is dangerous. You can also ask the officer to include any roadway faults or obstructions that you believe caused the accident in the report.
The report will contain:
- Witness’ names
- A description of the road quality and condition
- A diagram of the accident
- Weather conditions
- Other contributing factors
If you are able, carefully photograph the accident scene. Take general area shots, pictures of any faults in the road that contributed to the accident, signs or traffic signals, and photos of property damage or injuries. If you are unable to take shots at the time of the accident, request that a passenger, friend, or family member do so, or return and photograph what you can. Be sure to include a shot that proves the date and time of the accident, such as the display of a cellphone with the accident scene in the background.
Talk to residents or workers in the area of the accident. If they have witnessed your accident or other accidents at the location, it is possible that they will provide a statement regarding the frequency of accidents there. Find out if they have reported the roadway as dangerous to any state, local, or federal government agencies.
It is possible that other lawsuits have been filed for accidents at the same location. You can look up lawsuits filed against the Federal Highway Administration and Department of Transportation to see if there are other lawsuits that have been filed for accidents on the same road as your accident.
You can also look at the county clerk’s office for lawsuits filed against the individual state and local government agencies and private contracting firms involved in the road at the accident site. Look for lawsuits similar to yours, and see what was used for evidence and what the amount of compensation was. The state attorney general’s office may also have information on the advisory opinions issued by the office to government agencies regarding this road.
Ask your attorney for help with your research. They can help you find relevant information, as well as explain legal language and the implications of the cases to you. Your lawyer should be invested in helping you gain a better understanding of your claim and similar claims.
The Springfield road defect accident attorneys at Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. believe that you should exercise your right to seek financial compensation if you were injured because of a road defect.
Contact us today at (417) 855-2022 for more information.
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