Millions of accidents occur on the roads each year. Many of these accidents are caused by driver error, but a significant number are caused by poor road maintenance. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 26 percent1 of the roads in the state of Florida are in poor or mediocre condition. Naturally, these poor road conditions lead to thousands of accidents each year. When motor vehicle accidents are the result of the negligence of a private party or state agency to maintain a roadway, victims can often recover compensation for the injuries they have sustained.
How Can a Road be Poorly Maintained?
There are several ways in which a poorly maintained road can potentially cause damages to a person's vehicle:
- Overgrown trees or plants
- Lack of visible signage
- Flooding due to poor drainage
- Debris or other obstructions
- Faded or missing line markers
- Poorly lit roads or burnt out street lamps
- Uneven pavement
- Malfunctioning traffic signals
Whether or not these or other roadway hazards are the results of negligence is often a very fact-specific issue. As a result, you should never assume that an accident is or is not legally actionable without first talking to an attorney. For example, whether or not a pothole that caused an accident was the result of negligence will likely depend on factors such as the length of time the pothole was there, the cause of the pothole generally, and the weather and road conditions that existed in days or weeks leading up to the accident.
Every Single-Vehicle Accident Should be Fully Investigated
Many drivers who are involved in single vehicle wrecks make the mistake of assuming that their crash was their fault. After all, if there was no one else around, who else could be at fault? As the information here should make clear, a single vehicle accident could very well be the fault of a government agency or private party responsible for the maintenance of the road on which the accident took place. When you speak to an attorney, he or she will fully evaluate whether any evidence of negligence2 exists and ensure that your rights are protected if it turns out that you are able to file a claim.
Who Maintains the Roads?
State and local governments are responsible for keeping all public roads and highways free of any hazards that may cause injury to motorists. Failure of the government to adequately maintain a road could give rise to a lawsuit for personal injury. There are special rules when it comes to suing a government; for instance, the doctrine of sovereign immunity may preclude citizens of a state from suing their state for money. An experienced auto accident attorney will be able to explain to you how to properly navigate these special rules and help get you the justice you deserve.
However, if a private road is improperly maintained, then you may be able to sue the property owner for any damages you incurred. These lawsuits proceed as any other normal personal injury lawsuit. You will need to demonstrate that the property owner was negligent in maintaining their private road. This is all assuming you are not trespassing on their land, of course.
Call Dolman Law Today to Speak with an Experienced Clearwater Car Accident Attorney
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765