Road Hazard Accident: Who is Liable?
Car accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Drivers may be tired, drunk or distracted. Some drive recklessly on purpose. Sometimes accidents cannot be avoided, like when there are road hazards.
Road hazards can cause serious accidents. Many even lead to fatality. There are approximately 33,000 fatalities caused by car accidents each year. Of these, close to 11,000 involve poor road conditions.
If you hit a road hazard and sustain damage to your car as well as suffer injuries, are you responsible? In some cases, you may be. In others, you might be able to file a claim against certain parties. Read on to learn more about liability in road hazard accidents.
Who is liable depends on the specific road hazard. For example, if you hit a deer crossing the road, you can’t sue the deer. Nobody else is responsible for the deer’s actions, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to file a claim in this case. Your insurance company will likely cover the damages, but you’ll be considered at fault.
If you hit debris that fell off a vehicle, then you could technically file a claim against the driver. However, this could be difficult unless you actually saw the debris fly out of the vehicle or have a witness who saw it.
Sometimes the hazard is a pothole or other road defect caused by poor maintenance. Besides potholes, cracks, crumbling edges, uneven areas, faded areas, damaged guardrails and knocked-over signs may indicate worn roads. In these situations, you may be able to sue the local, state or federal government for damages. A lawyer can help you understand who is liable, your timelines and the process in general, since claims against the government can be complicated.
Bridges, freeways and highways are especially dangerous. If bridges are not solidly built, they may not be able to support a vehicle. This can cause both the bridge and vehicle to collapse, causing serious injuries and even death.
Freeways and highways involve vehicles driving at high speeds, so when they hit a road hazard, the impact can be deadly. Also, large, heavy semi trucks often drive on these roads, causing them to deteriorate quickly.
Road hazards can also occur when construction is in progress. Drivers often have to maneuver around workers and squeeze into tight areas. There may be tractors and other vehicles blocking the road. There may also be incorrect signage or no signage at all, causing drivers to be confused. All these situations can lead to accidents.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Car Accident Case
Hitting debris, a pothole, a deer or other road hazard can be a frustrating experience. While it may be your fault in some cases, poor road conditions should not be your responsibility. The city, county or some other municipality should be liable to some degree.
If you were involved in a car accident, the Tampa car accident attorneys at The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group can assess your claim and determine liability. Contact us today by filling out the online form or calling 813-242-4404.