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Road Hazards and Auto Accidents

You were driving along, minding your business as usual, when you encountered a road hazard and got into an accident. Now, your vehicle is damaged, and you’re experiencing physical pain as well. Maybe you even hit someone else and now you’re faced with paying their medical bills as well. Don’t worry – depending on the kind of road hazard it was and the accident you got into, there is legal action you can take.

Read ahead for more information about road hazards, as well as what steps you should follow to ensure you are protected.

Common Road Hazards

There are many different types of road hazards out there. They include:

  • Construction sites
  • Potholes
  • Objects left in the road from construction sites
  • Objects that fell out of another vehicle
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals
  • Missing traffic signs
  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Animals
  • Conditions without adequate warnings

These are just a few road hazards. Anything that can impede your driving and cause an accident could technically qualify as one.

Common Road Hazard Scenarios

Perhaps you were driving to work when you accidentally crashed into a construction site. However, the reason you had your accident was that there was no warning that construction was taking place, including a temporary speed limit sign or a worker redirecting traffic.

Here’s another scenario: Maybe you drove too fast over a pothole, but that’s because you were going the normal speed limit and the pothole was hidden under water or there wasn’t a traffic cone around it. Or, you could have gone through a green light, but it turned out that it was malfunctioning, and should have been red; and another car hit you.

You might have been driving on icy roads when your car skidded and hit another car or a pole. Or, a tire may have been in the road, and you ran over it, leaving your car severely damaged.

Depending upon the type of road hazard you came across and the circumstances of your accident, you may be able to get the compensation you deserve. What you have to be able to do in this situation is pinpoint who is responsible and support a claim of negligence on their part.

Proving Negligence with Road Hazards

When you are thinking about whether or not to pursue legal action because of your road hazard accident, you’ll have to determine if you can prove negligence. Was it someone’s fault that you got into your accident? Did an action that they took – or failed to take – cause your accident?

With a construction site accident, perhaps one of the managers on the construction site didn’t put up enough signs for drivers, or a road was damaged in some way. Perhaps you could file a claim against the government responsible for the road conditions.

It’s going to be easier to file a claim against a private company than the government, because governments have special protections. Plus, the claims statute of limitations is generally only six months in California, while it’s two years if you’re dealing with a private entity. However, this shouldn’t stop you from going up against the government if it was indeed responsible. It’s just going to take a little extra work.

You could also file a claim against a person. Maybe they had a large piece of equipment that wasn’t tightly secured in their pickup truck and it struck your vehicle. As long as that person doesn’t flee the scene, and you can collect their information, then you should be set to file your claim. If there is an object in the road and you don’t know who left it there, your case is going to be more difficult.

You may have uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy that you can use to seek the needed relief. That’s what your insurance is there for. You’d do this if there were bad weather conditions on the road that day as well, since you can’t exactly sue Mother Nature for your accident.

What to Do if You’re in a Road Hazard Accident

There are certain steps you need to take immediately after getting into a road hazard accident.

If the person who is responsible for the road hazard is there, you need to take down their information as well as what company they work for, if any, and insurance information, if possible. You should take a lot of pictures and also talk to any witnesses.  Get their contact information too, just in case they could be useful down the line. Make note of any traffic cameras that caught what happened, since that footage could help you win your case. Jot down exactly when it occurred. Call the police and make a report.

Call an ambulance if you are hurt, or go to the hospital and get a medical report. You’ll need to show that you sought medical help after your accident. If you continue to feel symptoms, go back to the doctor or hospital and get treatment. It’s always a good idea to get X-rays done just to ensure you weren’t injured internally.

If your car was damaged, have it fixed. Get a record of what they did and take home a copy of your bill.  Consult a lawyer.

Why You Should Hire a Car Accident Lawyer to Help

Right now, you need to focus on healing after your accident. You can’t be stressing about what kind of claim you’re going to make, what paperwork you have to file or what evidence you need to collect to win your case. All your energy should be going toward getting back on your feet, as well as fixing your car as soon as possible so you can get things back to normal.

A lawyer that deals with injuries and truck or car accidents can help you in many different ways. This should give you peace you mind and help you with your healing process.

If you’re ready to pursue your claim, then call the car accident and personal injury attorneys at Heiting & Irwin at 951-682-6400, or contact our office online to schedule a free consultation. We can get you the compensation you deserve in your road hazard case.

Richard Irwin

Mr. Irwin is a recognized specialist in Workers’ Compensation law. He has been certified as a specialist by the State Bar of California since 1995. He limits his practice to handling only workers’ compensation cases. View Attorney Richard Irwin's Attorney Bio Here.

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