In some cases, when an accident happens on the roadway, a motorist will look to another driver, themselves, or poor weather conditions as the reason for the crash. In other cases, the actual reason for the car accident may be the road itself. Roadways require regular maintenance, or they may contribute to the cause of an accident. If you suffered injuries in an accident resulting from defects on the roadways, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to learn how a Los Angeles roadway design and defect lawyer can help you understand your legal rights.
Types of Roadway Defects
The following are some types of identifiable design flaws or roadway defects that can contribute to a serious accident:
- Debris in the roadway
- Shoulder drop-offs or lack of shoulder
- Inadequate or insufficient warning of shoulder changes
- Malfunctioning warning signs or signals
- Inadequate warning signs or signals
- Poorly designed construction zones
- Road construction hazards and dangers
- Inadequate warning of upcoming roadway work
- Inadequate or insufficient notification of impending work conditions or road conditions
- Malfunctioning or inadequate street lights
- Inadequate or missing line stripes, edge lines, or highway division
- Inadequate median
- Dangerous intersections due to poor design
- Defects in bridges or tunnels
- Poorly designed or inadequate guardrails
- Trees, overgrowth, or other vegetation blocking signs or views of the roadway
Other road design defects or hazardous road conditions may occur as well. When a defect leads to an accident, you may have a case for compensation if you suffered severe injuries in an accident related to a defect in the road.
Negligent Road Design and Maintenance
There is not one singular entity in charge of designing, building, and maintaining the roadways in the United States. Rather, several different organizations, both private and public, continue their involvement in the design, maintenance, and even ownership of roadways. These entities can even change over time, or a singular roadway can change ownership from a city, state, or different municipality within a few feet or miles. In some cases, the exact same road that runs in opposite directions may receive maintenance by two different governmental entities.
If a car accident occurs due to a defectively maintained—or defectively designed—roadway, a victim may struggle to determine which appropriate government agency to file a claim against. A Los Angeles roadway design and defect lawyer can help you determine your legal rights based on your specific situation.
For a free legal consultation with a roadway design and defect accidents lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Government Duty and Negligence
In California, the government that owns and maintains a roadway has a duty to maintain the road to prevent accidents. Courts apply a “reasonableness” standard in order to judge and determine the extent of that legal duty imposed on governments. A city or municipality may have the duty to exercise “reasonable care” in the design and maintenance of their roadways in order to ensure that motorists and passengers are not injured as a direct result of improper roadway design or roadway defects.
The legal definition of “reasonable care” depends on the facts and circumstances of every individual case, including the roadway defect and the accident that occurred. In some cases, the concept of duty and possible negligence filter through what federal and state regulations deem appropriate, as well as current established standards for the roadways, such as regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.
Los Angeles Roadway Design and Defect Accidents Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Unlike other personal injury cases that involve a claim against a private person or company, roadway design and defect cases involving injuries and losses typically involve a victim bringing a claim against a government entity, such as a city, county, or state. Public entities remain insulated from lawsuits under California’s Government Code, Chapter 2, Article 1, Dangerous Conditions of Public Property [830 – 840.6].
Unless there is a specific law that allows a victim to sue a governmental agency, the victim will not have the legal right to file a claim. While the state of California and other city and municipalities may attempt to use the defense of immunity, a victim has legal rights to file a claim against a government entity if reckless government conduct, in which the government entity knew or should have known that their actions or failure to act regarding a road design or defect caused a hazard or danger to motorists.
Challenges of Building a Roadway Design and Defect Case
There are several challenges regarding building a roadway design and defect case.
A Claim Against a Government Entity
Governments may claim sovereign immunity. The process involved in filing a case against a government entity will contain unique rules and deadlines.
Proving the Roadway Is Dangerous or Defective
Not only does a victim have to file a claim against a government entity—which is difficult—but the victim must also have evidence that the roadway was dangerous due to the negligence of the government to maintain or design the roads properly. For example, in some cases, a city or municipality may argue that it originally built the road according to the established and accepted standards.
Some roadway design and defect cases will necessitate an expert witness that can speak directly to the roadway defect, applicable standards, and design flaws. Additionally, an expert witness can speak to the historical accidents that occurred on that same section of the roadway.
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How a Los Angeles Roadway Design and Defect Lawyer May Help
Consider contacting Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444. You can learn how a Los Angeles roadway design and defect lawyer may help you with your personal injury claim against a government entity following a car accident resulting from a roadway design or defect.