The Washington Post reported in 2009 that poor road design or conditions played a role in more than half of all fatal automobile accidents in the United States, resulting in more deaths than any other single factor, including speeding, drunk driving, and not using seat belts. Despite such a dramatic impact on traffic safety, state and local governments frequently do not correct the problems or warn drivers about the hazards ahead. These design and maintenance flaws, combined with a lack of warning of hazards, can lead to serious traffic accidents.
In fact, a federal study indicated that when accident causes could be attributed to road environment, 24 percent were because of obstructed views, poor signs and signals, poor road design, and other highway-related problems
What Kind of Road-Related Issues Can Contribute to an Accident?
A tremendous variety of road defects have the potential to cause serious accidents. Some include:
- Significant drop-offs at pavement edges
- Improper banking of curves
- Failure to install traffic signals
- Missing or defective guardrails
- Inadequate lighting
- Potholes and uneven pavement
- Poor drainage and standing water on freeways
- Narrow shoulders or steep shoulder drop-offs
- Faded centerlines and lack of reflective markers
- Insufficient warning signs
Design and maintenance flaws such as these and other road-related shortcomings can make roads unreasonably dangerous. Failure to warn about such deficiencies, though, may be the key to recovering damages for an accident caused by an unduly dangerous road.
A Failure to Warn About Hazardous Road Conditions May Enable You to Recover Damages for an Accident
It is possible to make a claim for damages against the government agency responsible for designing, building, or maintaining a hazardous road. A law review article takes the position that design or maintenance problems might not be as important to recovery as the failure to warn. The agency responsible for maintaining such a road also is responsible for warning of driving hazards on that road.
The failure to warn is critical if signs are obscured, damaged, or simply do not exist. The entity responsible for maintaining the road likewise is responsible for warning signs about standing water on roadways in known low-lying areas, narrow shoulders, rough pavement, construction zones, and dangerous portions of the road, such as curves with little advance warning. All of these conditions can cause accidents, especially when drivers do not receive sufficient warnings from clearly visible, easily understood highway signs. The absence of such signs can be critical in finding liability.
Because most roads are built and maintained by government agencies, there are special rules about how and when to file a lawsuit. However, it is possible under certain circumstances to sue the government for negligent acts. Failure to warn about known hazards often is found to be such a circumstance, and if you were involved in an accident on a dangerous road that lacked warning signs, you should consult an attorney .
Call Us Today to Discuss Your Case With a Houston Car Accident Lawyer
You may be entitled to compensation if you were involved in an accident and the design or maintenance of the roadway may have been at fault. For a free case evaluation to see if you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries, contact Stewart J. Guss, attorney at law, at 800-898-4877, or send us an email through our online contact form.