Vehicle Damage Due To Poor Road Conditions: Who Is Liable?

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Vehicle Damage Due To Poor Road Conditions: Who Is Liable?2020-09-16T10:19:26+00:00

Vehicle Damage Due To Poor Road Conditions: Who Is Liable?

Was You Car Damaged On The Road? Call Our Lawyers Today

Determining who is at-fault for a car accident is often simple. If a driver runs a red light and plows into your car, then it’s obvious who caused the accident. And it’s clear that the other driver is responsible for any damages caused during the accident. But what about situations in which your accident is caused by unsafe road conditions?

You’ve probably run over a few bad potholes during your travels. And potholes can cause serious vehicle damage. Damages can also occur because of wet roads, shoulder drop-offs, icy or snowy roads, and other hazardous conditions.

If you’re a Los Angeles resident dealing with damages caused by an unsafe road, an auto accident lawyer in Los Angeles can help. Your car accident lawyer will determine if your situation is right for filing a claim.

Who is responsible for accidents that occur on badly-maintained roads? The governmental agency responsible for maintaining the road is possibly at-fault. But it’s also possible that the government isn’t responsible, usually if they were unaware of the hazardous condition.

You’ll have to determine who is responsible for the road on which your accident occurred. Once you have the information, you can then possibly file a claim for the damages. For a car wreck lawyer Los Angeles residents can contact Grey Law for assistance.

The Government is Responsible for Public Roads – Within Reason
A state, city, or county agency is likely responsible for maintaining the road on which your accident occurred. After all, it’s their responsibility to maintain safe road conditions. However, the government is only responsible for roads “within reason.”

Within reason means you must have reasonable expectations of the government. In other words, you must consider it’s possible the government was unaware of the hazardous road conditions.

States give the government a certain amount of time to learn about hazardous road conditions. They then have even more time in which to repair the hazardous conditions. The responsible agency must have a reasonable amount of time to repair a hazardous condition. It’s considered unreasonable to expect the repair to immediately occur.

The government learns of hazardous road conditions when:

  1. Someone reports the dangerous condition.
  2. The dangerous condition is discovered during a government inspection.

If the government is unaware of an unsafe road condition, then it’s not responsible for any accidents or damages caused by the unsafe road. 

The only exception is if it’s determined the dangerous condition has existed for awhile, and the government should have known about it. But even if that’s the case, it’s possible the government is still not at-fault. The government is also not responsible for a dangerous road condition if it hasn’t had time to make the repair.

To improve your chances of a successful claim against the government, work with an auto accident lawyer in Los Angeles to prove that:

  1. The government knew about the dangerous road condition or should have known.
  2. The government had a reasonable amount of time to repair the dangerous road condition, but failed to do so.

Under these circumstances, proving the government is at-fault is difficult. You’ll want to contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney or a car injury attorney to help with this situation. Fighting the government isn’t easy, and having a lawyer on your side helps.

Filing a Claim
Your lawyer will help with the claim filing process. They’ll give you details about how to proceed. You’ll need several bits of information to get the process started.
You’ll have to provide:

  1. The name of the road where the incident occurred.
  2. The location of the dangerous condition. Providing landmarks helps.
  3. The exact position of the dangerous condition on the road.
  4. The direction in which you were driving.
  5. A detailed description of the dangerous road condition.
  6. Contact information for any witnesses.

Moving Forward with Your Claim
Your Los Angeles injury lawyer will determine if you have a strong enough case to file a claim. If you do, then you’ll need to discover which government agency is responsible for the road.

You can possibly learn which agency is responsible by contacting your county commissioners’ office. If this doesn’t yield results, then your lawyer will continue efforts to locate the responsible agency.

After you’ve found the government agency responsible for the road, you’ll need to notify them of your claim. Your lawyer will likely handle this step as part of the claims process.

It’s important to file your claim as soon as possible. In some cases, you must file your claim within a certain time limit. If you miss the cutoff point, you might lose the right to file a claim. A lawyer can make sure you file within a reasonable amount of time. 

Get to Work Proving Your Claim
The government isn’t going to make the process easy. Just because you file a claim, doesn’t mean the government isn’t going to dispute it. Your lawyer will have to prove that your claim is valid, and that the government is responsible for your damages.

In rare cases, the government will easily acknowledge their responsibility. But that doesn’t happen often. Your lawyer will have to take several steps to prove the government is responsible for our damages.

Survey records will show the last time the road in question was checked for unsafe conditions. Your car injury attorney can study these records. It’s possible that there’s mention of the condition that caused your damages. This will prove that the government did know about the hazardous conditions.

If the government did know about the unsafe conditions, you’ll have to take one more step. And that step is proving that the government failed to repair the problem – even though they had a reasonable amount of time to do so.

It’s possible survey records will produce no results. That means you’ll have to prove that the government should’ve known about the poor road conditions. Interviewing people who live in the area can possibly help prove this assertion. Your car accident lawyer will have the resources to complete this step.

Report the Incident – Even if Not Filing a Claim
Even if you decide against filing a claim, report the hazardous road condition to the appropriate party. Your report could possibly get the road repaired or help others avoid damaging their vehicles or worse. If you don’t know who is responsible for the road, report the incident to the nearest police department. But if you later decide to file a claim, for a car wreck lawyer Los Angeles resident can contact Grey Law.


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