Who’s Liable When Car Accidents Are Caused By Poor Road Conditions?


Reality Check: Is our pothole problem getting worse? - BBC News

The question of liability if roads are badly designed or poorly maintained is often much more complicated than we expect. This is because road conditions can be a contributing factor and it needs to be determined how much they affected the outcome of the car accident. This includes things like erosion, potholes, missing guardrails, and even faulty design. 

So who is liable in a Detroit car accident case when poor road conditions are involved? An investigation will dictate this and it will include several factors that are analyzed, like the following. 

Road Maintenance Responsibility

States, counties, and cities maintain roads. There are various maintenance responsibilities in place for roadways and they can actually be shared by different governmental agencies. As an example, the state can be responsible for paving roads and filling potholes. Then, the city has the responsibility of de-icing and snowplowing. This is why it is very important to figure out the responsibility of every agency involved. 

To put it as simple as possible, you need to determine the agency that was responsible for the road condition that caused the accident. Only then can you file a personal injury claim against that particular agency. 

Proving Negligence

After determining the party that is responsible for road planning or maintenance, the person injured needs to prove negligence and the connection the negligence had with the car accident. This is a very complicated process that aims to prove the responsible agency had noticed there was a road problem, had the possibility of fixing it, and failed in doing so. As a result, the crash happened. Fault can also be determined when showing safety-related defects appeared in road construction execution or planning. 

Can You Sue The Responsible Party?

You might be aware of the fact that most government agencies have immunity. They cannot be sued without permission. Fortunately, governments do provide the permission through the administrative claim process. This is practically the prerequisite of lawsuit filing. 

Basically, you can sue the government agency. However, the process might be very complicated. There are government decisions and actions you cannot use to file a civil lawsuit or claim. In most cases, roadway maintenance negligence is something that can lead to a personal injury claim. However, there are narrow constraints in place that could be activated. 

In every single state, there are rules that will cover government claims at local and state levels. This includes details about possible compensation. Procedures vary and the big thing is that there is only a very short timeframe available to notify the government entity about the fact you want to get compensation and accident details. A specific form might need to be completed. 

To sum up, it is possible to sue government agencies to receive financial compensation through personal injury claims. However, the process can be quite complicated. Because of this, it is really important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney that has as much experience as possible in dealing with cases like yours.