Many people in the US are hurt each year in car accidents, and some of these are caused by poor road design. Although laws require state, cities and towns to design safe roads, it is not easy to make sure that every road is safe at all times.
The Federal Highway Administration is responsible for helping state, local and county governments to comply with guidelines to create safe roads. This federal agency also monitors auto accidents that occur and makes inspections of car crash scenes where it is believed that road design could have played a role.
Some of the common road design or road condition problems that lead to car accidents are:
- Confusing or missing signage
- Roads that have not been adequately plowed or salted in winter
- Blind curves without proper signs and reflectors
- Roads that are poorly banked
- Traffic signals that are missing, non-functioning or poorly place
- Poor landscaping that leads to vision obstruction
- Lack of road markings
- Poor quality road materials
- Guardrails that are missing or broken
- Low bridges
- Lack of night time lighting
If you are in an accident in Warrick County, IN and you think it was caused by poor road design, first you should file the accident with your insurance company. The majority of liability policies cover any property damage that happens from accidents on highways, even if the accident involves just your vehicle.
If you are sure that the accident was not caused by your own negligence, you may try to sue the government agency that was responsible for designing or maintaining the road.
If you decide to file a suit, you will almost certainly need an attorney. The problem with suing the government or filing a claim in Warrick County, IN is that state and county governments have sovereign immunity. This means that they are generally immune from civil suits. There are exceptions, however.
Courts around the country are slowly but surely eroding the concept of sovereign immunity. Courts have decided generally to allow lawsuits to proceed against government agencies that have shown reckless or negligent behavior. This has helped some people to obtain compensation in personal injury lawsuits, but it still takes a lot of work to overcome sovereign immunity.
The most important thing to determine after the car accident due to possible road design flaws is, what government entity was responsible for designing the road? This often can be hard to determine because the design of the road could involve several government agencies, as well as private contractors.
In some cases, a private road contractor is hired by the local government to build the road, but the Department of Transportation for the state controls the funding. Then Warrick County may be responsible for maintenance, so you and your attorney have to determine who is responsible for what.
Still, if you have been injured in an accident due to road design or maintenance, filing suit against the government may be your best option for compensation.