October 30, 2017 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.
When it comes to personal injury claims arising from car accidents, most people assume they involve one driver who acted negligently and harmed another, such as when they drive distracted, under the influence, or fail to obey traffic laws. While driver negligence is a leading cause of auto accidents, and a common element in most personal injury car accident claims, there are also other potential causes that result in preventable wrecks and injuries. This includes poor roadway conditions.
Poor road conditions cause auto accidents all the time, and may involve the following factors:
- Poor weather, including rain and decreased visibility
- Potholes, eroding roadway, or poorly maintained roads
- Spills and debris
- Construction zones
- Missing or defective guard rails
- Missing or obscured signs and traffic lane marks
If any poor road condition factor led to an accident that could and should have been prevented, determining who is responsible for those hazardous conditions is critical to holding them liable for the victim’s resulting injuries and damages. This will vary depending on the circumstances involved. For example:
- At-fault drivers – Even when roadway conditions are poor and hazards nearby, drivers are obligated to respond appropriately to those dangers. This is because they have a legal duty to safely operate their vehicles. Driving too fast when roads are wet, changing lanes or making turns frivolously when there is limited visibility, or driving unreasonably near hazards such as construction zones are examples of negligence where drivers may still be held accountable for their conduct in spite of poor road conditions.
- Various third parties – There are some situations when poor road conditions result from the negligence of private parties other than drivers, including construction workers performing work on privately owned property near public roads. Should they negligently allow debris or other hazards onto the roadway and victims suffer harm, they can potentially be held liable.
- Government entities – Local or state governments often have a responsibility to maintain roadways and the signs and safety devices located on those road. They are also responsible for construction being performed on roads. Should a government entity fail to uphold its obligations, victims may have a right to bring legal action against them for their damages. Bring claims against a government agency is not as straightforward as an injury claim against a private driver or company, however, which is why working with experienced lawyers can make all the difference. Claims against government bodies must be filed in a timely manner, and they must adhere to unique rules and procedures.
Establishing fault and liability in auto accident cases involving poor road conditions can be a challenging matter, but it can be accomplished with the help of our proven attorneys at Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P. With more than 170 years of combined experience, we have the insight and resources needed to help victims pursue a full and fair recovery of their damages, and begin the process of putting their lives back together. Call (713) 621-7944 for a FREE case evaluation.