With about 6 million auto accidents occurring annually, at some point in your life you can expect to be involved in some type of auto accident. Whether it is a fender bender or a head on crash, one driver would presumably be responsible for the accident. When poor road design causes you to wreck, you may have much more work to do in order to prove that you are not responsible for the wreck. If poor road conditions cause you to wreck, there are three things you must do. You will need to prove that the condition of the road caused the wreck, the company responsible for the road was negligent, and if the company can actually be held liable in court.
Determining the Condition of the Road
Once you have wrecked, you need to investigate what actually caused the wreck. Things like potholes, faulty design, missing guardrails, and erosion can all cause your vehicle to wreck. It is important that you stay alert and try to avoid the wreck if you see any of these conditions appear. Once the wreck has occurred, you then need to call the police so that the condition of the road can be investigated and reported. Take pictures and get eyewitness accounts as soon as possible. You do not want to tamper with the scene. Only move the vehicle if it could cause an accident for another driver.
Determining Responsibility for the Road
Different agencies can be responsible for different road maintenance tasks. Even if the state is responsible for paving a road, the city may be responsible for de-icing it. You need to determine who was responsible for maintaining the area of the road that caused the accident. One of the best ways to do this is to contact an auto accident attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases. They can work with the local agencies to determine who is responsible for maintaining the road. Because road conditions can change in an instant, you have to be able to prove that the agency was actually negligent in repairing it. For example, if a tree falls onto the road, it would not be the agency's fault if you wreck because of it. If erosion occurred because the state cut back on funding, then the agency could be held reliable.
Determining if They Can be Sued
Once you have decided which agency was responsible, you can then determine if they can be sued. Most governmental agencies have immunity when it comes to being sued. There are certain conditions where a government agency can make an exception if they are at fault. Each state's law varies on when it is allowable for a driver to sue the local government over road conditions that caused an accident. An auto accident attorney can help you determine if you have the right to sue or not.
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