Who is Liable When a Driver is Injured in an Accident Caused by Poor Road Conditions?

If you are driving down a California road, are involved in a car accident, and the cause is the fact that the road you were driving on was unsafe, who is liable? The answer is not simple – it depends on many factors. Get a basic understanding by reading below and then contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation.

In Most Cases the Government is Responsible for Maintaining Roads

When it comes to these types of accidents, the first thing to do is determine who had the responsibility to maintain the road. In most cases, it is the city, county, state, or federal government that has jurisdiction and the responsibility to maintain roads and keep them safe. If they fail to do so, then a driver or passenger who is injured as a result may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The Government Does Not Have to Make Immediate Repairs

It is important to know that just because the roads were dangerous and caused an accident does not mean the government is automatically at fault. California allows the state a “reasonable” amount of time for road conditions to be discovered and repaired. The government should be taking regular surveys of roads to find issues, should be responding to reports by people in the community who have seen a dangerous condition, and providing regular maintenance on roads.

The Government Does Not Have to Know About the Unsafe Road Condition to Be at Fault

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you do not have to prove that the government knew about poor road conditions. It is enough that “should have.” For example, if there was a flood that caused widespread damage to roads, you would not have to prove that the government knew about a specific area that had been damaged.

You would have to give them a “reasonable” amount of time to put up warning or make repairs, but if they failed to do so, then they could be held liable even if they did not have direct knowledge of that specific danger. The point is that they should have known.

Do You Have a Case Against the Government? If So, You May Be Running Out of Time

While other personal injury cases generally involve a two-year statute of limitations during which you can file your claim, when it comes to cases in which the government is the defendant, you only have six months to file a notice with the appropriate branch. For this reason, we recommend you contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 as soon as possible for your free legal consultation.