The majority of car accidents are caused by negligence. While this usually involves the negligence of at least one driver, there are other parties who could share blame for a crash without being anywhere near the accident scene. For example, a wrong-way driver may cause an accident because of a missing or poorly placed sign, or hitting a pothole may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. It’s important to understand who is liable for the costs of injuries and property damage in these cases.
Liability for Car Accidents Caused by Road Defects
Injuries can happen as a result of spilled gravel, uneven road surfaces, broken concrete, missing guardrails, or even because a roadway is not capable of supporting the flow of traffic. A thorough investigation can determine whether poor road conditions caused the accident or made the injuries in the collision worse. These cases are typically more complex than other car accident injury claims due to:
Roads are maintained by many different entities, including cities, counties, states, and private contractors—and in some cases, a single stretch of road may have several different parties responsible for maintenance. The state might be responsible for paving the roads, while the city may be tasked with snow removal. Your attorney will have to examine the incident carefully to determine what, specifically, led to the incident and who’s liable.
Once it is determined who is responsible for designing or maintaining the road, it falls to the victim to prove that the agency was negligent. In particular, the negligent party must have known that the problem existed, had a reasonable opportunity to fix it, and failed to warn drivers or take the proper steps to ensure safety.
Many governmental agencies (including states and the federal government) are immune from personal injury lawsuits. If the government is liable, victims must claim compensation through an administrative claims process, which may have shorter filing deadlines and mandatory claim notices.
Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?
If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help accident victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.