When we picture a car accident, we often envision a careless driver colliding with another vehicle. However, there are instances where poorly maintained roads can also lead to accidents. Factors such as missing guardrails, erosions, potholes, and faulty design can all cause a crash. In such cases, injured individuals often are unsure of whom they can take legal action against to seek monetary compensation for the damages they’ve endured. If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to poor road conditions, contact a competent Monmouth County Car Accident Lawyer who can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Please continue reading to learn who can be held liable for injuries caused by dangerous road conditions.
Who is responsible when poorly-maintained roads cause or contribute to a car accident?
Roadways are usually maintained by various government bodies such as cities, counties, and states. In New Jersey’s case, local and state governments are tasked with maintaining roadways. Different government agencies share responsibility for maintaining certain roadways, making determining liability for collisions caused by poor road conditions tricky. For example, the state may be responsible for paving the roads, while the city may be responsible for snow plowing. Determining which government agency is responsible for maintaining the road is imperative, as fault allocation plays a vital role in your ability to recover monetary compensation for your damages. Figuring out which agency is responsible will also help you determine whether the at-fault party can be sued without undergoing the special claims process, which is typically necessary when filing a lawsuit against the government.
After determining which agency is responsible for maintaining the road, you will be burdened with proving that the municipality’s negligence directly caused your injuries. Essentially, you must demonstrate to the court that the agency had reasonable notice of a dangerous road condition and had a reasonable opportunity to remedy the issue but failed to take the necessary measures to fix the situation, resulting in a collision. For example, if erosion has been reported and documented as a potential safety problem with a particular roadway and the government does not take the proper steps to remedy the situation, causing an accident, they can be liable for damages.
Can the responsible party be sued?
New Jersey has sovereign immunity, which protects the government from lawsuits. Private citizens cannot sue the government or public entities without consent. Fortunately, New Jersey can waive their sovereign immunity if private citizens seeking to commence a lawsuit follow the strict guidelines for taking legal action against a government authority. This includes filing a claim against a Notice of Claim. A Notice of Claim provides a fair notice to the entity of your intent to pursue legal action against them so that they may perform an investigation of the claim on their own merits. Failure to file the Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident date will result in an absolute bar to recovery.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident due to dangerous road conditions, it is in your best interest to contact a determined lawyer from Falcon Law Firm who can help you navigate your legal options and ensure you file your claim within the right timeframe. Our firm is prepared to fight on your behalf to help you obtain the maximum compensation to help you get back on your feet again.