You can sometimes sue a city if road conditions contribute to a car accident. For instance, failing to fix a pothole could leave a municipality liable. However, Texas law protects many government entities from lawsuits, so your case must meet specific qualifications and follow certain steps, like filing a notice of your claim.
Even if road conditions led to your crash, you could still pursue a driver or another party for how their negligence played a role. A car accident lawyer from our firm can determine your eligibility and discuss all your compensation options.
Road Conditions That Could Qualify for a Car Accident Suit
All roads need the occasional fix for wear and tear. Unfortunately, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Texas roads a D+ grade in its 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, stating that 22% of its streets are in poor condition.
However, some conditions are more dangerous and require immediate attention to prevent accidents. So, you might have a case if the following conditions were present in your car crash:
- Uneven or eroding roads
- Overgrowth of adjoining brush
- Damaged or missing guardrails
While those in charge of road maintenance may not have directly caused these issues, the conditions speak to a lack of maintenance and action. That violates their duty of care—an element of negligence required for a car accident lawsuit.
Other Traffic Conditions Can Also Provide Grounds for a Lawsuit
The issue doesn’t always involve neglect regarding the road itself. A municipality’s duty of care to maintain safe roads includes addressing issues like the following:
- Missing or misleading signs
- Malfunctioning traffic lights
- Confusing lane lines
- Design flaws
It’s not hard to see how these issues could cause car accidents. For example, drivers who can’t follow confusing traffic controls correctly can collide. In addition, poorly designed intersections or curves can make it hard to see other cars coming. These scenarios can also constitute negligence by a municipality.
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Who Can I Sue if Poor Road Conditions Lead to a Car Accident?
You can sue several government entities for wrecks linked to road maintenance issues. Depending on where the accident occurred, you could pursue compensation from the following:
Identifying the correct party to pursue means determining where your crash took place. For instance, an accident on a state highway within city limits might involve the Texas Department of Transportation and the city’s public works department. Likewise, road design issues might also fall under a different government agency than potholes and broken traffic lights.
As a result, untangling which government entity to pursue is sometimes challenging. Our car accident lawyers in Houston and other cities can help you identify the correct entity (e.g., city, county, or state) and the correct agency (e.g., Department of Transportation or Public Works).
You Can Also Pursue Another Party
Just because road conditions contributed to the crash doesn’t mean suing a municipality is your only option. For instance, another driver’s negligence may have played a role, like speeding, drunk driving, or tailgating. Sometimes, when it is challenging to pursue a government entity, you might have the option of going after the driver.
Here’s another example: Suppose your accident occurred in a construction area. It’s possible the construction company’s negligence caused the poor road conditions, not the municipality. For example, perhaps a worker failed to put up a warning sign, or the company negligently trained its workers. In this case, you can file a claim with their insurance or sue the company.
Finally, some roads are privately owned and maintained, meaning you can sue the property owner. One example is an accident in a parking lot. Property owners, like cities, must maintain their premises, including roads, driveways, and parking lots.
How to Pursue a Suit Against a City for a Car Accident
The process for suing a city for poor road maintenance involves many of the same steps other injury claims require to prove the municipality’s liability. These steps include the following:
- Filing a notice of your lawsuit.
- Demonstrating the city knew or should have known about a hazard.
- Linking the danger to your accident and injury.
- Arguing for damages like medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
- Reviewing any settlement offers and negotiating terms.
- Proceeding to trial if we cannot settle your claim.
Creating a timeline is critical in cases against government entities, as it can show how long a hazard existed before the accident. This timeline can also highlight the municipality should have acted to resolve it but failed to do so. Finally, complaints from community members about the hazard, photo and video evidence, and witness testimony can all bolster your case.
At any time during these proceedings, you can talk to a personal injury lawyer—even right after the accident. We can take over the work of establishing negligence and tying it to your injuries, as well as handle any negotiations.
Deadlines for Suing a City for Poor Road Maintenance Can Vary
In many states, suing a city or other government entity differs from suing a private party for personal injury. Often, the statute of limitations is shorter, requiring you to file a notice of your claim mere months after the accident.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 101.101 allows you six months from the accident date to notify the government entity of your claim. For this reason, don’t delay consulting an attorney, like the car accident lawyers at our firm. We can identify who is liable for your damages and determine the filing deadline for your case.
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Get Support in Suing for Road Conditions That Caused an Accident
Identifying who to sue for a car accident due to poor road conditions can stump accident victims. In addition, government entities have many protections from liability, and they will fight hard to avoid paying damages for your losses.
However, you deserve to have the Strong Arm in your corner, fighting for the compensation you deserve. So, contact the car accident lawyers at Loncar Lyon Jenkins today and schedule a free consultation.