Can You Sue for Damages Due to Unsafe Road Conditions?
November 29, 2019
Across our great nation, road conditions seem to be deteriorating at a faster rate than they are being fixed. Although federal and state laws require counties, cities and towns to design, build and maintain safe roadways, it is almost impossible to ensure every highway or street is 100% hazard free. Interstate highways fall under the jurisdiction of a federal agency, whereas hazardous conditions on most roads, streets and roadways will be the responsibility of the appropriate municipal, county or state government. For these reasons, seek legal counsel to ensure you understand which filing period applies to your claim. If you fail to file a claim against a government agency before the deadline, you may lose the opportunity to seek restitution.
Negligent Road Conditions Contributing to Accidents
In the Sunshine State, poor road design, inadequate space in construction zones, inadequately marked hazards, surface water and potholes are a common cause of single-car accidents and a contributory cause of multi-vehicle collisions including:
- poor traffic management design
- potholes and cracks in the road surface
- flooded streets due to poor maintenance
- faded paint for lane markings
- missing or faulty guardrails
- unattended road debris
- inadequately marked construction zones
- damaged, missing or hidden traffic signs
Recovery for personal injury and damages in Florida can be tricky. The state's no-fault system was designed to keep cases out of Florida courtrooms. Moreover, state law applies comparative negligence, which allows the judge to apportion fault between parties when awarding damages.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Always notify your insurance carrier following any auto accident, even if the accident was not your fault. Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state, medical bills for you and your passengers will be paid by PIP no matter who was at fault for the accident. However, every auto accident differs and there may be more than one avenue open to you for compensation of injuries and damages. However, take timely actions. Unlike claims brought against private parties, the statute of limitations for filing a claim against a government agency can be much shorter in duration.
It is important to understand that refusing or delaying medical treatment following an accident can undermine your claim. Naturally, the insurance company's attorney will argue that you were obviously fine after the incident and that your injuries may not be related to the accident at all. Nonetheless, if you are transported to an emergency room from the scene, let your healthcare providers know about all your complaints. If you do not go directly to the hospital or urgent care center, visit your primary care physician ASAP to get a thorough evaluation of your injuries.
If you are involved in an auto accident related to an unreasonable road condition, take photos at the scene of your vehicle and any road hazards related to the incident. Make sure you get a timely medical evaluation by a healthcare professional and seek the advice of a personal injury attorney at Schackow & Mercadante as soon as possible to protect your rights to seek compensation.