Federal and state laws have been passed over the years that protect motorists from hazards caused by dangerous and defective roads. They place certain conditions on construction companies that design, build, maintain, and repair state roads. They also require certain construction standards for clear warnings, guardrails, and road grade levels that supposedly keep roadways and their right of ways safe. But thousands of motorists fall victim to serious auto accidents in Florida every year due to poorly designed roads, construction errors, and improper or negligent maintenance. If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident because of a defective road design, call Montero Law at 954-767-6500 to discuss your legal options at no cost.
How would a defective road design or maintenance-related issues cause car accidents?
There are many different ways that roads can injure motorists:
- Hazardous obstacles: Fallen trees, debris and the seemingly ever-present potholes force drivers to swerve suddenly and cause serious accidents, especially when driving at highway speeds.
- Unsafe surfaces primarily involve pavement without proper skid resistance. Poor drainage systems cause water runoff “ponding,” which leads to hydroplaning.
- Dangerous intersections: Malfunctioning or confusing traffic signs, sharp convergences of narrow roads, and oddly arranged crossroads all increase the likelihood of a serious accident.
- Insufficient traffic signals and signage: Confusing, defective, improper or even missing traffic signals inevitably can cause accidents.
- Poor shoulder design: Many roads and highways have insufficient shoulder space – at road level – preventing a disabled vehicle to park safely, resulting in serious accidents when hit by passing vehicles.
- Deficient exit ramp design: Merging becomes a dangerous task for drivers when exit ramps are too short or improperly positioned.
- Poor lighting design: Too-bright or insufficient street lighting can make it difficult for drivers to see, thereby limiting their vision and increasing the chances they’ll hit another vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist.
- Inadequate protection from dangerous drop-offs: Drainage channels, waterways, and other similar side-of-the-road hazards require safety guards to keep cars from inadvertently swerving over the edge.
- Hazardous median barriers: Improperly positioned median dividers can cause catastrophic head-on accidents.
- Insufficient cyclist lanes: Absent or improperly designed bike lanes cause too many accidents. Cyclists have just as much right to the road as cars. But too little road space is available to them, leading to serious and fatal accidents.
- Inadequate pedestrian walkways: Fatal accidents occur when roadways do not have clearly marked crosswalks or nonexistent sidewalks, which force pedestrians into situations where they have to walk too close to traffic.
- Dangerous curbside parking areas: Some streets just shouldn’t allow parking at all when they place pedestrians and cyclists at risk due to limited visibility.
- Shoddy construction: When normal wear and tear makes roadway repairs necessary and maintenance construction managers or crew fail to follow approved plans or use substandard materials, their errors can cause accidents for months or years after the fact.
What is Government and Private Defendants in an Injury Claim
Government agencies in charge of roads have a responsibility to remove hazardous obstacles promptly. And the private companies they hire to do the work must meet clear safety standards in the materials they use, as well as their construction and safety methods. It is the high legal duty of both to keep the public safe.
Claims of defective roadway injury-related traffic accidents may be difficult to pursue when the primary defendant is a government agency – which may be protected from civil actions in personal injury matters. But there are ways to pierce this defense, depending on the circumstances of your case. Private contractors and manufacturers of defective parts on the other hand – such as the company that is in the news for making unsafe collapsible traffic guardrails – are not protected from injury or defective equipment wrongful death lawsuits.
Contact Montero Law for a free consultation at 954-767-6500 or click here to fill out our case evaluation form if you have been injured in an accident and suspect defective road design or maintenance to be the cause.