Most people assume that traffic accidents are caused by negligent or reckless drivers, and that is often the case. However, there are also times when traffic accidents occur because of other factors, such as dangerous or poorly maintained road conditions. City, state or local government agencies and any other entities responsible for planning, designing and maintaining California roadways can be held accountable for injuries or fatalities arising from an accident caused by dangerous road conditions, a defective roadway design or an improperly maintained road. If you have been injured in a traffic accident caused by a dangerous or poor road condition or a defective roadway design, either as a driver, pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. Contact our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys as soon as possible to avoid missing your window for filing an injury claim against the at-fault party.
Pedestrians have a legal right to cross roads safely using marked public crosswalks and government planners and engineers have a duty to plan, design and install crossing areas for pedestrians that are safe, convenient and easy to use. In the state of California, the city municipal authority is generally responsible for overseeing the design, installation and maintenance of pedestrian crosswalks. If you sustain injuries in a crosswalk accident that was caused by a dangerous condition, and you can prove that a government agency failed to address the dangerous condition after receiving notice that the condition existed, you may have a negligence claim.
Poorly Maintained Roadways
An improperly maintained roadway can lead to more than just an unpleasantly bumpy ride. In some cases, roads can deteriorate to the point where they become dangerous for drivers, significantly increasing the risk of a traffic accident. Potentially dangerous road conditions can include potholes, broken concrete, uneven pavement, sinkholes, large cracks in the road or exposed rebar, among others. For example, if a driver hits a large pothole in the road, a tire blowout could occur, causing the vehicle to veer into oncoming traffic and collide with another vehicle head-on.
Icy or Snow-Covered Roadways
Icy road conditions can be dangerous for even the most experienced drivers and the risk of a motor vehicle accident increases substantially when there is snow or ice on the road. No one can control the weather and motorists are expected to exercise extra caution when driving in bad weather. However, if a motorist is injured in a traffic accident that is caused by icy road conditions and it can be proven that a poorly designed or maintained roadway contributed to the accident, the government entity responsible for designing the roadway or keeping the roadway free of ice or snow may be liable for the accident.
Common Traffic Accident Injuries
The injuries resulting from a California traffic accident can vary a great deal depending on the nature and severity of the accident. Some common motor vehicle accident injuries include the following:
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Wrongful death
Pursuing Compensation for Personal Injury or Wrongful Death
The more serious injuries resulting from a traffic accident may require a trip to the emergency room for surgery or emergency medical attention, possibly followed by an extended hospital stay. In some cases, long-term traffic accident injuries may require a lifetime of expensive medical care. Even in relatively minor, low-speed accidents, victims can sustain seemingly insignificant injuries that end up causing them persistent pain, such as whiplash or a chronic back injury. If you are involved in a traffic accident caused by dangerous road conditions or poor roadway design, no matter how minor the accident may seem, it is important that you seek medical attention right away to determine the extent of your injuries. You may also want to bring the poor road condition or defective design to the attention of the officer who responds to your accident so there is an official record of the problem. This may help you later on if you decide to file a legal claim against the local government for the traffic accident.
Pursuing compensation from a government entity for a personal injury or wrongful death resulting from a traffic accident that was allegedly caused by a poorly designed or maintained roadway isn’t easy. The best thing you can do after being injured in a traffic accident in California is to contact a reputable California personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and the options available to you under the law for pursuing a legal claim against a government agency.
Statute of Limitations for Claims Against a Government Agency
The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in California is two years, meaning the injured person has two years from the date the injury occurred to sue the at-fault person or party. However, the time limit for filing a claim against a government entity is much shorter. If you plan to sue a city, county or California state government agency for a personal injury you sustained or for the wrongful death of a loved one, you have only six months to do so. There are also certain procedural requirements that come into play when filing a claim for damages against government (public entities) and/or their employees. Per California Government Code Section 911.2, you must first file an “administrative claim” with the government office or agency in question before you can file a court lawsuit.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You File a Claim
Some traffic accident cases are more complex than others and it’s not always clear who is at fault for the injuries you have sustained in an accident. In some cases, a traffic accident can be caused by a combination of factors, such as driver negligence and dangerous road conditions, in which case filing a claim for compensation may become even more complicated. Whatever factors contributed to your injuries or your loved one’s death, you deserve to be fairly compensated and our attorneys can help. We have a history of success representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases involving traffic accidents and dangerous roadways in California, and with our team on your side, you can significantly improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case. Contact our personal injury attorneys today for a free initial consultation.