Who May Be Liable for an Accident Involving Dangerous Road Hazards?
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Jan 27, 2020 in Auto Accident
Portland is full of dangerous road conditions, from gaping potholes and uneven pavement to malfunctioning traffic lights and overgrown vegetation. What can you do if one of these hazards causes you to have a serious accident, and who may be liable for the damages?
An experienced auto accident lawyer at Rizk Law are prepared to investigate and help you to determine who may be liable. We offer a free initial consultation to review the circumstances of your accident, and you pay nothing to retain our services. We only collect payment if we first obtain compensation for you.
Establishing Road Conditions Were the Cause of Your Accident
When hazardous road conditions cause a car accident, you may have a claim against the government or local entity responsible for maintaining and repairing the road.
The first step – and one of the most challenging – is establishing not only which agency or third party is responsible for the road maintenance, but also that it failed in its duty to reasonably maintain safe road conditions, and that the hazardous condition caused your injuries.
Here are some steps you can take to help link your accident to the pothole or other road defect:
- Contact the police or 9-1-1 to report the crash and ensure that law enforcement creates an official record of your accident. Tell the responding officer about the defect that caused your accident to make sure it gets included in the police report.
- Accurately document the location of the road hazard and any other conditions that may have contributed to your accident
- If you can do so safely, take pictures of the vehicle damage, road defect, accident scene, road debris and other landmarks that can help investigators to locate the hazard later.
- Gather the contact details of any eyewitnesses who may have seen the crash.
- File a claim with your insurance provider.
- Contact a personal injury attorney for a free car accident legal consultation.
Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of these legal elements of negligence and, if your case has merit, we can help you gather the evidence you need to establish a compelling argument.
Possible Causes of Dangerous Road Conditions
There are numerous causes for dangerous road conditions, ranging from bad weather to poor road design and cheap construction materials. Common road defects and dangerous conditions that can contribute to a car crash, include:
- Damaged or hidden road signs
- Cracks in the road surface
- Road debris
- Missing guardrails
- Road shoulder drop-off
- Faded paint markings on the road
- Untreated roads during winter weather
- Poor traffic management in construction zones
Determining Who May Be Liable
All contributing factors of an accident must be considered before any investigator, adjuster or attorney can accurately determine who may be responsible for your accident.
However, these are some of the parties that may share liability for your crash:
- The government entity responsible for maintaining the road
- A construction company working on the road
- The manufacturer that made a defective stop light
- A truck that dropped debris on the roadway
How to Gather Evidence and Bring a Claim
In addition to calling law enforcement, taking pictures at the scene and speaking to witnesses at the time of your accident, it is important to gather other evidence after the accident that can help strengthen your claim, including:
- Surveillance footage – Nearby businesses or traffic cameras may have video recordings of the accident. Note any cameras that you observe so your personal injury lawyer can investigate them later.
- Medical records – If you were injured, be sure to seek immediate medical attention and maintain all original medical records.
- Keep a journal of your injuries and carefully document how they affect your daily activities, quality of life and how the healing progresses.
As your claim progresses, you and your personal injury lawyer may be able to obtain additional information to support your claim, such as:
- Survey records – Governments may complete periodic surveys of the roads. These documents may show if the government was aware of a problem and whether there is a history of other accidents on the road.
- Vehicle repairs – The location of damage to your vehicle may help establish how the accident impacted your vehicle and your repair bills will show your damages.
- Lost wages – Keep employment records that show wages you lost due to your injuries.
How an Attorney Can Help
At Rizk Law, we have the staff and resources to fully manage your case, handle all communication with the insurance companies and any other third parties, and protect your legal rights throughout the legal process.
We offer a free, no-obligation car accident consultation so that we can review your potential claim and answer your legal questions. Contact us today to get started.