You were injured in a California car accident. Could an issue with the road be to blame? If so, what does this mean for your legal rights? Should you hire a poor road design accident lawyer to help you?
What are Your Rights After a Car Accident in California Caused By a Road Hazard?
California car accidents caused by poor road design and other road hazards are not uncommon. In fact, there are tens of thousands of these accidents across the United States each year. Many of these accidents result in serious injuries, and many victims and their families struggle with the financial costs of recovery.
When Can You File a Claim?
However, financial compensation is available in many cases. For example, a poor road design accident attorney will often be able to help crash victims and their families recover their losses after accidents involving issues such as:
- Low shoulders
- Potholes and sinkholes resulting from poor road surfacing
- Low spots that collect water, oil, and debris
- Hills and bumps that can cause drivers to lose control
- Tight corners and blind corners
- Onramps and offramps with inadequate banking
- Inadequate median or missing road barriers
- Improper lane dividing lines or other road markings
- Confusing or inadequate signage
- Dangerous intersections, highway junctions, and roundabouts
These are just some of the most-common examples. If you or a loved one was involved in a crash and you suspect that any issue with the road may have been a factor, you should consult with a poor road design accident attorney about your legal rights.
Who is Responsible?
If you have a claim for a California car accident caused by a road hazard or defect, who is responsible? Depending on the circumstances you are facing, you could potentially have a handful of options available. In most cases, the primary options for recovering financial compensation after these types of accidents are:
1. Filing a “No Fault” Claim with Your Insurance Company
If you have “no fault” personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) coverage under your auto insurance policy, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. Even if this isn’t your only option, you still have the right to file a claim, and this could help you manage your bills while your other claim is pending.
2. Filing a Claim Against a State or Local Road Authority
In many cases, state and local road authorities will be legally responsible for California car accidents caused by road hazards and defects. These types of claims are subject to special rules and deadlines, so you will want to speak with a poor road design accident lawyer right away.
3. Filing a Lawsuit Against the Contractor that Designed or Built the Road
State and local road authorities often hire private contractors to design and build roads. If poor road design was a factor in your (or your loved one’s) accident, then the firm that designed the road may be liable. Likewise, if there was an issue with the way the road was built or the materials that were selected, then the road construction contractor could be 100% liable for your accident-related losses.
4. Filing a Lawsuit Against a Company that Supplied Materials for the Road
Sometimes, the issue isn’t with the design of the road or the selection of materials. Rather, the issue is with the materials themselves. Improper mixing of asphalt or concrete, installation of defective road barriers or traffic lights, and other similar types of issues can give rise to claims against product manufacturers. While these issues can be difficult to identify, an experienced attorney will be able to oversee a comprehensive investigation in order to ensure that the appropriate parties are held accountable for the financial compensation you deserve.
5. Filing an Insurance Claim Under Another Driver’s Policy
Finally, even if there was an issue with the road, another driver could still be responsible—or at least partially responsible. If another driver forced you onto a low shoulder, if another driver was distracted and failed to notice an issue with the road, or if another driver made any other mistake that contributed to causing the crash, an attorney will be able to help you pursue a claim under the driver’s auto insurance policy.
What Should You Do to Protect Your Rights After a California Car Accident Caused By a Road Hazard in California?
Given that there are so many possibilities, and given the importance of conducting a comprehensive investigation to determine who is responsible, what do you need to do? Here are some of the most-important steps you should take after a California car accident caused by a road hazard or defect:
- Get Medical Treatment – First and foremost, you need to get medical treatment for your injuries. In order to file any type of claim, you will need proof that you suffered your injuries in the collision.
- Write Down Everything You Remember – Why do you believe the accident was caused by a road hazard or defect? Write down everything you can remember while it is still fresh in your mind so that you don’t forget key details or have your perception influenced by what others say.
- Contact Your Insurance Company – No matter who is responsible for the accident, you will need to report it to your insurance company. When you do, stick to the basic facts, and be very careful not to say anything which suggests you (or your loved one) may have played a role in causing the accident.
- Contact a Lawyer – Most importantly, you should discuss your situation with a poor road design accident attorney. No matter what type of claim (or types of claims) you can file, you will need an experienced attorney on your side. It costs nothing out of pocket, and you can get a free consultation 24/7 through CarAccidentSource.com.