Car Accidents Due to Poor Road Conditions: Who Is Liable?
Being in a car accident is a stressful event, especially if you or a loved one were injured. If you were in a car accident caused by poor road conditions, you may have legal recourse. Our car accident attorneys at Reed & Terry Law Firm in Sugar Land, Richmond, and Katy, TX, also serving the greater Houston area, offer free consultations. We can help you determine who is responsible for your accident, hold those parties accountable, and help you fight for compensation.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Bad Road Conditions?
Our attorneys will evaluate the evidence and circumstances of your accident to make the proper determination. Responsible parties may include:
- Local Municipalities: City or town governments may be liable if the roads were their responsibility to upkeep.
- State Governments: Depending on where your accident occurred, the State itself may be liable if it can be proven their neglect led to your accident.
- Private Citizens: If your accident occurred on a private road, the person who owned the road may be held liable for your damage and injuries.
- Companies, Contractors, or Road Authorities: A company or the road authorities may be held responsible if your accident was caused by their negligence or error. Examples may include poor road construction, unmarked hazards sticking into the road such as signs, and more.
How Common Are Car Accidents Due to Poor Roads?
In 2009, the Pacific Institute For Research And Evaluation performed a study that determined over 50% of fatal accidents on U.S. highways are related to poor road conditions. They also contributed to 38% of non-fatal highway injuries.
This means that poor road conditions are more fatal than speeding, not using a seatbelt, and even drunk driving.
The United States has made great strides in improving highway infrastructure around the country since the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This bill allowed for $350 billion into highway programs to improve conditions along highways and roads in the US.
However, these improvements are a work in progress, and accidents due to road issues are still all too common.
What Are Some Examples of Poor Road Conditions?
- Potholes: A pothole may seem minor, but it can damage your vehicle and cause an accident that leads to injury. These structural deficiencies are more common on roads that tend to have traffic from heavier vehicles, such as semi-trucks, buses, and construction vehicles.
- Uneven or Worn Road Surfaces: Uneven road surfaces can be due to extreme wear or due to prep work being done by road crews. This change in surface can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles.
- Improper Drainage: Improper road drainage can be an issue even without heavy rains. When water pools on the road, it makes it more likely that a driver will skid or hydroplane, which can cause the driver to crash their vehicle.
- Extreme Curves: Extreme curves in the road can make it difficult to properly navigate.
- Unmarked Road Hazards: Road hazards like items in the road, unmarked road work, and ill-fitting manhole covers can cause accidents.
- Poorly Painted Road Lines: Properly painted road lines are important to maintain safe traffic flow.
- Missing Barriers or Guardrails: Barriers and guardrails are designed to reduce risks to drivers on roads, especially in areas with hazards such as water or drop-offs. Without these barriers, accidents can prove especially dangerous and even fatal in some cases.
- Missing Road Signs: Signs indicating stops, intersections, or speed limits are there to give drivers proper information about the roads on which they are driving. Without these, dangerous situations can occur, such as a driver running through a 4-way stop and causing an accident.
- Unsafe Work Zones: Road maintenance is important. However, it can also create road hazards. Unsafe situations may include instances where a work zone appears without enough warning or unmarked work zones.
What Should I Do If I Think My Accident Was Caused by Poor Road Conditions?
- If you were injured, seek medical attention immediately and maintain all your medical records.
- File a police report with the local authorities. Be sure to get a copy of your accident report from the responding officers. This sometimes takes a few days to be ready, but you should receive detailed information from the officers on scene.
- Documentation is important in any accident. Take videos or photographs of any potential hazards or issues on the road. This will help our attorneys determine the responsible party.
- If there were witnesses, get their information.
- Contact our law firm. In the State of Texas, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years. You cannot seek legal damages after that time period. It is best to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.
- If another party or their insurance reaches out to you, do not speak with them. Let your attorney handle all communication.
- The decision to file under your own auto insurance is up to you. If your accident was the result of poor road conditions, your insurance may seek compensation from the responsible parties later.
What Kind of Damages Can I Seek in This Type of Accident?
Each accident is unique and has varied circumstances. Our car accident attorneys will look at every aspect of your case to determine the damages for which you may be able to seek restitution from the liable parties. Potential damages may include:
- Personal injury for you and those in your vehicle
- Property damage if your car or other personal property was damaged due to the accident
- Lost wages as a result of the accident
- Medical bills if you or your passengers were injured
- Wrongful death if your loved one died as a result of the accident
Our Car Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help — Request a Free Consultation
Enduring a car accident caused by bad road conditions can be devastating, especially if you or a loved one are injured or even killed. Having an attorney on your side is especially important if you are up against an insurance company, government authority, or large company. If you believe your accident was the result of poor road conditions, contact the attorneys at Reed & Terry Law Firm through our online form or call us for a free case evaluation. We have office locations in Sugar Land, Richmond, and Katy, TX, and serve the entire Houston area for your convenience.
About Jackson R. Reed
Attorney Jackson R. Reed has served clients since 1994. He is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA), the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA), the Houston Trial Lawyers Association (HTLA), and the State Bar of Texas.