It’s reasonable that drivers and passengers alike expect they can take to public roads and highways knowing they’re safe and free of defects. The responsible government – be it City, County, Town, or State – owe the public a duty to maintain safe roads and keep people safe. Unfortunately, all too often the roads aren’t responsibly maintained, especially on busy roads near Perris and the massive 215 highway. Unsafe conditions can cause injuries from situation including:
- Collisions with construction equipment/crews/vehicles/sites,
- Uncleaned spills on the roadway,
- Striking objects on the road, and
- Leaving the road from poor lighting or missing guardrails.
The high rate of speeds traveled on highways, as well as the unexpected nature of many accidents due to distracted driving and unseen hazards, means injuries are common when accidents do occur. Perris alone reported 340 injuries and deaths from traffic accidents in 2017 alone; 80 percent of these are often due to distracted driving or other negligent behavior. If you or a loved one were injured by unsafe conditions or negligently maintained roadways, contact an experienced Perris Highway and Road Defects Attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation.
What’s the Government’s Duty to Me? The government is legally obligated to design, build, and keep roads in its jurisdiction safe for vehicle occupants through reasonable inspection and maintenance. This means the government has a reasonable amount of time to both become aware of and repair dangerous road conditions –road surveys, consistent maintenance schedules and routines, and addressing community member reports of hazards all help the government fulfill its duty. Failing to discover and correct these conditions can create liability for a victim’s injuries. Even if the government doesn’t know about the condition, they may still be liable under constructive knowledge – if the defected existed long enough the government should’ve known it existed, they’re considered “on notice” anyway.
What Are Common Road and Highway Defects? The government’s duty to reasonably inspect for, uncover, and fix hazardous conditions on its roads is very broad, so it must take extensive actions to avoid being negligent. Any number of defects on the roads and highways in Perris can cause injury-causing accidents or even fatalities, such as:
- Defective or missing road signs,
- Potholes or cracks,
- Lack rumble strips,
- Damaged or missing guardrails,
- Faded or missing lane and edge lines,
- Poorly lit roads,
- Flooded roadways, and
- Malfunctioning or missing stop lights.
Who Is Responsible for My Injuries? Governments and government agencies are normally unable to be sued under the doctrines of “sovereign immunity” and “governmental immunity.” There are a few exceptions to the California Torts Claims Act that permit a private party to sue the government; negligent failure to maintain roadways often qualifies, though you may be required to show gross negligence (very negligent behavior) as opposed to general negligence to overcome the barrier. Overcoming sovereign immunity can be difficult, so it’s helpful to consult an experienced Perris Highway and Roads Defect Lawyer to determine whether you can sue.
Sometimes, you can sue other entities besides the government for the defects and your injuries. Sovereign immunity doesn’t apply to non-government companies; they can be sued like any normal person. Both government contractors and the government may be liable for substandard repair work by subcontractors. Construction companies performing substandard or negligent maintenance, construction, or repair, and companies producing substandard construction materials for roads and highways may all be sued for negligent behavior.
How Do I Win My Case? Victims injured from highway and road defects usually try to recover for their harm by filing a civil suit and arguing they were hurt through someone’s negligent behavior. If you show the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached the duty through an act or omission, and the breach caused your harm, they’re legally negligent and liable for your injuries unless a valid defense exists. If you’re suing a government entity, there are many legal duties you may argue were breached – the government owes you a duty to design, build, maintain, and repair roads to keep them safe, as well as to use subcontractors who utilize safe materials and provide quality labor.
You may also establish the presumption of negligence by showing the defendant broke a law, rule, or regulation when injuring you – this includes traffic laws like posted speed limits or prohibitions on texting while driving. Even if you’re partly to blame for the accident, you may still recover some compensation under the doctrine of comparative negligence. A court will examine the facts and assign all parties involved a percentage of responsibility for the accident. Any award you are given will be reduced by the amount of fault you had in the collision.
How Much Is My Case Worth? After you prove a defendant’s negligence caused your injuries, a court may award you damages for the harm that resulted. No amount of money will erase the trauma you’ve endured, but a compensatory damage award can help compensate you for financial, physical, mental, emotional, and psychological harms. It’s common for victims to recover for injuries including:
- Medical expenses,
- Property damage,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium (companionship),
- Permanent disability or disfigurement, and
- Lost wages or lost future earning capacity.
Sometimes, a defendant’s conduct is so egregious that courts may award additional damages to punish the vile, reprehensible behavior and discourage the defendant and others from repeating it in the future. Punitive damages are completely discretionary, and the awards may be large, so victims must satisfy a high burden of proof – working with an experienced Perris Highway and Road Defect Lawyer can help you navigate these tricky legal waters.
Contact an Attorney If you or a loved one were injured in an accident resulting from a hazardous condition on Southern California’s roadways, contact the skilled Perris Highway and Road Defect Attorneys at Walton Law, APC to protect your legal rights and put your best foot forward on your case for recovery today. Our attorneys have spent years providing comprehensive, tailored representation for victims like you and delivering results; we’ve recovered millions in compensation for their injuries. Contact us today to schedule a no risk, no obligation initial case evaluation; we’re available 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page. The initial, confidential consultation is free, and you don’t pay until we win your case. Let our experienced attorneys examine the facts of your unique situation and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve so you can focus on getting your life back on track.