Who is Liable For A Defective Roadway?
A defective roadway can cause or aggravate a car, bicycle or motorcycle accident, resulting in severe injuries or even death to unwary drivers. Numerous possible roadway defects include the following:
- Obstructed, faded or knocked over stop signs
- Poorly graded roadways
- Improperly marked construction zones
- Inadequate guardrails
- Snow and ice accumulation
State and municipal governments have an obligation to provide safely designed, built, and maintained roads, highways, and intersections. When they fail to do so, they have violated this obligation and may be held liable.
The government, however, is not the only entity that may be liable for a defective roadway. The planning, design, construction, and maintenance of roads and highways involve a number of private companies. Civil engineers and architects may be liable for defective design in a road or bridge. Construction companies may have improperly built, maintained or repaired a road or highway, or may have used sub-standard building materials, resulting in a dangerous defect.
Even when an accident is your fault, unsafe road conditions or defectively designed or maintained roads can make the accident far more dangerous.
When an accident involves a defective roadway, it is important to conduct a professional investigation promptly to determine who is liable. This investigation should be done as soon as possible to collect evidence of the defects before they are corrected, i.e., before potholes are filled in, trees are trimmed, signs replaced or repositioned, and other repairs made to the roadway.
Defective roadway cases are very difficult to prove, and therefore should be handled only by law firms with demonstrated experience. Additionally, technical experts frequently play an important role in analyzing the evidence and building a strong case.