Poor road conditions can lead to car accidents resulting in extensive car damage or serious and fatal injuries. Potholes, missing guard rails, broken or missing speed limit signs, oil spills, ice or snow-covered roads, and construction work on roadways can create hazardous conditions that lead to car accidents.
Liability in Car Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions
Determining fault for a car accident caused by poor road conditions can be tricky. In most cases, federal, state, or local government bodies are responsible for maintaining and repairing interstates, highways, byways, and local roads. The tricky part comes in defining the government’s duty to keep the roads reasonably safe. Determining what is reasonable leaves a large area for interpretation. For this reason, it is imperative to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer that is familiar with these laws.
The government agency in charge of a road’s maintenance and repair must be aware of any disrepair or dangerous conditions before they can be held liable for damage or injury resulting from poor road conditions. These agencies determine hazardous road conditions through regular inspections and from motorists that report a dangerous condition. The government may not be held liable if they were unaware that a problem existed before an accident occurred. If the agency was irresponsible in conducting routine inspections, or if they took an unreasonable amount of time to respond to reports of a hazardous condition, they could be held liable for damages or injuries caused by an accident due to poor road conditions.
The plaintiff in a lawsuit of this nature must also prove that their damages or injuries were caused directly by the hazardous conditions. This can be difficult to prove in cases where damage or injury are not immediately determined. For instance, a passenger vehicle that hits a pothole may not immediately notice that their front-end alignment was damaged by the impact. It may be difficult to prove that the pothole was the direct cause of the damage if the plaintiff takes the vehicle in for repair later.
To further complicate the process, most government agencies have sovereign or governmental immunity, which means they are immune from being sued. There are exceptions to this immunity, one being for accidents caused by government negligence in repairing and maintaining roadways. An experienced car accident lawyer familiar with the laws in South Carolina can help determine if an exception applies.
What To Do If You Suffer Damage or Injury
If you encounter poor road conditions that lead to an accident, vehicle damage, or personal injury, it’s important to follow certain procedures to help you claim compensation. First, report all incidents, even those that appear to be minor. An official report will help substantiate your future claim. Next, take down pertinent information, such as the exact location of the incident, which direction you were traveling, what weather or road conditions existed at the time of the incident, the names of any businesses or landmarks near the scene, and the names and contact information of any witnesses.
There are strict statutes of limitations pertaining to this type of claim. Filing your incident report and contacting an experienced car accident lawyer should be done as soon as possible. Pictures of damages and the scene of the accident or hazardous road condition are also helpful when submitting your claim.
South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims of Poor Road Conditions Claim Compensation
If you or someone you know has been injured or has sustained damage to your vehicle due to poor road conditions, contact the experienced South Carolina car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. With six office locations in South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.