Liability for a Car Crash Caused by Roadway Hazards
Highways, interstates and other roadways require routine maintenance in order to preserve safe conditions. If the city, county or state agency responsible for maintaining roadways in Georgia allows the road to deteriorate, it may result in hazards forming that can cause serious car accidents.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a hazard that resulted from poor or neglectful road maintenance, you may be entitled to pursue legal action. Roden Law’s car accident attorneys in Macon are dedicated to helping victims of negligence pursue the justice and compensation they deserve.
Below we discuss several factors our attorneys may consider when determining liability in a car accident caused by a roadway hazard. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to learn more.
Common Roadway Hazards
When roadways do not receive adequate maintenance or necessary repairs, it may create poor conditions that make it dangerous to drive on the road. Common types of roadway hazards include:
- Debris from roadside construction zones
- Lack of guardrails
- Faulty roadway design
- Roadway erosion
- Shoulder drop-off
- Oil and chip
- Ice and snow
- Fallen trees or branches
- Downed power lines or street lights
- Broken traffic lights
- Debris from previous car accidents
- Uneven roadways
- Unmarked lanes
- Rocks, mud or other types of natural debris
Who is Responsible for Maintaining Public Roads
Determining which party may be held liable for maintaining public roadways can be complicated. Typically, liability for an accident caused by a roadway hazard depends on where the road is located and whether it falls under a city, county or state agency’s jurisdiction.
Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident and the road it occurred on. Based on our results, we will determine which agency is responsible for the road and when it was last repaired or maintained.
For example, Macon-Bibb County’s Public Works Department is responsible for maintaining city streets by repairing damaged roadways or clearing dangerous hazards that are dangerous to motorists. Likewise, Georgia Department of Transportation may be responsible for maintaining or repairing interstates and highways passing through the area.
However, it is also necessary to determine if the party can be sued at all. The majority of state and federal government agencies have sovereign immunity and smaller governments have governmental immunity, meaning they cannot be sued.
Exceptions to this immunity may exist if the government agency was negligent in their care of the roadway. Typically, state law gives the government agency a reasonable timeframe to discover and address poor road conditions. Discovering dangerous roadway conditions may occur because of reports from individuals or routine surveys of the road.
If the dangerous condition is not known by the government agency, the agency may not be held liable for accidents caused by poor roadway conditions. If the danger has existed for enough time that the agency should have already discovered it, the agency may be held liable.
For a claim to be successful, you must prove the agency knew or should have reasonably known about the danger, and that the agency did not make repairs to the roadway within a reasonable amount of time.
Filing a Claim
Georgia's State Tort Claims Act allows individuals to file claims against government agencies or government employees due to dangerous roadway conditions. To file a claim against the government, you must provide the following information in writing to the necessary agency:
- The name of the government agency
- The act that occurred (the car accident)
- The time and place the accident took place
- The type of loss you suffered
- The amount of compensation you are seeking
Different time limits for filing a lawsuit apply to different government agencies. Some city agencies may require claims to be filed online rather than in writing, or require special forms for use. Claims against the state of Georgia must be filed within 12 months of the incident and made in writing.
Our attorneys will help you navigate the claim filing process, ensuring your claim is filed in the appropriate manner within the allowed timeframe.
Evidence You May Need to Support Your Claim
If you believe a government agency is liable for the losses you suffered during a car accident, you will need evidence to support your claim. Our attorneys know what it takes to build a strong car accident case. This may include using the following types of evidence:
- Pictures of the road where your accident occurred
- Pictures of the hazard you believe caused your accident
- Pictures of the damage to your vehicle
- Maintenance or repair records from the agency responsible for maintaining the road
- Witness statements
- Police accident reports
- Video from traffic cameras
- Black box data from your vehicle
- Medical records indicating you suffered an injury
- Copies of the bills you received for your medical treatment
Contact Roden Law for a Free Consultation
If you were injured in an accident caused by poor road conditions, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our Macon personal injury attorneys will review your claim and inform you of the legal options available to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our experienced car accident lawyers now. There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.