If roads are not routinely inspected and maintained, dangerous potholes can develop, posing a serious risk to everyone who shares the road. State and local governments are typically responsible for building and maintaining roads. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by a pothole, you could potentially seek compensation from the entity responsible for the road’s upkeep.
It’s important to note that pursuing an injury claim against a government entity is often different than a regular injury claim. There are specific laws that may come into play in your case, including the North Carolina Tort Claims Act, Public Duty Doctrine, or the Sovereign or Governmental Immunity Doctrine. If you believe that your injuries were caused by a government entity’s negligence, be sure to hire an attorney with specific experience handling these types of cases.
At DeMayo Law Offices, LLP, our Charlotte car accident lawyers have extensive experience helping people who’ve been hurt due to potholes and other dangerous road defects get justice. We have the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to handle your case. Contact DeMayo Law Offices, LLP at (704) 333-1000 for a no-obligation case review with a member of our team today.
What is a Road Defect Accident?
Negligent drivers are the most common cause of car accidents in the United States, but what about negligent behavior from a government or road construction crew? Road defects are flaws in roads, streets, highways, or construction sites that do not meet the standards of what would be considered a reasonably safe roadway.
A road defect accident is any collision or crash caused by one of these flaws. When negligent behavior on the part of an agency leads to flaws in a roadway, that organization may be held accountable for accidents caused by the defect.
Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that you can hold certain entities — even your own insurance company — responsible for compensation following a road defect accident. Many people chalk the accident up to “bad luck” or “poor road conditions” and end up paying for medical bills or car repairs out of their own pockets.
The truth is, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, property damage, and lost income following a road defect case. Curious about how you can recover compensation following a road defect collision? Contact the legal team at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP for more information and to schedule a free case review.
Common Charlotte Road Defects
Potholes are one of the most common types of road defects. Whether they are caused by wear-and-tear, a poor-quality concrete mix, or bad weather conditions such as extreme thawing and freezing, potholes are dangerous defects. They are dangerous because they can cause significant and expensive damage to a vehicle and can contribute to serious crashes.
Regrettably, potholes are not the only common road defect that can lead to accidents. Serious accidents can also be the result of poor planning and poor execution when it comes to road design and construction projects. Some of the more common types of road defects that can pose a danger to motorists include:
- Uneven lanes or poorly painted lanes
- Inadequate road shoulders
- Missing or improper road signs
- Malfunctioning traffic lights
- Poor lighting on roadways
- Inadequate safety features on roads, such as a lack of guardrails or barriers
- Overgrown vegetation that obstructs lights or signs
- Road debris
- Poorly executed construction work
- Poor drainage leading to standing water issues
Road defects may be the result of poor infrastructure maintenance, or they can be caused by inadequate planning. Examples of poor infrastructure maintenance may include potholes, overgrown vegetation obstructing views or signs, and crumbling road shoulders. Poor or inadequate safety planning could include the lack of a guardrail on a dangerous curve or stretch of roadway. No matter the cause, the result is still the same: Lives are put at risk because driving conditions are not reasonably safe.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Road Defect Accident?
What makes road defect cases so unique is that many different parties may bear responsibility for the circumstances that led to your accident. In standard car collisions, either one or both parties are to blame. A straightforward investigation usually results in a swift conclusion, and responsibility for the accident will be assigned to each party.
However, in accidents involving road defects, there are a number of parties that could be held accountable depending on the type of road and the circumstances surrounding it. In general, liability for a road defect accident may be placed on any one of the following parties:
- City or local government
- State government
- Federal government
- Public agency
- Private construction firm
- Private landscaping business
- Auto insurance provider
In some situations, more than one party may be at fault for the road defect, further complicating a road defect claim.
Road defect claims are also significantly more complex than other types of accident cases because holding any type of government agency accountable for its actions is difficult. In addition to strong evidence supporting the argument that a road defect was responsible for causing an accident, there are some doctrines in place that give governments immunity from certain types of lawsuits. Third-parties working under government contracts don’t have the same legal protections, and it may be possible to hold them accountable for an accident as well.
Victims of road defect accidents may also turn to an insurance provider for compensation. However, dealing with an insurance adjuster isn’t always easy. Without the proper evidence and tactics, you may not get all the money you deserve. Strong evidence is needed to support your claim that a road defect was to blame for your situation.
An attorney can help gather that evidence, build a strong claim, and negotiate aggressively with an insurance adjuster to make sure you get what you deserve and aren’t being short-changed by the system.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and you believe a road defect is to blame, getting an attorney to review your case is the best way to determine who can be held liable for your injuries. The legal team at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP has seasoned attorneys on staff who know how to thoroughly investigate road defect cases and build a solid claim for damages. At DeMayo Law Offices, LLP, we also have extensive experience working within Charlotte and North Carolina laws and can advise you on how to get the most positive outcome for your circumstances.
Steps to Take After a Road Defect Accident
Like any other type of accident, there are certain steps you should take to ensure you have all the information you need to file a claim. However, additional information is very beneficial to collect if you suspect that a road defect played a significant role in your accident. These guidelines can help you gather that crucial information:
- Call law enforcement or emergency services – There is no case if you aren’t around to fight for it. If you or someone else is seriously injured, get medical help immediately. Even if your injuries seem minor and you don’t need an ambulance, make sure you follow up with your physician. Something that seems small can turn into a major medical problem.
- Collect contact information – Gather the contact and insurance information of any other drivers involved in the accident. It is also important to try and gather the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Document everything – If you are physically able, especially in road defect claims, document as much information about the accident as possible. This includes taking pictures of the crash, damage to your vehicle, and the road defect you believe caused the crash. Also, try to take pictures of the surrounding environment, guardrails, signs, and skid marks. You also need to document exactly where the accident happened, the road’s name, and any nearby landmarks. Keep photos and records of your injuries as well.
- Contact your insurance provider – Let your insurance provider know you’ve been in an accident. Only mention facts.
- Contact an attorney – In a road defect case, it is important to have an attorney backing you up. Contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance at recovering the compensation you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Charlotte Road Defect Attorney for Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a road defect accident, don’t play the guessing game. Let the experienced team at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP review your case and help you determine who should be held accountable for your injuries. We want to help you secure the maximum amount of compensation for your case so you have the financial ability to move on from this traumatic event.
Contact the skilled trial lawyers at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP for more information on how we can help you recover the compensation you need following a road defect accident. We offer victims of these types of accidents a no-obligation consultation to review your case and lay out your legal options. Call us at (704) 333-1000 to schedule your free case review today.
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