Most car accidents occur because of driver error, whether it is distracted driving, drunk driving, or careless behavior. However, about one-third of all car accidents in the United States happen because of poor road conditions. This includes potholes, unpaved surfaces, improper or missing traffic signs, etc. If you believe your car accident was caused by poor road conditions, who should be held liable?
PennDOT has rated more than half of the state’s roads as fair or poor. The American Society of Civil Engineers graded Pennsylvania with a D- for road quality. Poor road quality can cause car accidents, significant vehicle damage, serious injury, or even death. Some examples of poor road conditions include:
- Potholes: Potholes are formed when the ground beneath the roadway is displaced due to rainfall. They also happen after the winter season when water gets into the cracks of the road and then freezes and expands. Even minor potholes can cause tire or wheel damage. Bigger potholes can cause severe vehicle damage and even cause a driver to lose control and crash.
- Loose debris: With the number of vehicles on the road each day, there is a good chance that cargo or debris will end up on the highway, such as building materials or furniture. These items are hazardous to other drivers and can lead to accidents.
- Cracked asphalt: The summer season can cause asphalt to crack when not maintained properly, which can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle.
- Lack of traffic signage: Proper traffic signs and construction warnings help drivers safely navigate the roads. Poor or missing traffic signs fail to warn drivers of potential hazards, which could lead to a dangerous situation.
- Poor lane markings: Lane markings are used to direct traffic safely when they are used correctly with the proper amount of spacing. If lane markings are incorrect or worn out, they can confuse, and unaware drivers may crash.
Proving Fault When Poor Road Conditions Cause a Car Accident
Although poor road conditions can cause many car accidents, most crashes occur because of driver negligence. This can make determining liability quite difficult, but it is not impossible. Many car accidents involve multiple parties, which could be the case when poor conditions are to blame.
To establish fault, the following must be done:
- Identify the road hazard: The first step is to identify what hazardous condition contributed to the accident, whether it be road debris, unplowed or icy surface, or other dangers.
- Identify what entity is responsible: Various entities deal with road hazards. A big step in proving fault is identifying which entity was responsible for the roadway at the time of your accident. It could be the local county, municipality, or state government. It could be a driver who failed to secure their cargo correctly.
- The hazard must have been prevented: When a dangerous road condition causes an accident, the entity responsible for the roadway must have known about the hazard and given reasonable time to remedy it to be considered liable for the accident.
Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients Injured by Poor Road Conditions
If you have been injured in an accident caused by poor road conditions, speak with our Media car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call us today at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.