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Defective Road Car Accident in NYC: Who is Liable?

Car accident figures over the years show that most crashes are caused due to driving errors such as distracted driving, following too closely, improper passing, and speeding. However, there may be occasions when even the most careful of drivers may be involved in an accident due to factors beyond their control. One such important factor is a defective road. Problems with roadways have been known to cause numerous car accidents and injuries every year in New York.

defective road car accident

Car accident figures over the years show that most crashes are caused due to driving errors such as distracted driving, following too closely, improper passing, and speeding. However, there may be occasions when even the most careful of drivers may be involved in an accident due to factors beyond their control. One such important factor is a defective road. Problems with roadways have been known to cause numerous car accidents and injuries every year in New York.

Unfortunately, not many persons are capable or willing to take on a government entity and this is the reason why we do not hear as much about dangerous or defective road car accident claims. With the right legal assistance, if you can show that poor road design or maintenance was responsible for your NYC car accident, it is certainly possible to recover damages from the agency that was responsible for your injuries.

Who is Responsible for the Roads in New York?

New York State or its municipalities are responsible for the designing, building, and maintenance of the roads of New York. Under the law, it is the duty of the municipality to maintain the highways and roads in a reasonably safe condition. The municipality must erect any structures such as barriers or guard rails that may be necessary to keep the road safe for use.

If there is some portion along the roadway, say a shoulder or a paved strip, it is also their responsibility to maintain that space in a safe condition. If a government agency has outsourced its road design, construction, or maintenance activity to a contractor, both the agency and the contractor are responsible for any incidents involving that road.

So, if you have been injured in an accident in New York due to a defective road, you are entitled to file a personal injury claim to recover damages from the government agency that was responsible for the road. However, this can be more complicated than filing a simple personal injury claim against another driver, and therefore, it is important that you have an expert NYC defective road car accident lawyer on your side.

What are the Types of Dangerous Road Conditions Encountered in New York?

In a congested city like New York, with its huge volume of vehicular traffic, it is natural for the roads to wear out with time, leading to potholes. In areas where some road construction activity is going on, the negligent placement of construction equipment, debris generated from the ongoing work, demolition equipment, or improperly positioned dumpsters could all contribute to an accident.

In many cases, structures on the road such as manhole covers and utility vaults, grates, construction plates, sewers, and speed bumps may also cause dangerous conditions for motorists. It is important to remember that these defective road conditions have far more damaging consequences for motorcycle and bicycle riders as compared to cars and trucks.

What Are Some Examples of Dangerous Road Design in NYC?

Roads must be designed keeping in mind the needs for vehicular movement and pedestrian traffic in the area. When there is not enough planning and detailed consideration of these aspects, the result is a roadway that is dangerous due to its very design. Some examples of such dangerous road design conditions include the following:

  • Poor drainage facility that prevents rainwater from draining off the road and instead, cause it to accumulate in the form of puddles on the road surface
  • Speed limits that are inappropriate for the road’s condition
  • The presence of shrubs or trees growing too close to the road, obstructing the view or the path of motorists
  • Lack of adequate warning signs
  • Absence of guardrails for protection
  • Shoulders that drop in a steep manner
  • Poorly designed intersections that do not provide for the safe and smooth flow of traffic

If you or someone you love has been involved in a New York City defective road car accident, make sure you hire the services of a competent personal injury attorney.

What Defects in Road Structures Can Cause Accidents?

Roads have several structures such as speed bumps, medians, barriers, bankings, guard rails, shoulders, markings, signs, and entry, and exit ramps. When these are defective in their design or if these structures are not maintained well, they could contribute to road accidents. Some of the commonly encountered defective road structures include the following:

  • Excessive or insufficient road banking at places where the road curves may cause vehicles to drive off the road or crash into another vehicle in the vicinity.
  • Medians, speed bumps, guard rails, and barriers that are not built to specifications or not maintained well increase the risk of accidents.
  • The absence of reflectors or reflective markings makes it difficult for drivers to see the road structures, especially in poor weather. When there are no markings to indicate safe or forbidden passing, drivers tend to get confused, and this could lead to a preventable crash.
  • Lack of marking of pedestrian and school crossings, insufficient road signage or signs with poor illumination, and the improper placement of traffic signals and signs and intersection lights can all be factors responsible for road accidents.
  • Inadequate design of entry and exit ramps at highways can increase traffic congestion and also hamper the process of safe merging or lane changing, causing accidents.

Who is Liable for Car Accidents Due to Hazardous Roads in New York?

The municipal and state government that has jurisdiction for the roads is expected to inspect them regularly.  These bodies must carry out periodic maintenance activity to ensure that the roadways are maintained in a condition that makes them fit and safe for use by motorists and pedestrians.

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused due to some hazardous road condition, the government agency responsible for the road’s upkeep can be held liable for your injuries. However, to be able to prove their liability, you have to prove the following two aspects:

  • First, you must show that the government body maintaining the road where your accident occurred knew that the road was unsafe or, at the very least, that they ought to have known that it was unsafe.
  • Second, you must prove that despite having this knowledge, they did not undertake any action to correct the problem in a reasonable time.

Proving both these aspects can be quite difficult for someone who has no knowledge or experience with government entities or the way they function. This is why it is critical to engage an NYC defective road car accident lawyer with experience in lawsuits against municipal and state governments.

How to Bring a Defective Road Accident Personal Injury Claim in NYC?

If you have been injured in a road accident that was caused due to a defective road, and wish to claim damages from a government entity, here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Check if you are allowed to bring a lawsuit against the concerned entity because there are some exceptions to the immunity waiver conferred by New York’s Court of Claims Act.
  2. Notify the government body that you have a complaint and give them a chance to respond to you. If they accept responsibility, they will compensate you for your injuries; if they deny it, you may then proceed with the next step.
  3. File a formal lawsuit against the government body that was responsible for your defective road accident.

Unlike the usual statute of limitations, significantly less time is provided to file claims against the government. So, make sure that you take action as soon as possible following your accident.

Contact an Experienced Defective Road Accident Injury Attorney in NYC

If you or a loved one has been injured in an NYC road accident caused due to dangerous roadway conditions, you are entitled to damages to cover all your medical expenditure, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of life enjoyment.

Filing a personal injury claim against a government body is not as simple as claiming damages from a negligent driver. It requires special skills and access to information and testimony from experts, and this is exactly the reason why you must hire a competent and experienced dangerous road accident lawyer.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our lawyers have worked extensively with clients who have been injured in defective road accidents in New York. We have the resources essential to identify whether the accident was due to a defect in the design, building, or maintenance of the roadway. We retain road engineering experts who can help in the process of identifying and establishing liability in such cases.

When you are seriously injured in a road accident, it is understandable that recovering from your injuries is your first priority. You may not have the energy or the resources to undertake the complex task of suing a government body. However, once you give us the go-ahead, our experts will take care of all the work necessary to make sure you get the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. 

To discuss more how we can help you, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 212-344-1000 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.

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