Some car, truck or motorcycle accidents, even single vehicle accidents, can be the result of more than just the negligence of one or more drivers. Sometimes, the accident is partly due to the existence of a dangerous public road condition. Whenever a collision occurs and it appears to be due partly, or totally, due to a dangerous road condition, the injured person has a short timeframe to investigate the dangerous condition, file a claim against the government entity responsible for the dangerous condition and then to file a lawsuit for financial recovery.
Once you hire a skilled California attorney for a personal injury claim due to a dangerous public roadway, the attorney is obligated to make sure all the steps are taken to protect your rights against the public entity, and to vigorously pursue proper financial recovery through settlement or court.
What is Considered a Dangerous Public Road Condition?
There are many different types of dangerous conditions on California roadways and highways. Dangerous conditions could be due to the way the roadway was designed and constructed or the signage installed. California has many rules and regulations that govern the manner in which the roads are to be constructed, including such things as highway slopes, angles of off ramps, curves in the roadway, visibility impediments, etc. Sometimes common-sense rules and designs are passed over for other designs that make the road inherently unsafe. Construction means or methods can be deficient, and the result is circumstances where the road collects excessive water on its surface, making it unsafe during a rainstorm.
For serious accidents, looking for a possible government contribution to the collision may be the only way to secure sufficient compensation for a serious injury.
Other types of dangerous conditions can arise well after construction of the road is completed. Once a roadway is constructed, the government agency is responsible for maintaining the roadway in a safe condition for the intended use.
Consider the following circumstances and contributing factors to an accident. A motorcycle or car strikes a large pothole causing the motorcyclist or vehicle to lose control resulting in death, brain damage, paralysis or some other serious injury. An improperly identified construction zone allows a vehicle to enter the construction area and strike a construction worker or construction vehicle. An intersection controlled by a stop sign that has been covered with overgrowth and the paint on the road has faded thereby leaving the unsuspected driver to enter cross-traffic. A driver enters a roadway that has been damaged from erosion over time resulting in the collapse of the roadway edge, or a sinkhole that swallows up a vehicle.
These are just a few possibilities of dangerous public road conditions that could lead to a government claim to add to the potential recovery for a seriously injured individual.
Keys to Successful Public Dangerous or Defective Road Claims
The number one mistake that can be made that compromises financial recovery due to a defective road condition is the failure to take immediate action after the accident. A government claim for a defective road condition claim which results in injuries MUST BE BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE PROPER GOVERNMENT AGENCY WITHIN SIX MONTHS OF THE DATE OF INJURY. While there are limited exceptions to this rule, there is no excuse to wait to the point where you lose the right to get properly compensated.
Next, is the failure to hire the right attorney. You must seek out and hire an experienced personal injury attorney that has the means to secure all the information to identify the injury causing defective condition, to evaluate the potential government claim and then can aggressively pursue the claim for proper compensation. Make no mistake, these cases are hard fought, expensive and potentially complicated, involving engineers, contractors, and other experts to establish liability.
If possible, secure some of the evidentiary information early. Take photographs or videos before the evidence of the dangerous condition quickly disappears. If you are too seriously injured to take photographs on your own of the dangerous public road condition, send someone to the scene of the collision and have them take photographs and video of the area.
Also, explain the circumstances of the collision to local law enforcement and ask them to take photographs of the scene of the collision. By obtaining early photo documentation, you can preserve and protect the information you need to prove the dangerous condition of the public road. If a government agency recognizes that liability might be imposed on it, the responsible government agency may take quick action to remove the apparent defective condition. Thus, an inspection performed at a later date might not disclose the injury causing defective public road condition.
Report the accident to local law enforcement and insist that a report be made. Provide as much information as possible about the accident’s location, its cause and any injuries sustained. If there are any witnesses, be sure to get their names and contact information. (Experience has shown that an injury victim should not exclusively rely on law enforcement to get the names of all witnesses and information. Many mistakes are made in the accident investigation and witnesses are either not interviewed or the contact information is wrong.)
Any accident causing injury requires medical attention. Go to an emergency room, or see your doctor or specialist immediately to protect your health and to document the nature and extent of the injuries suffered.
Be aware some injuries do not show up immediately. Beware of those hidden injuries such as mild traumatic brain injuries, internal organ injuries and soft tissue injuries. These may not immediately show up, but they may plague you for years after the collision.
If you have a case that warrants a claim against a government agency or another individual, a good attorney can assist you in finding the right physicians to help you get the medical care you need even if you do not have insurance to pay for the medical expenses.
Statistical Information on the Condition of California Public Roadways
Did you know that about 1 in 10 U.S. roads are in poor condition, but urban roads are even worse: 1 in 5 are in poor condition.
California ranks as one of the worst states for the worst roads, with 44% of the roads deemed to be in poor condition.
Collectively in the Riverside-San Bernardino Counties, 40% of the roads are in poor condition, with 38% are in mediocre condition, with only 9% listed as in good condition. In Los Angeles County, 57% are in poor condition and 22% are in mediocre condition. See CA Transportation by the Numbers TRIP Report
The California Department of Transportation manages 50,000 miles of roadways. This does not include roadways maintained by counties and cities.
In 2016, traffic crashes in which a roadway feature was likely a contributing factor, resulted in $9.8 billion in economic costs.
Riverside-San Bernardino Counties saw 16,123 persons injured or killed in traffic related events in 2019 alone.
If your vehicle was damaged from a defective roadway maintained by the California Department of Transportation, and the amount is less than $10,000, you can submit a claim form LD-0274 with the California Department of Transportation. If your claim exceeds $10,000, you must utilize a different procedure to file your claim. You should consult an attorney if the claim exceeds $10,000.
These statistics show that there is a real possibility, that anyone who uses the roads in the Inland Empire, or in California generally, may come across a situation where they will need a lawyer to address a personal injury claim from a defective or dangerous condition, or just the negligence of another driver.
Have You Been in an Accident Due to a Defect in Public Property, From a Dangerous Condition of Public Property or the Negligence of Another?
If you believe you, or someone you know, was injured in an accident due to a dangerous condition of public property, or from the negligence of another, get the case reviewed by a skilled personal injury attorney. If one attorney rejects the claim, ask several others for their opinion and interest in your case. Just because one attorney rejects the claim does not mean you do not have a viable case. Some lawyers are less risk adverse while others do not know what to look for in a proper government claim.
If this article has been helpful to you, and you have a potential California dangerous road condition case, or any other time of motor vehicle accident case, please contact the INLAND EMPIRE LAW GROUP at 909-481-0100. You will receive a thorough and effective evaluation of your injury accident to see if you have a claim against a government agency, or against some other negligent individual or company.
The time you spend with us in reviewing your case does not cost you anything and you will receive a straightforward response without any pressure. We think our professionalism and integrity will convince you our firm is the right firm for you without us using any sales tricks or undo pressure.
Contact Our Inland Empire Personal Injury Lawyer Today!
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Reach out to us online through this website, or call our office at 909-481-0100 or toll-free at 888-694-3529. We are here to help those who have been injured in an accident that is the fault of another. We believe in our firm motto, that at the INLAND EMPIRE LAW GROUP, every personal injury case is personal to us.