Can I Sue the Government for an Accident Resulting from Poor Road Conditions?
Car Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions
Many car accidents are caused by other drivers, but some accidents are the result of poor road conditions. These accidents can cause serious injury to drivers and/or passengers and severe damage to vehicles. Common poor road conditions include:
- Broken traffic lights
- Fallen or covered street signs
- Faded paint markings
- Construction material on the road
- Debris on the road
Maintaining Safe Road Conditions
Because state and local governments are usually responsible for maintaining safe road conditions, it would seem that the government should be held liable for an accident caused by poor road conditions. While in some cases it is possible, bringing a claim against the government is a complex process. Certain laws are in place to protect the government from being sued.
Bringing a Claim Against the Government
Under what is called sovereign immunity, federal and state governments cannot be sued unless they waive their protections under this law. Local governments, such as cities and counties, are similarly protected under governmental immunity. Trying to sue the government because of poor road conditions can be a difficult undertaking.
If poor road conditions led to an accident, the person who wishes to sue the government has to prove that an agency was at fault. That means demonstrating that the government neglected to act in a timely manner to fix or correct poor road conditions.
The government is allowed a reasonable amount of time to discover and repair or resolve issues on roadways and highways. So, if a tree falls on the road, and a driver hits that tree immediately after it has fallen, the government most likely will not be responsible for the damage. If, however, the government was aware that heavy winds last month caused a tree to fall on the road and was negligent in removing the tree, the government may be liable for an accident that occurred as a result.
It is also difficult to prove that poor road conditions led to an accident. When the incident occurs, damages to a vehicle caused by poor road conditions may not be immediately apparent.
If a driver believes that poor road conditions caused his or her accident, he or she should:
- Immediately report the accident to police
- Document the specifics of the accident
- Take pictures
- Get the contact information of any witnesses
Keeping records of the road conditions and the details of the accident will be helpful if the case is taken to court. This documentation can be presented as evidence to help the claim that poor road conditions caused the accident.
Consult with Our Mobile, AL Car Accident Attorneys
Serious and often expensive damages can result from an accident caused by poor road conditions. If a driver and/or passenger was injured, they can incur huge medical bills for treatment of their injuries. Vehicle repair fees can also be costly. Determining who is responsible for the accident can help a driver recover compensation for costs incurred.
Bringing a lawsuit against the government because of an accident caused by poor road conditions can be difficult because the burden of proof lies on the driver, and the government is protected from lawsuits. Consulting with our skilled Mobile, AL car accident attorneys at Cunningham Bounds is an important step in resolving your case. Our years of experience successfully handling car accident cases can be instrumental in our helping you with yours.
Contact us at Cunningham Bounds immediately if you have been involved in an accident caused by poor road conditions. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (251) 299-0101.