Virtually every driver will come across a road hazard at some point. If they are lucky, they escape injury or damage to their vehicle. If they are not lucky, the driver and/or passengers may suffer serious injuries or even death, and the vehicle may be badly damaged.
It is crucial to determine who is liable for the road hazard. In some cases, a municipality, county, or state is responsible, if the particular road is under their jurisdiction. If a construction company has left behind debris causing a road hazard, they are responsible. In other cases, there’s no party actually liable for the road hazard.
Common Road Hazards
Road hazards run the gamut, but they are basically anything in the road that should not be there. Common road hazards include:
- Items falling from trucks or other vehicles
In these instances, the entity in charge of the road is likely responsible for pothole damage, although some cities have specific laws in place regarding pothole reporting and responsibility. If a wild animal such as a deer caused an accident, there is no one to hold liable.
When there is debris in the road, it is important to determine how it got there, and the nature of the debris. Construction site debris is one issue, but debris that fell off an unidentified vehicle is another. Unless there are witnesses or video footage of debris falling out of a vehicle, or it is possible to identify the carrier from the nature of the debris, discovering who is responsible can be difficult.
Bad weather causes road hazards, whether it is snow, ice, or fog. While no one may be held responsible for bad weather, per se, it is possible that a government entity is responsible for a lack of repairs or a design flaw in the road that exacerbates dangers posed by weather. For example, large amounts of standing water that pools after a storm and causes an accident may result because of a poorly designed road.
Determining liability depends on the situation and what those involved did or did not do. Negligence is often involved. If a construction company is performing roadwork but did not post warning signs or otherwise act to protect the driving public from danger, they may be held responsible for resulting accidents.
If an unsecured item falls off the back of a truck and hits the car following it, the driver and trucking company are liable. However, the driver may also find themselves partially responsible for the crash. If the driver hits road debris while going substantially over the speed limit, that factor contributes to their comparative negligence. In many states, a plaintiff can only recover damages in such incidents if they are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Can Assist If You Have Been a Victim of a Road Hazard
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries because of a road hazard, you need the services of the experienced Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us today for a free initial consultation at 302-888-1221 or you can contact us online.