Dangerous roads are a common contributing factor in traffic crashes as there are numerous conditions that can cause a road to be hazardous, from road work construction to faulty design. With a faulty roadway, drivers can easily hit fixed objects, collide with other cars, or run off the road. It happens more often than many think, too. Seventy percent of all fatal single-vehicle crashes are run-off-road accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition to car accidents, dangerous roads can also lead to pedestrian, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents.
Types of Dangerous Road Conditions
Government bodies have a responsibility to safely design and adequately maintain roads so as not to endanger the lives of road users. In some instances, the agencies fall short of their duty, which can lead to disastrous accidents and preventable injuries and deaths.
Below are a few examples of conditions that can lead to a dangerous road accident.
- Dangerous curves and slopes
- Poorly designed intersections where there is limited visibility
- Road drop-offs
- Inadequate, missing, or wrong warning signage
- Highway ramps that don’t allow the space for safe merging
- Overly narrow roads
- Construction issues, including using subpar materials, failing to follow the layout plan, or doing poor quality work
- Faulty guardrails or missing guardrails where needed
- Roads without enough skid resistance
- Poor roadway drainage system, which can cause large puddles and subsequent hydroplaning
- Defunct, defective, or poorly placed traffic lights
- Inadequate maintenance practices, e.g., not fixing potholes or guardrails and allowing markers to erode
- Faulty or insufficient pedestrian lights
- Failing to address roadway issues when there are numerous reports of accidents on a particular roadway
Can you sue for damages if the roads are unsafe?
When a party’s negligence causes your injury, you can file a lawsuit to recover your damages. In dangerous road cases, it’s usually a government body that is responsible for the conditions. Unfortunately for victims, the government has a certain amount of protections against liability, and it can be difficult to hold them accountable for your damages.
Difficult, but not impossible.
Dangerous road cases require a substantial amount of investigation and evidence in order to substantiate it. You and your attorney will have to be show that the government body in charge knew or should have known about the danger on the road and failed to address it. This might involve the use of expert witnesses such as accident reconstructionists and independent traffic engineers, as well as pouring over public records of accidents that have occurred on the road to identify any patterns.
Consult an attorney straightaway to determine your options and take legal action because claims against municipalities have a much shorter statute of limitations; only six months in California.
What if you’re partly at fault for the accident?
If you are partly at fault for the accident, you may still be able to hold the responsible government entity responsible for its percentage of the fault. California follows the pure comparative fault rule, which states that victims can still recover damages in an accident they were partly responsible for, minus their degree of fault.
For instance, if you were driving too fast for the conditions on a dangerous road, you may be 40 percent at fault. If/when you obtain your settlement, you will only receive 60 percent of the total amount of your damages.
Consulting an Attorney Who Handles Dangerous Road Cases
For an attorney in California who handles dangerous road accident cases against government bodies, call Hiden, Rott & Oertle, LLP. Contact our office at 619-296-5884 today to schedule a free consult at your convenience.