It’s a reasonable expectation that even if other drivers don’t behave safely, Moreno Valley’s highways and roads themselves should be safe. However, all too often the parties responsible for designing and maintaining safe roads fall asleep on the job with tragic consequences. In 2017, California’s Office of Traffic Safety reported 939 injuries and fatalities in Moreno Valley – many due at least partially to hazards or unsafe conditions on city streets as well as the nearly 215, 10, and 60 freeways. The heavy commuter population, large number of visitors, and commercial trucks passing through the area mean good design, quality repairs, thorough inspection, and proper maintenance are paramount to keep vehicle occupants safe.
Defects on these roadways can result in accidents that can easily result in severe or fatal injuries. Tragically, most of these accidents and catastrophic consequences could have been avoided by taking reasonable care of the roads. If you or a loved one were injured due to a hazard or unsafe condition on the road, contact an experienced Moreno Valley Highway and Road Defects Attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
What Constitutes a Road or Highway Defect?
Any number of defects on the roads and highways in Moreno Valley can render a roadway unsafe and cause accidents resulting in injury or death. Commonly cited defects include:
- Defective, covered, fallen, or missing road signs,
- Cracks in the road
- Damaged or missing guardrails,
- Lack of rumble strips on highways,
- Faded or missing lane and edge lines,
- Poorly lit roads,
- Flooded roadways due to clogged or nonexistent drains, and
- Malfunctioning or missing stop lights.
This list is not exhaustive, so it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney to learn whether the facts of your situation entitle you to pursue a personal injury claim due to road or highway defects.
Is the Government Supposed to Keep Me Safe?
The government has a legal duty to design, build, and keep roads in its jurisdiction safe for motorists and passengers through exercise of reasonable care as well as 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 hazards can render the government responsible for a victim’s injuries. Even if the government doesn’t actually know about the unsafe condition, they may still be liable under constructive knowledge – if the defected existed long enough the government should’ve known it existed through reasonable inspection, they’re considered “on notice” it existed for purposes of liability.
Who Can I Hold Responsible for My Injuries?Government Entities
Under “sovereign immunity,” governments and government agencies are normally unable to be sued. However, a few exceptions allow 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 this obstacle. Conquering sovereign immunity and satisfying the burden of proof against the government can be difficult, so it’s helpful to work with an experienced Moreno Valley Highway and Roads Defect Lawyer to navigate the tricky legal waters of sovereign immunity.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injuries, you may sue other non-government parties for negligence. Sovereign immunity doesn’t apply to any non-government company; they can be sued like any normal person who acted negligently. Government contractors and the government may both be liable for substandard repair work by subcontractors. Construction companies who perform substandard or negligent maintenance, construction, or repair, and companies that utilize substandard construction materials for roads and highways may be liable for negligence.
How Do I Win My Case?
Victims injured in accidents caused by highway and road defects usually try to recover by filing a civil lawsuit arguing their injuries resulted from someone else’s negligent behavior. To prove negligence, you must prove:
- The defendant owed you a legal duty of care,
- They breached their duty by way of an act or an omission, and
- The breached caused you injury.
If you establish these elements, the defendant is negligent and liable for your damages unless they provide a valid legal defense.
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 in a way that renders 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 – violating safety codes or construction regulations when constructing or expanding a freeway, for example.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
It’s normal to wonder how much your case is worth – accidents from road defects can result in catastrophic injuries and rack up astronomical medical bills in the blink of an eye. After establishing a defendant’s liability for the defect and your injuries, you may be awarded damages for your injuries. Though nothing will undo the harm you’ve suffered, compensatory damages can help make you whole. Courts may give awards for any number of physical, mental, emotional, and financial harms suffered by accident victims, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages and lost future earning potential
- Loss of consortium
In some circumstances the defendant’s conduct is so egregious a victim may be awarded additional damages to punish the defendant and deter repetition of the conduct. Punitive damages are given at the court’s discretion and require satisfying a high burden of proof, so working with an experienced Moreno Valley highway and roads defect lawyer can help you avoid costly legal missteps.
Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident due to a hazardous condition on Southern California’s roads, contact the skilled Moreno Valley Highway and Road Defect Attorneys at Walton Law, APC to protect your legal rights and start fighting for the recovery you deserve. Our attorneys have spent years providing personalized, aggressive representation for victims like you and delivering results; we’ve recovered millions in compensation on their behalf. 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 confidential consultation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our experienced attorneys review your case, answer your questions, and use our knowledge and resources to secure the best possible outcome and maximum compensation for you starting today.