It’s reasonable that people using public roads should expect the government responsible – be it City, County, Town, or State – maintain safe roads to keep the public safe. Unfortunately, it’s too common for the government to fall down on the job, especially on heavily traveled roads like the 15 freeway near Wildomar. Unsafe conditions can lead to injuries from, among others:
- SUV rollover accidents,
- Collisions involving construction equipment/crews/vehicles/sites,
- Losing control from spills on the roadway,
- Striking objects present in the road, and
- Leaving the roadway due to poor lighting or lack of guardrails.
The high rate of speeds traveled on highways, as well as the unexpected nature of many accidents due to a driver not anticipating encountering or avoiding the defect, means catastrophic and life-changing injuries are common consequences when accidents do occur. In 2016, 128 people were injured or killed in traffic-related accidents in Wildomar – many due to the negligence of others. If you or a loved one were injured due to unsafe conditions or negligently maintained thoroughfares, contact an experienced Wildomar Highway and Road Defects Attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation from the responsible parties.
Does the Government Owe Me a Duty of Care? The government has a legal duty to design, build, and keep roads in its jurisdiction safe through reasonable inspection and maintenance. This means the responsible government has a reasonable time to both become aware of and repair dangerous road conditions – regular road surveys, consistent maintenance schedules and routines, and 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 Kinds of Road and Highway Defects Can Cause Accidents? 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 Wildomar 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 Can I Sue? Under the doctrines of “sovereign immunity” and “governmental immunity,” governments and their agencies are generally immune from liability in civil lawsuits. However, the California Torts Claims Act have a few exceptions that do allow a private party to bring legal action against the government – negligent failure to maintain roadways is usually one of those exceptions. Overcoming sovereign immunity can be difficult, so it’s helpful to consult an experienced Wildomar Highway and Roads Defect Lawyer to determine whether the exception applies to your case.
Sometimes, you can sue others responsible for the defects and your injuries. Sovereign immunity doesn’t apply to non-government companies, so you can sue them the same as any normal defendant. Government contractors as well as the government may both be liable for substandard repair work by government subcontractors. Construction companies performing substandard or negligent maintenance, construction, or repair, manufacturers of defective road signs or stoplights, and companies producing substandard construction materials for roads and highways may all be liable for their negligence.
Can I Win My Case? Victims injured due to defects on a highway or other road often seek compensation by arguing someone else’s negligence caused their damages. Once you prove the defendant owed you a legal duty of care, breached the duty by acting or failing to act when needed, and caused your harms as a result of their breach, they are presumed negligent and will be responsible for your damages without a valid defense. If you’re suing the government, there are many legal duties you may argue were owed to you. These entities have a duty to build, maintain, and repair roads in a safe manner; there’s also a duty to remove hazards from the roads, use quality materials and labor, and design safe roads.
It’s also possible to establish the presumption of negligence by showing your injuries were caused when someone broke a law, rule, or regulation – including traffic laws that prohibit behavior such as speeding or texting while driving. Even if you’re partially at fault for the accident that injured you, you may still be able to recover some compensation under California’s doctrine of comparative negligence. Your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault you bore for the collision.
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover? Once you establish that the defendant was negligent and is liable for your injuries, you may be awarded damages to make you whole for injuries you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. No amount of money will take away the trauma you experienced, but it can help compensate you for financial, physical, mental, emotional, and psychological harms. Victim’s often recover for injuries such as:
- Medical expenses,
- Property damage,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium (companionship),
- Permanent disability or disfigurement, and
- Lost wages or lost future earning capacity.
In come cases, the defendant’s conduct is so vile or reprehensible that is may merit an additional damage award for the victim in order to punish the wrongdoer and discourage repetition of the behavior. Punitive damages are completely discretionary and require satisfying a high burden of proof, so working with an experienced Wildomar Highway and Road Defect Lawyer can help you avoid potentially costly legal missteps in your case for recovery.
Contact an Attorney If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident caused by a hazardous condition on the roadway, contact the skilled Wildomar Highway and Road Defect Attorneys at Walton Law, APC to protect your legal rights and start fighting for the compensation you deserve to get your life back on track. Our attorneys spent years delivering comprehensive, aggressive representation to victims just like you and providing results; we’ve recovered millions in compensation on our clients’ behalf 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 first consultation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our experienced attorneys examine the facts of your unique situation and help you get the best possible result so you can get your life back on track.