In most instances, car accidents are caused by the negligent actions of a driver. When this situation occurs, the driver at fault for the collision is usually responsible for the injuries and damages suffered by others involved in the accident. However, there are times when an accident is caused by poorly maintained roads. This may be due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Missing line markers
- Improper drainage which can cause hydroplaning on wet roads
- Lack of visible road signs
- Malfunctioning traffic signals
- Oil and chip repairs that haven’t been resurfaced in a timely manner
- Road shoulder drop-offs
- Poorly maintained construction zones
- Missing or damaged guardrails
- Failure to plow, salt or de-ice roads in a timely manner during a snow storm
If you are injured due to one of these issues, the government entity responsible for maintaining the road may be held liable for your injuries. However, these cases are often more complex than typical car accident lawsuits. You’ll need to work with an experienced attorney who knows the laws that apply to these cases and who can help you determine the right entity to hold responsible.
What Is the Government’s Responsibility for Maintaining Safe Road Conditions?
Road maintenance and upkeep is one of the responsibilities given to the government. Therefore, the city, county or state government entity that is specifically responsible for addressing issues on the stretch of road where your car accident occurred may be held liable for your damages if the road wasn’t kept reasonably safe. However, the criteria of “reasonably safe” can be subjective and up to interpretation. This often makes lawsuits against the government challenging to win.
You will need to prove two important elements in order to hold the government responsible for your damages:
- The government entity knew about the poorly maintained road (or should reasonably have known about the safety issue)
- The government entity failed to make all necessary repairs in a reasonable amount of time
Filing Your Claim Against a Government Entity
The first step is to determine which government entity was responsible for maintaining the road where your accident occurred. You can usually discover this information by speaking with someone at the county commissioner’s office. If you choose to have Johnson & Biscone handle your case, our attorneys can also help you find out who is responsible for upkeep of the road.
Next, you’ll need to notify the negligent government entity that you’re filing a claim against them. The deadline to file these cases is often very short, so you’ll need to act fast. If you fail to file your claim before the deadline, you may jeopardize your ability to recover the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys will make sure you meet all necessary filing deadlines.
Proving Negligence in a Claim Against the Government
In order to recover compensation for your damages, you’ll need to prove the government entity responsible for upkeep of the road acted negligently in their maintenance duties. The best way to do this is to evaluate government survey records.
Government agencies regularly conduct surveys to evaluate the existence of dangerous road conditions. You can examine these records to find out if the poor road condition that caused your accident had been previously identified and if so, how long the government has known about the problem.
Who Is Liable for My Damages if the Accident Occurred in an Unsafe Construction Zone?
If your car accident occurred in an unsafe construction zone, the construction company may be the party responsible for your damages. In this situation, you would file your lawsuit against the negligent construction company instead of the government entity responsible for maintaining the road.
Our attorneys will carefully investigate your accident to determine whether the construction company or the government is liable for your injuries.
Contact our Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by poorly maintained roads, the attorneys at Johnson & Biscone can help. We’ve been fighting for the rights of injured victims in the Oklahoma City area for over 40 years, and we can provide the aggressive, high-quality legal representation necessary to achieve a successful outcome to this complex case.
Please contact Johnson & Biscone using the form on this page or call 405-232-6490 today to schedule a complimentary consultation. We serve clients in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Norman and the surrounding areas of Oklahoma.