Who Is Liable if a Road Hazard Causes a Car Accident?

Who Is Liable if a Road Hazard Causes a Car Accident?

Road hazards, especially those that are present near building sites and construction zones, can bring about car accidents that lead to debilitating injuries. In some instances, car accident victims can take legal action against the individuals and entities responsible for these hazards, including construction companies, builders, municipalities, cities, counties, or townships.

If you suffered injuries in a car accident that resulted from a road hazard, you need to speak with an experienced car crash lawyer in Columbia as soon as possible. 

Your attorney can review the police report and investigate your accident circumstances to determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim seeking monetary recovery.

If you are pursuing a claim against a municipality, you may need to notify the municipality before filing a lawsuit. Your lawyer can submit that notice promptly, gather evidence in your case, and handle all settlement negotiations with insurance company adjusters.

Finally, if the insurance company does not make you a fair car accident settlement offer, then your lawyer can pursue various litigation options in your case, such as taking your case to a civil jury trial or an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding, like mediation or binding arbitration.

Throughout the process, your lawyer will be on your side, aggressively advocating for you, fighting for your legal interests, and pursuing the maximum monetary recovery you need and deserve for all your accident-related losses.

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Potentially Responsible Parties for Road Hazards

Who Is Liable if a Road Hazard Causes a Car Accident

Road hazards are a problem for many vehicles and can bring about severe accidents and debilitating injuries. These hazards are especially prevalent near building and construction zones and other areas where construction equipment and roadway defects are prevalent.

If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from a road hazard, you can take legal action against the builder or construction company that owned the equipment or was responsible for creating the danger.

Moreover, since cities, counties, townships, and other municipalities are often responsible for repairing and maintaining roads, you can assert a claim against the accountable municipality for your accident and injuries.

Once you retain a car accident lawyer to represent you in your case, they can retain an expert accident reconstructionist who can visit the scene of your car accident, speak to witnesses, obtain forensic evidence from the scene, and draw their own conclusions about how the accident likely happened and who was responsible.

A certified accident reconstructionist can also serve as a witness during a discovery deposition or may testify on your behalf (and in support of your personal injury case) at a civil jury trial that takes place in the court system.

Your attorney can identify all individuals and entities potentially responsible for your car accident and can pursue the necessary legal action to recover monetary damages for your accident-related losses.

How Road Hazards May Cause Serious Car Accidents

Several different types of roadway defects can create hazards that cause or contribute to serious motor vehicle accidents. One common roadway hazard that can lead to a motor vehicle collision is defective or improper roadway design.

For example, when construction companies and others do not design roadways to drain water properly, significant water buildup may cause a vehicle to hydroplane. As a result, the driver may quickly lose control of their car and collide with a stationary object – or with another motor vehicle.

Moreover, defective roadway design can result in dangerous curves, slopes, and dips in the road, which may cause or contribute to a traffic accident.

Municipalities are also responsible for adequately inspecting roads on a regular basis and checking for defects, such as large cracks and deep potholes in the macadam. When they fail to do so, these roadway hazards may lead to serious traffic accidents and debilitating injuries.

Another common cause of roadway hazards that lead to traffic accidents is a municipality's failure to maintain the roadway surface. Cities, counties, and other municipalities are responsible for adequately maintaining cracks and potholes and preventing these defects from developing in the first place.

When defects such as deep potholes develop in the road's surface, they can lead to tire blowouts, which may cause a driver to quickly lose control over their vehicle and bring about an accident.

Municipalities are also responsible for maintaining traffic signs, painted signage on roadways, and traffic control devices, including traffic signals at intersections. When these devices malfunction, serious motor vehicle collisions may result, leading to severe and sometimes permanent injuries.

Roadway hazards may also happen because of poor placement of utility poles and signs, along with obstacles in the middle of the road that a municipality fails to remove in a reasonable and timely manner.

Finally, roadway hazards can occur when construction companies and builders fail to maintain the sites on which they are working.

For example, suppose debris falls off of a construction vehicle and into the middle of the road. In that case, it can present a severe hazard to oncoming vehicles, leading to a single-vehicle accident or a multi-vehicle collision.

If you sustained injuries in a car crash that resulted from a roadway hazard, consult an experienced car accident attorney in your jurisdiction as soon as possible.

Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident, take the appropriate legal action on your behalf, and handle all written and oral communication with insurance company representatives in your case.

Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the total settlement compensation you receive for the injuries and other accident-related losses you sustained.

Common Injuries in a Car Crash that Results From a Roadway Defect or Hazard

Motor vehicle accidents that result from roadway hazards typically occur with a significant amount of force. This force may cause an accident victim's body to move around and about the interior of their vehicle, leading to severe injuries.

A part of the accident victim's body may also strike a vehicle component, such as the dashboard, headrest, windshield, window, doorframe, or steering wheel, resulting in a debilitating injury.

Some of the most common injuries that car accident victims may suffer include soft tissue neck and back contusions (such as whiplash), traumatic head and brain injuries, permanent cognitive impairments, mouth and teeth injuries, eye injuries, broken bones, rib fractures, spinal cord damage, full and partial paralysis injuries, scarring, open lacerations, bruises, or death.

Upon suffering injuries in a car crash that resulted from a roadway hazard, you should seek follow-up medical care and treatment with a medical provider or medical facility as soon as you possibly can.

In addition, you should pursue all recommended medical treatment, such as consulting with a medical specialist (like an orthopedist or neurologist), undergoing a medical procedure, or going to regular physical therapy sessions.

By seeking continuous treatment for your injuries, you show the insurance company and its adjusters that you took your medical treatment seriously and that you deserve to receive favorable monetary damages for your losses.

Your car accident attorney can handle the legal components of your case while you attend medical appointments and work on making a full medical recovery from all of your car accident injuries.

Filing a Timely Car Accident Claim in Your Case

Filing a Timely Car Accident Claim

Your car accident lawyer can handle every step of the claims-filing process for you.

First, your attorney can compile all relevant documentation into a settlement demand package on your behalf. Important documents may include incident reports, police investigation reports, medical bills, video footage of the accident, medical treatment records, and lost earnings statements from your employer.

Once the insurance company adjuster reviews this information, your lawyer can represent you during all settlement negotiations with adjusters and advocate for the highest possible monetary award on your behalf.

If the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously, your lawyer can always threaten the insurance company with litigation as a means of enticing the adjuster to significantly increase their settlement offer.

Proving Negligence in an Auto Accident Case

To recover monetary damages in a car accident claim or lawsuit that involves a roadway hazard, you must fully satisfy your legal burden of proof. First, you must demonstrate that a municipality, construction company, or other individual or entity owed you a legal duty of reasonable care, which they subsequently violated. 

Municipalities, for example, have a duty to maintain roadways within their jurisdictions in a reasonably safe condition at all times. They also have a duty to repair roadway defects within a reasonable amount of time and to take appropriate measures to prevent hazards from occurring.

When municipalities and other entities fail in this regard, they breach – or violate – their legal duty of care to vehicle operators.

In addition to proving the duty and breach elements of a negligence claim, an injured car accident victim must show that both the car accident and their injuries directly resulted from the at-fault party's unreasonable and careless behavior.

To establish the legal elements of a car accident case, a personal injury attorney can retain several experts who can testify on your behalf, including accident reconstructionists and medical experts.

For example, a medical expert can establish the causal connection between a particular injury and the car accident – or establish whether a specific injury is permanent.

Maximizing Your Monetary Compensation after a Car Accident

If you suffered physical injuries in a motor vehicle crash that resulted from a roadway hazard, a personal injury attorney can help you maximize your total monetary damages.

In some cases, you may be eligible to receive this compensation through a favorable settlement offer from the at-fault individual or entity's insurance company. At other times, however, you might need to litigate your case to a resolution in court to recover favorable monetary compensation.

Since every car accident case is different, every accident victim will receive slightly different amounts of monetary compensation.

Factors that may determine the final monetary award that an accident victim receives in their car accident case will include the specific circumstances surrounding their accident, the medical treatment that the accident victim underwent, and the nature and extent of the accident victim's injuries.

First, an accident victim may receive compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, and loss of earning capacity. Additionally, they may receive compensation for non-economic damages to compensate them for their intangible losses.

Specifically, an accident victim may recover monetary damages for their mental distress, loss of spousal consortium, long-term or lifetime care costs, permanent disability or disfigurement, permanent scarring, past and future pain and suffering, inconvenience, lost quality of life, and loss of the ability to use an injured body part.

A car accident attorney in your jurisdiction can determine the likely value of your case based on the surrounding circumstances and the nature and extent of your injuries. Your attorney can then take the appropriate legal steps on your behalf to maximize your monetary recovery.

If you recently sustained injuries in a car accident that likely resulted from a roadway hazard, you need to retain an experienced attorney to represent you as early in the process as possible.

This is because, according to the state statute of limitations, an injured accident victim has to file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of their accident date. If they fail to take timely action and file their lawsuit within the applicable statutory timeframe, they may inadvertently waive their right to receive any monetary recovery for their injuries.

Jeff Morris, Car Accident Attorney
Car Accident Lawyer, Jeff Morris

A personal injury attorney can begin working on your case right away and secure your right to recover the legal compensation you deserve.

From investigating your accident circumstances to negotiating with claims adjusters, your lawyer will be your advocate every step of the way and work to secure the fair and reasonable monetary compensation you need for your car accident losses.

Your lawyer can do all this for you while you focus on the most important thing: recovering from your injuries.


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At Morris Law Accident Injury Lawyers, we have provided compassionate and aggressive counsel to personal injury victims in Horry County, Aiken County, and throughout South Carolina since 2016. We are available 24/7/365 days of the year. Reach out and get your case evaluated at no cost.