The internet is full of information about auto accidents caused by bad driving — things like speeding, texting, running red lights, and failures to yield. When negligent drivers injure others, they have a responsibility to pay for the damages.
But what if your accident happens as a result of dangerous obstructions or defective conditions on the roadway itself?
Who is at fault then? Where do you turn for compensation? How can you pay your bills?
Defective roadway accidents are more common than you may realize. An unexpected hazard can catch you by surprise and cause catastrophic damage.
Motor vehicles are designed with smooth terrain and regulation-compliant roadways in mind. A defect or obstruction can cause the vehicle to veer off course, flip over, lose control, or crash.
If you have been injured — or if your loved one has been killed — as a result of a defective roadway condition in California, you have rights.
Please do not assume you’re on your own because you didn’t see an obstruction in the roadway or respond to a defect in time. The law in this area is complex, and the outcome may not be what you expect. Someone else may be liable for the condition that contributed to your crash. You and your family may be entitled to substantial financial compensation.
A Bakersfield defective roadway attorney at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine can help you understand your options and fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Examples of Roadway Defects and Obstructions That Cause Accidents
A defective roadway is any stretch of road that fails to comply with federal or state law or widely accepted safety standards.
The failure may relate to a problem with the roadway design, damage to the road’s surface, signage issues, foreign objects in the road, or any other condition that makes the road dangerous for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or construction workers.
Most defective roadway claims involve public or state-maintained roadways. However, you may have a claim for compensation even if your injury happened on a private road.
Common examples of roadway defects and obstructions that cause auto accidents in California include:
Negligent Signage & Traffic Control
- Poor signage
- Lack of adequate warning for known dangers
- Misplaced road signs
- Improper traffic control
- Defective traffic light / absence of traffic lights
- Defective railway crossing light / absence of railway crossing control
- Damaged traffic controls (e.g. stop sign that has been knocked down)
- Misleading signage or signals
Negligent Road Design & Engineering
- Poorly designed roads or bridges (e.g. excessively sharp curves, uneven lanes, lack of structural integrity, etc.)
- Absence of guardrails or signage
- Poorly positioned median dividers
- Edge-of-road drop-offs / soft shoulders
- Water pooling or flooding due to improper drainage
- Dangerous crosswalk design / lack of crosswalks
- Obstructed views
- Poor grading
- Inadequate skid resistance
Negligent Road Maintenance & Repair
- Broken or uneven pavement / loose gravel
- Defective road surfacing that becomes excessively slick due to moisture or heat
- Defective or damaged guardrails
- Fallen objects in the road
- Roadway debris
- Dead animals in the road that are not removed in a reasonable amount of time
Roadway Construction Zone Issues
- Inadequate lighting at construction / renovation project sites
- Construction equipment, machines, cones, or other obstacles in the roadway
These are only a few examples of the many defects and obstructions that can create danger on California’s roadways. Whatever the condition that causes your accident might be, a Bakersfield defective roadway attorney at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine can help.
Who Is Liable for an Accident Caused by a Roadway Defect?
If your accident was caused by poor road design or improper maintenance, you may have a claim against the governmental agency responsible for designing or maintaining that road.
If your accident was caused by an obstruction in the road, you may have a claim against the party that caused the obstruction (for example, a driver who fails to secure cargo in their truck bed, allowing it to fall into the road).
If your accident happened on private property, you may have a claim against the property owner.
If your accident happened because of dangerous conditions in a highway construction zone, you may have a claim against the construction crew and/or the relevant governmental agency.
These are only a few of the many scenarios that might unfold in a defective roadway case. Every accident is different. You may have a claim against multiple parties at once.
Most injuries caused by defective roadways are covered by one or more insurance policies. An experienced Bakersfield defective roadway attorney can help you pursue a claim against the insurance company for the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Sometimes, the Defective Roadway Is Only a Partial Cause of the Accident
Some accidents have more than one cause. For example, if a speeding or texting driver hits a pothole and careens into your car, you may have a claim against both the driver and the party responsible for the pothole.
What if you were the one speeding, texting, or driving carelessly when you hit a pothole or dangerous defect in the roadway? Don’t worry. You may still have a claim against the responsible parties. California follows a rule called “comparative negligence,” which means you may still be able to recover compensation even if you were partially at fault for your own crash.
An experienced Bakersfield defective roadway attorney can help you identify each of the potentially responsible parties and determine how liability might be apportioned among them under California law.
The Importance of a Careful, Professional Investigation
Roadway design and engineering are fields of expertise. Courts rely on expert witness testimony to understand these complicated issues.
Insurance adjustors are not qualified to competently assess the role that defective roadway design might have played in causing a crash.
Causation is a key issue in many defective roadway claims. At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we work closely with experts in accident reconstruction and investigation in order to determine exactly how an accident happened and who is at fault.
Can I Sue the Government for a Defective Roadway Accident in California?
Special rules apply when bringing a claim against a governmental entity. Generally speaking, governments are immune from personal injury lawsuits under a doctrine called “sovereign immunity.”
However, there are exceptions to sovereign immunity. One of the more notable exceptions in California is the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), which allows accident victims to bring a claim against governmental entities for auto accident injuries caused by the government’s negligence.
CTCA claims are complex. They are subject to various limitations and strict procedural rules. It is critical that you work with a Bakersfield defective roadway attorney who has specific experience in pursuing auto accident injury claims against the government in California.
Are Roadway Defects Considered an “Act of God” Under the Law?
Generally speaking, no one is legally liable for an “Act of God” (for example, a sudden tornado). Unfortunately, there is some misinformation on the internet about “Acts of God” under California law. Generally speaking, roadway defects and obstructions are not considered “Acts of God.”
In some cases, you may even be able to bring a defective roadway claim after an accident caused by bad weather. If the road was not adequately designed for safe usage in adverse weather (e.g. heavy rain), you may have a claim against the government. Likewise, if accumulated ice or snow is not adequately cleared within a reasonable amount of time, you may have a claim against the responsible agencies.
Common Injuries in Auto Accidents Caused by Defective Roadways
In collisions of any kind, there is a significant risk of severe injury. Common injures in auto accidents caused by defective roadways in California include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) / concussion
- Knee injuries
- Neck, back, or spinal cord injuries
- Disfigurement or disability
- Loss of limb
- Loss of vision
- Cognitive impairment
- Internal bleeding / internal organ injury
These are only examples. Every accident is different, and the human body is complex. Auto accident victims may suffer from any number of unique injuries. No matter what your injuries look like, a Bakersfield defective roadway attorney at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
What Can I Be Compensated for After a Defective Roadway Accident?
In California, compensation after an auto accident caused by defects or obstructions in the roadway may include reimbursement for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Emotional pain and suffering (mental anguish, bodily pain, PTSD, etc.)
- Disability / Disfigurement
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses caused by the accident
If your loved one dies as a result of the accident, you and your family may be entitled to wrongful death damages. A defective roadway lawyer in Bakersfield, CA can help.
The specific dollar amount available for any injury or wrongful death claim will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident.
While it is impossible to promise or predict a particular outcome, at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we pledge to do everything we can to position your claim for the best possible recovery. Our office has a long record of success when it comes to getting personal injury victims the robust financial justice they deserve.
The Law Offices of Mickey Fine Will Fight to Protect Your Best Interests
If you have been injured in an auto accident and believe another party’s negligence is to blame, The Law Offices of Mickey Fine is here to fight for a full and fair settlement of your claim.
To learn more about your rights and options, please contact our office and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced Bakersfield defective roadway lawyers are standing by.
Time limits do apply to most auto accident claims in California, so please don’t delay. Call 661-333-3333 in Bakersfield (or 310-546-8146 in Manhattan Beach, CA) to speak with one of our Bakersfield personal injury lawyers today, or contact us online as soon as possible.
We will never charge a fee for our services unless we get you money first. The initial consultation is absolutely free.