If you have been involved in an accident that you believe was caused by the conditions of the road, it can be challenging to file a claim for your losses. The burden of proof is placed on the injury victim to show that the poorly maintained road was the actual cause of your accident.
For example, if you hit a large pothole in the road and it causes the steering wheel to jerk out of your hands, and you hit the guardrail because you lost control of the vehicle, you would have a valid claim.
However, if you hit this same pothole while you are taking a drink and the jerking motion causes the drink to spill, which causes you to let go of the wheel, and then you hit the guardrail, the road conditions were not the cause of the accident.
Icy roads will not count as a dangerous road condition unless it can be shown that the responsible party knew that the roads were this bad and had failed to provide any ice management to make them safe. In most cases, acts of nature will not count as hazardous road.
You will have to prove unconditionally that the damaged road was 100 percent the reason for your accident.
Who Do You Sue For Damages In This Type of Case?
The first thing that will have to be done is to determine who is responsible for the repair of the road. It may be the local municipality, the county, the state, or the federal government. If it was on a toll road, it might belong to a private road authority group.
If you can sue for damages will depend on the entity that is responsible. Some local, state and federal laws may prevent you from taking action against the government. If you can sue for damages, you may be required to formally file a Notice of Claim against the government office prior to filing a lawsuit.
There are many things involved in trying to make a monetary recovery from a government office. It will be in your best interest to speak with an attorney about this type of legal action.
It Is All About The Evidence
If you have an accident that is caused by a hazardous road condition like a pothole, it will be important to gather evidence right away. You will want to take pictures of the area where it happened and of the pothole or dangerous road condition.
It would be preferable to take the pictures at the time of the accident or on the same day so that you can show the weather conditions and the state of the road. You should also take pictures of the surrounding area to show that there were no road signs warning of these hazardous conditions.
You will also have to gather evidence to show that the responsible party knew or should have known that the road was in this state of disrepair and had not acted promptly to correct these actions. This may require legal actions to gain records relating to road crew work.
Gather any names of witnesses to your accident and any other information that you may find helpful for your case. Since these cases can be very challenging to file and to prove, it will always be in your best interest to work with an attorney.