Holding Public Entities Accountable for Unsafe Roadways– California Dangerous Road Accident Attorneys
Because California contains many of the most dangerous roadways in America, a substantial number of serious car accidents are caused not only by unsafe drivers but by roadways that are not designed safely or properly maintained. There are many types of collisions that can be caused by hazardous road design or improper maintenance. Approximately twenty percent of all auto accidents involve vehicles that cross over a shoulder and rollover, run off the side of an embankment or crash into a fixed object like a tree or pole. If you are involved in any of these types of collisions, your California car accident attorney must evaluate whether the roadway was a contributing cause to your car accident.
When you are injured in a car accident partially caused by a dangerous roadway, you face special challenges when pursuing a California car accident claim. Most roadways are designed and maintained by governmental entities that have some degree of sovereign immunity from personal injury lawsuits. California governmental entities and their subdivisions have waived this immunity to some extent under such laws as the California Tort Claims Act. There are special procedures and tighter time limits that must be met when pursuing a claim against a government agency. For example, a claim must first be filed under the California Tort Claims Act within six (6) months of your auto accident so it is important to seek legal advice promptly.
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and State of California impose strict standards and safety requirements for California roadways. These safety standards may address a wide range of issues including appropriate slope angles, adequate drainage or water run-off, sharpness of curves in relation to speed limits, shoulder drop-off and width and other safety issues. While public entities may violate these safety standards, California roadways can be unreasonably hazardous even when these safety standards are satisfied. California has some of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the U.S. including I-5 in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties, I-10 in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties, the I-15 in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, I-8 in San Diego County and I-40 in San Bernardino County. Thousands of people die in motor vehicle crashes on streets and highways in California and tens of thousands suffer life-altering injuries.
There are many types of roadway hazards that can cause or contribute to a serious collision resulting in devastating injuries and wrongful death. Some common types of hazards that make California roads and highways unsafe include the following:
- Unsafe dips and slopes in the road
- Curves that cannot be safely navigated at posted speeds
- Foliage or other obstructions that limit visibility at intersections
- Lack of adequate warning signs for construction zones, sharp curves, windy or icy roads or other hazards
- Roadway surfacing or pavement that does not provide adequate traction
- Improperly constructed roads that permit rain or snow to pool and promote hydroplaning
- Freeway exits and on-ramps that provide insufficient distance to accelerate to a safe merging speed
- Traffic signals that are out or improperly timed
- Unsafe road drop offs
- Missing guard rails
- Lack of barriers or poorly designed detours and traffic obstructions in construction zones
- Potholes and other pavement defects that can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists
A government entity that fails to adequately design, maintain or adapt an unsafe roadway may be liable when the hazardous roadway causes an auto accident resulting in injuries or wrongful death. Dangerous roadway claims against public entities require careful investigation because a public entity is not necessarily liable for a hazardous roadway accident even if it has hazards or defects. An experienced California defective roadway attorney must carefully analyze the nature and seriousness of the defect, and whether the public entity knew or should have known of the defect. This may require a careful analysis of past accidents or near misses at the location, reports made to the public entity about the hazard and the length of time the hazard was present amongst other inquiries.
If you are involved in a California hazardous road accident, an experienced California dangerous road attorney may be able to seek financial compensation for a wide range of injuries including but not limited to head and brain injuries, back and spinal injuries, broken or crushed bones, injury to vital organs, dislocations and soft tissue injuries, whiplash, disfiguring lacerations and even wrongful death. If you suffer these types of serious injuries, you may face significant financial challenges including mounting medical bills, disability from work, permanent disability and intangible damages like mental anguish, pain and suffering, impaired quality of life and other damages depending on your California dangerous road case.
A California dangerous roads lawyer can conduct an investigation and take steps to preserve crucial evidence including:
- Investigating the hazardous roadway and taking photos
- Utilizing accident reconstruction and other experts to examine the roadway, vehicles and other evidence
- Obtaining and reviewing all accident reports and other reports about the hazardous roadway location
- Conducting thorough interviews with percipient witnesses, police, firefighters and paramedics
- Safeguarding your vehicle in storage to prevent tampering that may interfere with an accident reconstruction expert’s analysis
If you or someone you love is injured in a car accident because the roadway is unsafe, a California dangerous roads attorney can provide careful investigation of the facts, thorough analysis of the law, effective negotiation with insurance companies and persuasive courtroom advocacy. Your California hazardous roads lawyer also can answer your questions and advise you regarding your legal rights and remedies.