Can I Sue the Government for a Road Defect Caused My Car Accident?

Not all car accidents are due to the actions of another driver. Some occur because the road conditions are bad, and the driver couldn’t do anything to avoid the hazard. Often, drivers encounter unavoidable potholes that give them a jolt or poor signage that leaves them confused but they don’t suffer any injuries. However, there are instances when problems with the roadway lead to significant harm. If you were injured because of a defect on a road in Greenville, South Carolina, you may be wondering if you can file a claim against the city, county or state.

A lot depends on the road and how the accident occurred, but you may be able to get compensation with help from a South Carolina auto accident attorney. It won’t be easy. Not only will you have to prove that the defect caused your injuries but that the responsible agency knew about the defect and failed to address it. Filing a lawsuit against the city, state or Federal government is not the same as filing an insurance claim against a driver. You will need an experienced Greenville car accident lawyer on your side.

Road Conditions That Can Lead to Accidents

Several types of defects can cause a driver to crash. These include:

  • Sharp pavement drop-offs
  • Eroding road shoulders
  • Sharp curves that come without a warning
  • Overgrowth or other obstructions that block drivers’ view
  • Extremely narrow lanes
  • Confusing or non-existing lane markings

Establishing Liability

Different government agencies are responsible for different roads. You’ll need to identify the city, state or federal entity responsible for the area where your accident occurred. Your attorney will assist you with this since your focus should be on recovering from your injuries. Your lawyer will also gather evidence that the entity was aware of the problem and had enough time to correct it.

Liability won’t always be obvious. Sometimes road hazards are caused by construction activities. If your accident occurred in a work zone, a private entity may be responsible for the lack of signage or the damaged roadway that caused your accident. In some cases, multiple firms work on a project or subcontractors get involved. Construction zones are naturally dangerous, so drivers always need to approach them with caution. However, if a contractor failed to make the area relatively safe, they may be held liable for any injuries that result.

Filing A Claim for Compensation

Following the crash, you need to take pictures of the scene, the damage to your vehicle, and your injuries if they’re visible. If another vehicle was involved, you should take the usual steps such as getting the driver’s contact details and insurance information. You should also report the accident to your insurer and contact a Greenville car accident lawyer.

Your lawyer will advise you as to whether you should file a claim with the South Carolina Department of Transportation. You may have the right to do so under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act. This can be done online by filling out a damage claim form if the damage is relatively minor. However, if your injuries and property damage exceed a couple thousand dollars, you may need to go through the court system instead.

While it can be difficult to get compensation from the state, it’s certainly not impossible if you get the right advice and representation. The State Fiscal Accountability Authority pays out significant sums for claims against both state and local government bodies through its Insurance Reserve Fund. Between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, the fund paid out at least $5.4 million in collective damages resulting from in 1,017 DOT cases. It also had to come up with in excess of $2 million in legal expenses. Many of these cases related to damage caused by manholes, potholes, and drains.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Hernandez & Cabra Today!

If you were injured in an accident caused by a road defect, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our auto accident lawyers in Greenville, SC and book a free case review. We’ll listen to your account of what happened and advise you as to whether you have a case or not. If you do, we’ll give you our expert opinion on the best way to proceed. You only have a short time to file a claim against a government department, so you’ll need to move quickly. The sooner you call us after the accident, the better it will be for you.