Unfortunately, poor road conditions can be just as dangerous and prone to causing accidents as distracted, intoxicated, or otherwise reckless driving. Hitting a pothole or a large crack at high speed could cause even the most responsible driver to lose control of his or her vehicle, potentially resulting in significant damage to the vehicle and severe injuries to its occupants.
However, filing a civil lawsuit against the municipal authority responsible for maintaining a public road can be a lot harder than pursuing claims against a negligent driver. Anyone involved in a Western PA car accident caused by bad road conditions should get in touch with a local car accident attorney as soon as possible to determine what may be possible in their situation.
What Constitutes Hazardous Road Conditions?
Whether an accident is caused by normal wear and tear or from particularly hazardous weather conditions like flooding, freezing, or severe storms, any asphalt or concrete roadway will naturally deteriorate over time. In response to this, local and state municipal entities have an obligation to maintain the roads within their jurisdiction. This requires checking regularly for potholes and making reasonable efforts to fix cracks and faults once they become aware of them.
Other poor road conditions that commonly cause car accidents in Western Pennsylvania include:
- Faded paint marking lanes, road borders, and/or intersections;
- Damaged or missing guardrails;
- Loose gravel or asphalt chunks in the path of traffic;
- Lack of highway rumble strips; and
- Erosion of shoulders and driving surfaces due to inclement weather
If a car accident stems directly from one of these conditions, a dedicated vehicle collision attorney may be able to help the injured party seek fair financial restitution from the entity that should have corrected it.
Holding Municipal Authorities Liable for Pothole Accidents
In many situations, both state and local government authorities are considered immune from civil liability, based on the Sovereign Immunity Act and the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. However, there are specific circumstances under which a municipal authority or state agency may bear liability for a Western PA resident’s injuries, such as when dangerous conditions of the roadway which directly cause a car crash.
That being said, there are strict limitations on how much compensation a plaintiff can seek from a government entity. For example, under the Sovereign Immunity Act, an individual plaintiff can only seek up to $250,000 in compensation from the state government, and the Tort Claims Act sets a similar limitation of $500,000 for an entire case, regardless of the number of plaintiffs.
Finally, anyone who wishes to file suit against a government entity in Western Pennsylvania must notify the relevant entity in writing within six months of the accident in question.
A Western PA Attorney Could Help After a Car Accident Caused by Poor Road Conditions
If you get hurt in an accident caused by a dangerous condition of the road, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options for civil recovery. You will need to get started on your case much more quickly than you would if you were suing an individual person, and you may not be able to hold a government entity liable at all in certain situations.
Fortunately, a well-practiced lawyer at Marcus & Mack could ensure you understand how state law governs your unique case and work on your behalf to pursue a favorable final outcome. Call today to discuss filing suit over a Western PA car accident due to bad road conditions.