Who Do You Sue for a Road Hazard Accident?
Unfortunately, road hazards are very common in high-traffic areas like California. Since the population is so dense and cars are constantly on the road, the government doesn’t necessarily keep up with all the required maintenance. These hazards can also include objects from construction sites and items that fall off of other cars and trucks. If you were injured recently, you may seek out representation and hopefully receive a suitable recovery for your injuries.
Heiting & Irwin is the premiere personal injury firm of lawyers that have over four decades of experience assisting clients with road hazard accident injures. We have recovered well over $400 million for our clients, and we work hard to get our clients the settlement that is rightfully theirs.
The Local Government
The first party that may be liable for a road hazard accident is the local government or entity. Keep in mind that the timeline for suing the government for a road hazard accident could be much shorter than the one for suing a private party, which is only one reason why it’s critical to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer right away.
If the government was negligent maintaining the roads, and we prove that its negligence led to your injury, several key elements to a claim are in place. Some examples of the types of road conditions they are responsible for include potholes, fallen road signs, a lack of rumble strips on highways, poor lighting on roads and road signs, nonfunctioning stop lights, clogged drainage, and problems with guardrails. Anything having to do with a road or road condition contributing to an accident or injuries should be explored with a personal injury attorney.
When you contact a lawyer, we may discover that you should be suing a subcontractor the government hired, the government itself, or both. Additionally, when it comes to stop lights or other devices, perhaps a private company was at least partially at fault because they did a poor job with the design, installation, or maintenance. You really won’t know who the responsible party is until investigation takes place.
A Construction Company
Construction companies are dealing with a lot of equipment and tools. Many people – perhaps hundreds – are working on the same site at once. Accidents are bound to happen. Debris falls from construction sites or vehicles, a crane could affect the roadway, or the company may have poor traffic control or signage. They might not have a signal person or put up any signage at all, leading to dangerous driving conditions.
Just like with the government claim, a third party may actually be responsible for the accident. For instance, if the crane manufacturer made a faulty crane that collapsed and then hit your car, that manufacturer could be to blame. Again, by hiring a personal injury lawyer, they will be able to investigate and determine who is at fault.
A Trucking Company
Truckers could be driving along when debris falls off their truck and causes a road hazard or hits your car. In that case, the trucker, the trucking company, or a third party that loaded the truck or worked on the truck could be held liable.
The trucker would be responsible if drinking or using drugs on the job, driving recklessly, or didn’t properly secure objects to the truck. The truck manufacturer might be liable if they produced a poorly designed vehicle, or a car repair shop if they did a bad job fixing the truck. Further investigation into why the accident occurred may need to be conducted to get to the bottom of who is at fault.
There is a possibility that another driver wasn’t paying attention when they were behind the wheel, and they caused your road hazard accident. Perhaps they were texting and driving and looked up at the last minute right before they were about to hit a pothole. They swerved and hit into your car instead. Or, they may have been speeding through a construction site and they crashed into you due to trying to avoid road hazards or negotiate the site.
The driver might not be to blame, though. They could have been paying attention and driving safely when they had to swerve or speed up to save themselves. Unfortunately, you were the ultimate victim. You could sue the party that causes the hazard, the driver, or maybe both. It all depends on the facts surrounding your case.
Steps to Take When You’re in a Road Hazard Accident
If you’re in a road hazard accident, first get into a safe place. Then, if the responsible party is there, you should gather their information, including their insurance provider’s name and number, and the party’s policy number. Get as much information as you can reasonably get (without exposing yourself to any additional danger).
Take photos of the scene of the accident, any other vehicles or property, the conditions of the road that contributed to cause the accident, your injuries, and any damage to your car or other personal belongings. Make sure the police are called to file a report; and ask witnesses for statements on what they saw or heard. Write down the locations of any cameras that may have caught what happened on tape.
Be sure to go to the hospital or other medical provider(s) as soon as possible for an evaluation, including X-rays and testing. Stay on top of your treatment by going to all doctor’s appointments, undergoing tests, and taking your medication.
If the responsible party’s insurance company reaches out to offer a settlement, decline it, and instead contact your personal injury lawyer. The attorneys will determine who is liable and then seek out damages (money) for your medical bills (past and future), loss of wages and earning capacity, your car repairs, loss of enjoyment, and pain and suffering. They can collect your medical records and police record for you, discover other valuable evidence, and hire an accident investigator if necessary to determine what happened and who was at fault.
The best part is, that they only charge if they recovery money for the client. If the settlement isn’t good enough, they can always go back and renegotiate, or take the case to trial. There are no upfront costs and no risks.
Contact Heiting & Irwin for Help
If you were in a road hazard accident and you don’t know where to turn or whom to sue for your injuries and damages, then it’s time to contact the Inland Empire’s premiere personal injury lawyers to represent you. Heiting & Irwin is here for you. We have dealt with many, many, personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to start your case today.