Who is Responsible for Damage Caused by Poor Road Conditions?
The constantly changing weather the tri-state area has experienced this winter has caused the formation of a seemingly endless number of pothole- and crack-filled roads, as well as icy and wet conditions. Encounters with poorly maintained roads can cause serious and expensive damage to a person’s car and can result in injury in some cases. Potholes can be left so deep that they can cause front-end damage to a car, and icy or wet roads can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle.
The one held accountable for these damages is dependent upon who is responsible for maintaining the road itself, and this can vary among the city, county, or state and the responsibility can even be shared. Those injured due to improper maintenance of a road do have the right to sue the governmental agency responsible for that road’s upkeep. However, these claims can be difficult to pursue, as there are many laws that allow the agency a reasonable amount of time to discover damage and repair a road.
In order to make a claim, it is imperative that you:
- Understand which government agency is responsible for maintaining the road or resolving the relevant condition
- Show the government knew about the poor road condition
- Show the government should have known about the poor condition
- Request survey records to show that the government knew about the condition and whether anyone else has filed a claim regarding the same issue
In most cases, the government will not be held responsible if it had not yet discovered the dangerous condition. However, there are some cases in which the government should have discovered, such as when the condition has been around a long time and locals and frequent users of that road have already made complaints. Under these circumstances, there is a better chance that someone making a claim will receive compensation for the damages suffered.
Before making a claim, it is important that at the time the damage occurred you record information including:
- Location of the condition (i.e. road name, nearby businesses, direction traveled etc.)
- The type of poor road condition such as a pothole, lack of guardrail, etc. and the scope of the condition
- Names and contact information of witnesses
If you have suffered damages to your car or your person as the result of an improperly maintained roadway and are considering making a claim, it is important to contact an experienced attorney. Our New Jersey car accident injury lawyers are experienced in these complicated personal injury matters. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 1-833-RINALDO.