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Who Is Liable for a Car Accident Caused by Bad Road Conditions?

Posted in Car Accidents on December 18, 2020

Many roads in Texas have defects that make them excessively dangerous for drivers, such as ruts or potholes. These bad road conditions can cause car accidents and related serious injuries. If you were in a car accident as a result of a dangerous road condition in Texas, you may be able to hold someone else responsible. While you may not have another driver to blame, you could file a claim against the city or state.

Who Is Responsible for Road Conditions?

Under the doctrine of premises liability law, a property owner is responsible for the care and maintenance of that property. If the property contains a road, this includes the upkeep of the roadway. A road owner’s duty of care includes taking reasonable steps to prevent auto accidents from dangerous road conditions. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances and what a prudent property owner would do in the same situation. The failure to properly maintain a road could result in many dangerous conditions.

  • Potholes
  • Cracks or ruts
  • Rubble or loose gravel
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Storm debris
  • Dangerous construction zones
  • Flooding
  • Ice or snow
  • Obscured road signs
  • Faded paint
  • Missing guardrails

The private property owner or the government could be liable for a car accident caused by bad road conditions in Texas. If you crashed on a private road or driveway, the owner of that road could be liable. If you crashed on a public road, the city or state government could be responsible instead. You could bring a case against the government for the failure to maintain a defect-free road or a dangerously designed roadway.

What Are the Elements Necessary to Bring a Claim?

To hold a property owner responsible for a car accident, you will need to understand the basic rules of premises liability. In general, a property owner has the legal task to regularly inspect his or her roads, repair visible or obvious defects, and warn drivers of nonobvious defects. If a property owner is negligent in fulfilling these responsibilities, he or she could be liable for a related car accident. It will be up to you or your car accident lawyer to prove the defendant’s fault for your collision. This will take four main elements.

  1. The defendant owed you a duty of care to maintain a safe roadway.
  2. The defendant failed to fulfill his or her duty of care.
  3. The defendant’s negligence caused or contributed to your car accident.
  4. You suffered compensable losses as a result of the accident.

If you crashed your car due to a bad road condition, the property owner or government could be responsible for your losses if you can prove these four elements using clear and convincing evidence. Evidence may take the form of photographs of the road defect, copies of previous complaints, your accident report, eyewitness statements and expert testimony. If your lawyer can prove these four elements, you can recover compensation for your losses from the at-fault party.

What Damages Are Available for a Crash Caused by Bad Road Conditions?

Understanding liability for a bad road condition is important to your future. Determining and proving liability will allow you to recover financial compensation for several past and future losses, meaning you will not have to pay them out of pocket. A successful personal injury claim against the government or another party could result in damages for several losses.

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages (past and future)
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional injuries
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages
  • Wrongful death damages

Find out if you have a claim against someone for a car accident caused by bad road conditions in Texas by consulting with an attorney. Some bad road conditions are no one’s fault, meaning you would need to file a claim with your own insurance company. Others, however, trace back to a property owner’s neglect or breach of duty of care. Consult with a lawyer for more information about your specific case and legal rights.