Poor Road Conditions and Car Accident Liability

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Is the Government Liable Car Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions?

Car accidents are expensive and are difficult to resolve. Since the government generally has a duty to make roads safe, a driver may make a claim against the government if an accident is caused by poor road conditions.

The Government Must Maintain Public Roads

The city, county, and/or federal government has a duty to maintain public roads. That duty extends to making the government responsible for accidents that are the result of not maintaining the roads. However, the duty is limited to what is reasonable for the government to maintain. As a result, not every accident will be recoverable.

The standard of "reasonable" is determined by whether:

  1. The government has discovered the dangerous condition and has taken time to fix the condition, OR
  2. The government should have known of the dangerous condition.

The government will not likely be liable if it did not have enough time to discover a dangerous condition. For example, if a pothole appeared on the street 10 minutes before the accident occurred and no one reported it, then the government will likely be able to escape liability.

Making a Claim

If you believe that the government is responsible for your car accident, then you must file a claim with them. First, you need to determine which government body is responsible (i.e. city, state, or federal). Second, you must timely file your complaint.

The complaint should include when and where the accident occurred, road conditions, and any witnesses.

Proving the Claim

Filing a claim does not guarantee that you will receive money from the government. You must prove that the government is liable. Generally, this is a two-step process:

  1. You need to show that the government is aware of the poor road condition.
  2. If the government objects to the poor road conditions, you need to prove that the government should have known of the poor road conditions.

Consulting an Attorney

If you would like to file a complaint against the government or would like to escalate your complaint, then please consult a personal injury lawyer. He can help you prove your claim, and can help you follow up with the government.

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 01-07-2015 03:33 PM PST

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