For the most part, car accidents are caused by driver error or negligence. A smaller number of crashes, however, are caused by road conditions and hazards. These can be just as dangerous or deadly, but the blame can’t be placed on a speeding, drunk, or distracted driver. Other parties can be liable for damages. They will be discussed later, but first, here is a look at some of the road conditions that most often cause accidents.
Unsafe conditions that can lead to traffic accidents include:
- Potholes: Potholes form when the asphalt above the underlying dirt and soil fails. Regular heavy traffic including buses, tractor-trailers, and construction vehicles can damage roadways. Hitting a pothole can cause a tire to fail, a vehicle to slide on wet pavement, or a driver to completely lose control.
- Missing/Confusing Road Signs: Stop signs, speed limit, and other signs on roads provide much-needed information for drivers. A missing stop sign can leave a driver unaware of a dangerous intersection, increasing the risk of a collision. Even confusing or conflicting signs can misinform a driver who may then be unable to avoid an accident. A fallen sign can cause a dangerous situation as well.
- Missing Barriers/Guardrails: Road barriers and guardrails are designed to separate vehicles traveling in opposite directions. They help avoid head-on collisions. If they are not installed or maintained, serious car accidents can result.
- Sudden Changes in Road Surfaces: Roadways often feature a mixture of materials. Asphalt is typically used on ground-level roads while concrete is often used on overpasses and bridges. If a driver isn’t warned about a change, they may not know to slow down, particularly when encountering a surface more prone to freezing.
- Poor Weather Conditions: Environmental conditions, especially snow and ice, can be especially dangerous. Clearing ice and snow makes a road surface safer to drive on. But if vehicles must run on slippery surfaces, this creates hazardous situations.
- Hard-to-See Lines: Painted lines often fade over time. Since they’re intended to guide traffic and help drivers identify changes in traffic patterns, faint or poorly painted lines can easily confuse drivers.
- Road Design Issues: Standards exist in designing roads to be safe. Nonetheless, some roads feature sharp turns, blind curves, drop-offs, or improper grading that put drivers at risk. These can make driving conditions hazardous for even the most careful drivers.
- Unsafe Work Sites: Road construction and maintenance are common. They oftentimes require changes to the flow of traffic, but warning drivers of upcoming work zones helps them make important decisions. Work areas should be visible and signs, cones, and other indicators should be placed such that drivers have time to react.
Who Can I Sue for an Unsafe Roadway?
A government agency can be held liable, although the government generally can’t be sued for personal injury lawsuits. The exception is if an agency or employee is found negligent and this negligence caused unsafe or dangerous road conditions. If a government body knew of an unsafe road condition, didn’t fix it, and someone is injured or killed, it can be financially liable for the damages caused. Federal, state, and local agencies responsible for road maintenance may be liable, as can be private contractors.
Start Your Claim Today
At The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani, our Los Angeles car accident and personal injury lawyers specialize in representing clients who’ve experienced vehicle accidents due to unsafe road conditions. We can recover financial compensation for injures, vehicle repairs, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Serving all of California, we remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. To learn more or obtain a free case evaluation, call us at 888-952-2952.