Crashes Caused by Unsafe Roads
Not all car accidents are caused by a negligent driver. In some cases, the crash is caused directly by a defect in the road or highway. Who is to blame when this happens? Who has the right to sue for compensation in such a case?
Christie Farrell Lee & Bell in Indianapolis is here to answer all of your questions about roadway design defect accidents. You do not need to feel like you have to file your case alone and try to challenge the opposition by yourself. Get us on your side and take a rest while we get to work on figuring out who should pay you for your damages.
Call (317) 245-3709 to discuss your case with our attorneys.
Different Types of Dangerous Road Defects
It is important that all public roads, streets, and highways be maintained regularly and correctly. If they are not, then all types of different defects can start to form. While some defects might seem minor and have a low chance of causing a car accident, some can cause devastating effects that directly result in violent car accidents.
Some of the most common yet dangerous road defects include:
- Potholes: When a chunk of asphalt is removed from the road, it forms a pothole. Typically, a pothole is more likely to form in an area with heavy rainfall because the water is absorbed into the ground, where it starts to form cracks and erodes the underlying soil. But potholes can form virtually anywhere that the road is neglected. Hitting a pothole at high speeds can cause a driver to lose control and crash. Motorcyclists are even more susceptible to wiping out after their front tire gets lodged in a pothole.
- Missing guardrails: Certain stretches of road should be equipped with guardrails or metal barriers along the side. Guardrails are used to prevent vehicles from steering off hills or cliffs in case of a minor accident or a momentary loss of vehicular control. But if a guardrail is missing or damaged, then the motorist will be put in an unfairly dangerous situation in the blink of an eye.
- Confusing traffic signals: Every driver needs to adhere to traffic signals like red lights and green lights. But what is a driver to reasonably do when traffic signals and signs around the street are damaged, missing, or downright misleading? Poorly planned traffic signals can be the direct cause of crashes.
- Poor lane layouts: The layout of vehicle lanes is hugely important for public safety. If lanes are not marked clearly in an area of heavy traffic, then it is likely that a driver will get confused and crash into someone else. Furthermore, lanes or streets with unsafely high speed limits can contribute to the risk of a crash because drivers are not instructed to follow the correct and safe speed.
Who is Liable for a Road Defect?
You obviously cannot sue a pothole for your accident. What you can do, however, is bring a claim against the party that was responsible for taking care of potholes when they form in your city. Most of the time, a statewide or municipal department of transportation – like the Indiana Department of Transportation – is responsible for roadway conditions, maintenance, and repairs. Sometimes local agencies like the Department of Public Works can be liable for roadway safety, too.
The trouble with road defect design cases is that it is never simple to bring a claim against a government or public entity. Strong legal teams always defend such parties. Furthermore, there are usually strict rules in place to protect them from liability. For example, most cases against a government entity must be brought within 90 days of the accident, even if Indiana usually has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury and car accident claims.