Hazardous Road Conditions
While many car accidents are caused by unsafe driving behaviors, such as texting while driving or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, thousands of others are caused by factors that are out of the driver’s control. Whether they be weather-related or the result of highway construction or debris, hazardous road conditions endanger the lives of drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians alike.
An analysis of Washington D.C. found that less than half of the city’s roads were assessed to be in good condition. One-quarter were in poor or worse condition. Unfortunately, issues with funding and resources in municipalities across the country prevent dilapidated roadways from being fixed in a timely manner.
Common Road Hazards
Even a minor pothole or crack in the gravel can cause a car or truck to lose control, veer out of their lane, hit another vehicle, or rollover. Common road hazards include:
- Missing or broken signals and signs
- Unsafe construction zones
- Poor lighting
- Steep shoulder drop-offs
- Ice, rain, or snow-covered surfaces
Liability for Hazardous Road Accidents
We depend on our roadways to be safe and well-maintained wherever we go. Yet, unfortunately that is not always the case. If you are injured in an accident caused by hazardous road conditions, it can be challenging to determine who is responsible. In some cases, the city, county, or state is responsible to maintain the road where your wreck occurred.
When a government agency oversees ensuring the highway is safe for public travel, the laws in this regard generally give them a reasonable amount of time to repair a known hazard. A hazard is known after a citizen reports it or it is discovered during a routine inspection. If they become aware of a road hazard and fail to resolve it in a reasonable amount of time, they can possibly be liable for any accident occurring as result of this oversight. Yet if the local, state, or federal agency in question never knew about the hazard, your claim will be more challenging to prove.
Bringing a Claim for Hazardous Road Conditions
If you suffered a painful injury or damage to your car in a preventable wreck that was not your fault, a personal injury claim may make sense for you. As with any type of motor vehicle accident, it is important to take certain steps to protect yourself and gather the information you may need for a future claim, including:
- Check yourself, your passengers, and anyone else at the scene for injuries
- Call an ambulance if someone needs help
- If you can do so safely, move your vehicle out of traffic to prevent another wreck
- Contact the police
- Take down the names and phone numbers of anyone involved in the accident
- Report the accident to your insurance company
Unlike other types of accidents where aggressive driving or negligence is to blame, in wrecks where road conditions are a major factor, it is incredibly important to document the accident scene. Take photos or video of the pothole, ice, or construction materials that caused you to crash. Once you are able, contact a trusted Virginia Beach car accident lawyer to dig a bit deeper to find out what company or agency is responsible for maintaining the road where your accident occurred and if they had knowledge of the unsafe conditions prior to your crash.
Our Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Determine Who is Responsible for Hazardous Roadways
It is certainly frustrating to find out your city or town knew about potholes or faulty traffic lights but failed to repair them prior to your accident. If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash caused by hazardous road conditions, our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers can help. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we understand the challenges that come with claims against government agencies. For a free consultation, call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we represent clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.