Truck accidents typically involve driver negligence. However, there are cases when drivers are not to blame. Instead, poor road conditions cause the driver to lose control and crash. Potholes, broken concrete, uneven road surfaces, exposed rebar, and road cracks are just a few of the types of poor road conditions that can cause serious accidents.
When negligent road maintenance leads to crashes, accident victims may be left with severe injuries that are expensive to treat and life-changing. These crash victims may be entitled to file a claim for compensation against the government entity that is responsible for maintaining the road.
It is important to understand that these claims over poor road maintenance are much different from other personal injury claims. That’s why it is crucial that crash victims speak to a Florida truck accident attorney who has experience with these types of cases as soon as possible. If you have been hurt in a truck crash caused by problems with the roadway, contact the team at Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., today to schedule a free consultation about your legal rights.
How Does Poor Road Maintenance Lead to Serious Accidents?
Negligent road maintenance can cause accidents in a number of ways. Large potholes and uneven road surfaces can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle. Large pools of water that form on the road due to improper drainage can cause a vehicle to start hydroplaning, which makes it almost impossible for a driver to stop the car or truck.
In addition, when there is not proper signage, or traffic signs and signals are confusing or broken, this can cause an accident. Drivers who are confused may pay more attention to which direction they are supposed to travel or what action they are supposed to take. This could take their eyes and focus from the road, which could result in a crash with another vehicle or an object.
Responsibility for Roadway Maintenance
Local and state governments are responsible for ensuring all public highways and roads are properly maintained and free from hazards that could result in an accident and injuries to motorists. When governments fail to maintain their roads properly, accident victims can file a personal injury lawsuit to claim compensation for their losses. These lawsuits are much different from personal injury claims against negligent drivers and insurance companies.
There are instances in which drivers may be injured on a private road due to improper maintenance, although these accident cases are less common. After an accident on a poorly maintained private road, crash victims may file a claim for compensation against the property owner.
Determining the Cause of Your Accident
After a car accident caused by a dangerous roadway, it is always important to call the local police department. When the police arrive on the scene, draw their attention to the hazardous road condition that caused the crash. Ask the officer to include the defective road condition in his or her report because this can be helpful in your accident claim.
Pictures are also very important pieces of evidence when filing a claim against the government for an accident caused by negligent road maintenance. Take photos of the dangerous road condition, skid marks, damaged guard rails, etc., as well as photos of the vehicles involved and your injuries. Likewise, if there is video surveillance from nearby businesses, this can also show that poor road maintenance caused an accident.
Government agencies also conduct regular surveys so they can identify problematic road conditions right away. Our truck accident lawyers will work to obtain these survey records so we can show that the government knew of a poor road condition and that it should have been fixed.
In addition to evidence showing the cause of the accident, it is important to collect evidence that shows the extent of your injuries and damages. This includes medical documents, pay stubs showing lost wages, and more.
Common Truck Accident Injuries Due to Poor Road Conditions
Even when an accident due to poor road conditions involves only the truck, the injuries that result can be very serious. The most common of these include:
- Head trauma
- Brain injury
- Neck or back injury
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Internal injuries
- Hip and leg injury
- Spinal cord injury
These injuries can impact accident victims for many months to come, leaving them with expensive medical bills and no source of income. Sometimes, victims never recover. For these injuries, and other losses such as pain and suffering, accident victims can file a claim for compensation against the party responsible for maintaining the dangerous roadway.
Compensation for Injuries Due to Poor Road Conditions
There are many differences when filing a claim against a government entity rather than filing a claim against a private company or citizen. One of these differences is the compensation that accident victims can receive.
In Florida, a victim can only recover up to $200,000 in an accident claim against the government. In total, the government can only pay $300,000 for all claims arising from one accident.
The state of Florida is also never responsible for punitive damages, which are intended to punish a defendant for gross negligence rather than compensate the victims.
Time Limit for Filing a Claim After an Accident
Although it is possible to file a claim against a government entity after an accident, there are some important time limitations that you should be aware of.
A claim against the government does not begin with filing in court or with an insurance company, as other personal injury claims do. Instead, accident victims must first provide notice that they are going to file a claim in writing. They must submit this notice to the entity that is responsible for the accident and the Department of Financial Services.
At that point, the state can accept the claim and agree to pay a settlement. In most cases, though, the state refuses the claim, and the accident victim must file a lawsuit in civil court.
Accident victims have only three years to write the notice and file a claim. This differs from the statute of limitations in cases involving private citizens or companies, which is four years from the date of the accident.
If the accident resulted in wrongful death, the victim’s family has only two years to file notice and a claim. This mirrors the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims filed against private citizens or companies.
Injured and Need Legal Help? Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Now
If you have been injured in a truck crash caused by negligent road maintenance, call our Florida truck accident attorneys at Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., today. These claims are extremely complex, and one small mistake could bar you from receiving any compensation at all.
Contact us now to arrange a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.