State and local governments are tasked with maintaining roads and making sure they are safe for drivers but far too often, dangerous conditions on rural roads, city streets, and highways lead to serious accidents. If you’ve been hurt because of a road defect, pothole, sinkhole, or other dangerous conditions, several parties may be liable for your damages, including private contractors, a local municipality, or the state. Our car accident lawyers at Moore Law Firm have helped more than 12,000 clients seek compensation in personal injury cases. We can assess your case and let you know whether you have a viable claim and how to proceed.
Road Maintenance In Alabama
Although Alabama has hundreds of repair and construction projects going on at any given time, many accidents still happen due to hazards presented by roads in bad condition. ALDOT issues quarterly reviews of what current road repair operations are being conducted, but dangerous conditions still go unreported all over the state. Whether you’re traveling in an urban or rural area, it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards inadequate maintenance and poor road conditions can present.
Types Of Road Conditions That Can Cause Accidents
Potholes – Considered by some to be a minor nuisance, potholes can cause serious vehicle damage and deadly accidents. Potholes form due to water seeping into cracks in the pavement or groundwater that expands when it freezes, and contracts when it melts. Over time, this creates holes in the road that get deeper and wider if they are not repaired. Hitting a pothole can pop a tire, affect your car’s alignment, and cause you to lose control of your vehicle. When you encounter potholes, it’s a good idea to report them to ALDOT or your local municipality so they can be fixed as soon as possible.
Oil and chipping – Construction crews often put down oil and asphalt chip to help preserve the surfaces of rural and other low-volume roads. They may also put it on top of a road that is newly resurfaced to add an extra layer of strength and protection. When oil and chip are applied improperly, roads may become very slippery and cause vehicles to skid and slide, causing accidents.
Shoulder drop off – Many roads in Alabama have low shoulders that consist of sandy soil. These areas can present a serious hazard to motorists when the road suddenly drops off on the side, leading to rollovers and other types of accidents.
Construction zones – Uneven roadways, trucks entering and exiting the highway, and closed lanes all pose a danger to motorists and construction workers. Speeding, tailgating, and unexpected lane changes can cause catastrophic crashes in work zones. When driving in a work zone, obey the speed limit, stay focused, and report any dangerous conditions or unsafe behavior by work crews to ALDOT or your local municipality.
Flooding and wet or icy roads – Roads that are improperly constructed can have serious drainage issues that cause them to flood when it rains heavily. Water can rise at an alarming pace, and motorists can become stuck in their cars and drown. Always heed flood warnings or watches and stay off the road during bad storms and hurricanes. Even if rain or snow isn’t heavy, it’s a good idea to slow down to avoid hydroplaning, skidding or sliding out of control.
Poorly designed or maintained bridges – The constant weight of tractor-trailers and other vehicles can cause poorly designed or maintained bridges to crack or collapse. Storms may also wash out bridges in inclement weather. Depending on the specific situation, if you’re hurt in an accident involving faulty bridge design, materials, or maintenance, you may be entitled to recover compensation from multiple parties.
Overgrown foliage – Road signs and signals must be visible for motorists to heed them. Drivers may be unaware of potential dangers when overgrown trees, bushes, and plants that affect the visibility of signs that are intended to warn them of sharp curves, a stop ahead, or other hazards.
Fallen trees and debris – When a tree or telephone pole falls on the road, the local or state municipality must remove it as soon as it is safely possible to protect the welfare of motorists and others.
Missing traffic signs or faded markings– Proper signs and road markings are critical so motorists know the speed limit, when to stop, and the size or position of the lanes in which they may be traveling. Malfunctioning traffic lights and railroad crossing warnings can also lead to deadly crashes.
Poor lighting – Proper lighting is especially important in urban and suburban areas where pedestrians often walk along or cross the street. Rural roads can be extremely dark at night. Always stay alert and practice caution no matter where or what time of day you’re on the road.
Who Is Liable When An Accident Occurs Due To Dangerous Road Conditions?
Suing federal, state, and local governments for injury or death caused by poor road conditions is challenging. Most governments enjoy special protections when it comes to personal injury lawsuits, but there are rare exceptions in which they may be liable. For example, if a tree falls on a road due to heavy winds and a municipality doesn’t remove it in a timely manner, if someone crashes into it the municipality may be liable for the injured victim’s damages. However, it usually very difficult to prove that poor road conditions caused an accident, and governmental agencies have very strict procedures and deadlines for filing these types of claims. If you do have a case for suing the government, our attorneys fight for your rights and act as your staunch advocate throughout the process.
If you were injured in an accident on a poorly maintained private road, the property owner, renter, contractor, or another party could be liable for your damages. Our car accident attorneys are well-versed in proving liability in these types of complex cases. We have a proven track record of success in recovering maximum compensation for our clients in all types of personal injury claims.
What To Do After An Accident
There are certain steps to take immediately following an accident. If you’ve been in a wreck due to poor road conditions you should:
- Contact police immediately
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible
- Take photos of the scene, any hazards that may have caused the accident, vehicle damage, and your injuries
- Obtain insurance information from those involved and contact information from any witnesses
- Call an experienced car accident lawyer
Contact Us To Schedule A Consultation
At Moore Law Firm, our car accident attorneys can help you understand your rights and guide you through the claims process. We offer a free initial consultation, and our lawyers charge a contingency fee, which means you won’t have any up-front expenses and don’t pay attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Call us at 251-445-7602 or contact us online or to schedule a free consultation.