Potholes can cause more than just damage to a vehicle, they could also cause severe or fatal injury accidents. Potholes are unfortunately common road defects. If a road defect is the root cause of a serious accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage.
If you or someone you care about has been involved in a serious accident caused by a road defect, you may not have to pay for damages out of your own pocket. Victims hurt in road defect accidents do have legal rights and may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries. The legal team at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP has experience handling road defect cases and can help guide you through the process of filing a claim. It can be complicated trying to determine who is liable in a road defect case.
The North Carolina car accident lawyers at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP have the resources to investigate the circumstances of the accident and determine the negligent party to blame for the dangerous road conditions that caused your collision. If you believe that a road defect was to blame for your accident, contact the office of DeMayo Law Offices, LLP today. Call (877) 333-1000 to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation and let us help you go after the compensation you deserve.
What is a Road Defect and How Can it Cause an Accident?
Road defects are issues with any part of a road, street, highway, or construction site that do not meet the standards of what would be considered a safe roadway. A road defect result from poor infrastructure maintenance, poor road conditions, or poor logistical planning. Road defects that result from poor maintenance can include damage to roads, streets, guard rails, or construction sites that pose dangers to motorists.
Road defects lead to accidents because these defects pose safety hazards to motorists. If a stop sign is overgrown with vegetation because of a lack of proper maintenance, a driver may miss the sign and cause a serious accident. An inadequately installed, broken, or missing guardrail could mean that a car slipping on an icy spot takes a plunge over a bridge. Many serious accidents can happen as a result of poor road maintenance or a flaw in the road’s design.
Types of Common Defects on North Carolina Roads
Potholes are some of the most common road defects that drivers encounter, though they are not the only defects that can pose a danger to North Carolina motorists. Some of the most common types of road defects include:
- Uneven lanes
- Unsafe road design
- Inadequate road shoulders
- Poor road construction
- Missing or improper road signs
- Malfunctioning traffic lights
- Inadequate lighting
- Inadequate safety features such as a lack of guardrails
- Overgrown vegetation that obstructs lights or signs
- Road debris
- Poor drainage leading to standing water issues
Defects can happen in several different ways. A defect may result from a lack of proper roadway maintenance by a government or an independent contractor. These types of defects can include overgrown vegetation obstructing signs, potholes, road debris, even pools of standing water caused by poor or blocked drainage. Other road defects such as inadequate lighting, uneven lanes, and a lack of crosswalks or guardrails are the result of defective road design.
In either case, a road defect can lead to an accident with serious repercussions for the victim.
Who is Liable for a Road Defect Claim?
A road defect accident is unlike other types of car accidents. It can be much more complicated to pursue a road defect claim as opposed to a standard accident claim. Why? It’s because in road defect cases, the root cause of the accident is about the condition of the road itself, not just the behavior of the drivers. It can be relatively easy to point the finger at a negligent driver for talking on the phone or drinking alcohol, but it is much more difficult to prove negligence by a government agency or contractor.
Identifying the source of liability for a road defect claim can take intensive investigation because several different parties may have been responsible for contributing to the conditions that led to the accident. In general, liability for a road defect claim may fall on one or more of the following parties:
- City or local government
- State government
- Federal government
- Public agency
- Private construction firm
- Private landscaping business
The location of the accident, the type of defect at play, as well as a variety of other factors may all play a role in determining exactly who is at fault for the circumstances that led to your accident. In fact, depending on the situation, more than one party may be responsible for the conditions that caused the accident.
If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by a road defect, your best course of action is contacting an experienced attorney to review your case. A skilled attorney will have the knowledge and the resources to be able to investigate the circumstances of your collision.
An attorney can also identify the parties responsible for the road defect and help you hold them accountable for their negligent actions. The best way to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve is to hire an attorney with the experience to hold powerful agencies responsible for their actions.
Do I Need an Attorney to Pursue a Road Defect Claim?
Yes. You absolutely need the experience that a road defect attorney can provide if you are going to move forward with pursuing a road defect claim. Road defect cases can be very complicated and extremely difficult depending on the party that is responsible for the defect. It can be notoriously difficult to hold a government agency accountable for the dangerous road conditions they contributed to creating.
The government has teams of lawyers and representatives at their disposal to help them fight claims that could cost them money. In many cases they will resort to tactics that chip away at your case, cast doubt on the seriousness of the defect itself, absolve themselves of creating the problem in the first place, or direct the blame for the accident onto you.
Any driver involved in a road defect accident should strongly consider getting an attorney on their side immediately following a serious accident. An attorney will be able to protect your rights and help you navigate the complicated process of filing a claim, either with your insurance company or filing a lawsuit against the negligent party responsible. Successful claims require strong supporting evidence. An attorney has the power to track down critical paperwork, records, and evidence that can help validate your claim.
Steps to Take After a Road Defect Accident
Road defect accidents vary slightly from other types of car accidents. While there are common steps that you need to take in the event of any accident, there are additional notes you should make if you suspect a road defect. These additional notations can help substantiate your claim that a road defect was the root cause of your collision. If you are involved in a serious car accident, try to remain calm and follow these helpful suggestions:
- Call law enforcement or emergency services – This is a must if there are serious injuries involved in the crash and victims are in need of medical attention.
- Collect contact information – Collect the contact information of other drivers involved and witnesses to the accident.
- Document everything – If you are physically able it is important, especially in road defect claims, to document as much as you can about the accident. You should take as many pictures as possible from different angles of the crash, the damage to your car, and the road itself. Take photos of potholes, an obstructed sign, or any sign of damage or defects to the road. Make sure you also document the name of the road and nearby landmarks.
- Contact your insurance provider – You may wish to contact your insurance provider following the accident. Stick to the facts when talking to insurance adjusters.
- Contact an attorney – Securing legal representation is the best way for you to secure your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve.
How Can a North Carolina Road Defect Attorney Help?
Both private firms and the government are responsible for maintaining roadways and creating a safe environment for North Carolina motorists. When they fail to uphold that responsibility and it causes a serious accident, they should be held accountable. Should you be on the hook financially for an accident that was caused by another’s improper maintenance and negligence? At DeMayo Law Offices, LLP we don’t think so. That isn’t justice.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a road defect accident, contact the attorneys with DeMayo Law Offices, LLP for help getting the compensation you need. Schedule a no-obligation case consultation by calling (877) 333-1000 today.
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