Like any other state, Pennsylvania’s roads and highways need ongoing repairs and upkeep to maintain their safety. Although there is federal funding, every state has a specific budget that is set for ongoing, necessary maintenance, repair work, and construction. Even though taxes are used for road work, it is difficult to keep up with the constant need for repairs. In addition to the roadways deteriorating with usage and time, snow and ice can cause potholes, which can damage and destroy vehicles.
Aside from potholes, other unsafe conditions that are out of the driver’s control can cause accidents. Broken traffic signals or old and unreadable traffic signs may lead to driver confusion and resultant crashes. If a road surface is uneven or concrete is broken, or if debris is not removed, motorists can be at risk.
State, county, and city governments are responsible for maintaining certain roads, but they are not liable for every accident caused by poor conditions. For example, if a flash flood suddenly occurs, it may not be possible for a road to be closed off immediately to prevent cars from driving through.
The government is given a reasonable period to respond to the situation. Once they are informed of poor road conditions, they should take steps to address the situation. Conditions can be reported through regular roadway inspections, or by an individual. If the government is unaware of the hazard, they may not be responsible for any resulting damage.
In cases where a dangerous road or highway was reported to the government and not addressed, there may be a case for liability. Also, there could be liability if it was present for a long period of time and should have been discovered during a regular inspection. It is also important to note that road and highway repairs take time, especially large and complex ones. Extenuating circumstances, such as hurricanes and snowstorms, can cause emergency situations, where government agencies cannot respond in a timely manner.
Government Claims versus Other Legal Claims
Like any other motor vehicle accident, the victim should first attend to any injuries, see if there are witnesses, and obtain their contact information. Next, they should record the name of the road, the exact location, and a thorough description of the road hazard. They should also note which direction the vehicle was traveling.
Making a legal case against a government agency is different from claims against another driver as there are certain procedures that must be followed. Each state has its own regulations for injury claims, including short filing deadlines and ensuring the claim is submitted to the correct department. The road could be under the jurisdiction of a city, county, or state. For property damage claims, there may be a cap in place that can limit how much compensation is received.
Delaware County Personal Injury Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Victims Injured in Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions
If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident due to poor road conditions, we can help. Our experienced Delaware County personal injury lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. handle every type of car accident case, and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us at 610-565-3701 or complete an online form for a free consultation. With offices located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly represent clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.