The majority of car accidents are caused by driver negligence. When that happens, filing a claim with the driver’s insurance company is often the best way to get compensation. However, some car accidents are due to road erosion, potholes, missing guardrails or poor design. A road hazard can be dangerous to motorists. When these types of accidents occur, it is often difficult to get compensation. However, it’s not impossible if you work with a competent Atlanta car accident lawyer.
Types of Road Hazard Accidents
There are several types of road defects that can make Atlanta’s roads dangerous for motorists. These include:
- Poor lighting
- Faded or non-existent lane markings
- Dangerous curves
- Poor drainage
- Cracked or uneven asphalt or cement
- Missing road signs
- Inadequate road shoulders
- Inadequate warnings about defects or road construction
Road Debris Accidents
Road debris is a factor in thousands of crashes. Sometimes a wheel or trailer becomes detached and collides with a vehicle. Other times, cargo that wasn’t properly secured falls from a truck. Trees or branches can also fall into the roadway and pose a hazard for road users. In addition, debris resulting from a car accident can lead to another crash.
Debris is especially likely to cause problems at night when visibility is low. A driver may swerve to avoid it at the last minute and in doing so, hit another vehicle. Victims who suffer injuries in this way can pursue anyone connected with the incident. However, they must have a strong case for negligence. The at-fault party may be the owner of a vehicle, a truck company or a moving business. Whether you crash because of road debris or road defects, you are entitled to compensation from the responsible party.
The Process of Recovering Damages
In cases of road defects, you will first need to establish which entity was responsible for planning or maintaining the road. This may a city, county or state agencies. Sometimes, multiple agencies share responsibility for a road. Knowing which agency is liable is important for two reasons. First, your attorney will need to know which party to go after for compensation. Secondly, they will have to determine whether the entity can be sued. Some government departments require injured people to go through an injury claim process prior to filing a lawsuit.
The next step involves proving that the agency was negligent, and this negligence led to the accident. This involves establishing that they:
- Had reasonable notice that there was a problem with the road
- Had a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem or issue warnings; and
- Failed to take proper action
Let’s say it’s been well-documented that the asphalt has cracked and broken away on a particular street. Multiple reports have been filed with the agency responsible over weeks or months, but nothing has been done. Eventually, the road conditions get so bad that they cause an accident. Your Atlanta car accident attorney may determine that the agency can be held responsible for the damages resulting from the crash. It’s a different matter if a crack suddenly appears in a road. If there was no way the authorities could have known there was a problem, they couldn’t have taken corrective action. It will be more difficult to prove negligence. Even if you do have grounds for filing a claim, you need to keep the statute of limitations in mind.
How the Statute of Limitations in Georgia Affects Claims
Most claims relating to road defects involve a government entity. This means the claim process is different from when it involves a regular car accident. The deadlines for filing your claim are different. If the city is responsible for the road, you have just six months after the accident to file your claim. If the accident happened on a state highway, you have one year. For accidents that occur on the interstate or another federal role, you must file an administrative claim with two years. If your claim is denied, you have six months to take the matter to court.
Since building a case takes time, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The clock starts running the moment the accident occurs and you don’t want to lose your chance to recover your losses.
Contact Bethune Law Firm Today to Discuss Your Road Hazard Accident Case
If you suffered injuries and property damage in a crash caused by a road hazard, we can help you recover your losses. We are a team of experienced Atlanta, GA auto accident attorneys. We’ll work to identify the correct defendant and do everything we can to get compensation on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.