Many different issues can cause auto accidents. While most accidents involve driver negligence or issues with the vehicles themselves, some involve issues with the road. Road defects can take many different forms, they can cause accidents in a variety of different ways, and they can leave accident victims struggling to recover from substantial losses. If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by a road defect in Boca Raton, it is important that you speak with a lawyer promptly to find out if you may be entitled to just compensation.
What Constitutes a Road Defect?
In legal terms, a “defect” is any issue with a product that makes it unsafe for its intended use. A defect can exist either (i) because of a product’s design (i.e. if a road is designed unsafely), or (ii) because of an issue with a product’s manufacturing or construction (i.e. if a road is paved with the wrong surface material).
While not strictly a “defect” in a legal sense, road maintenance issues are frequently to blame for accidents as well—and they can also support claims for financial compensation. For example, if a driver loses control because he or she hits a pothole or is forced off of a road that lacks an adequate shoulder, then the state or local authority that is responsible for the road’s maintenance may be legally accountable.
What are Some Common Examples of Road Defects?
Here in South Florida, roads need be designed and constructed with local traffic and weather conditions in mind. The high volume of traffic places special demands on the road, as do the effects of the unrelenting summer sun and the hurricanes and tropical storms we experience every year. With this in mind, some common examples of road defects that lead to accidents in Boca Raton and the surrounding areas include:
- Use of road construction materials that are inadequate or inappropriate for local conditions
- Improper mixing and pouring of concrete or asphalt resulting in cracks, potholes or other issues with the road
- Inadequate signage or traffic signals to safely direct and control the flow of traffic
- Roads constructed without shoulders, median barriers, guardrails or other safety protections
- Road surfaces that do not shed rainwater or that allow water or other substances to accumulate on the road
In addition, issues such as stop light malfunctions, failure to replace missing signs, and failure to clear road and visual obstructions can lead to accidents as well. Ultimately, if you have been involved in an auto accident in or around Boca Raton involving any road-related issue, you should discuss your legal rights with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Who is Liable for an Auto Accident in Boca Raton Caused by a Road Defect?
In accident cases involving road defects, there are two primary categories of parties that may be liable. These are: (i) government agencies, and (ii) government contractors.
Government agencies, such as the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), are responsible for local and state roads, and they can be held liable when issues with the road lead to serious and fatal accidents. However, there are special requirements (and strict timelines) for filing liability claims against government agencies, and this makes it especially important to hire an experienced Boca Raton auto accident lawyer right away.
In many cases, government agencies hire private contractors to design, construct, and maintain the roads. If a contractor came up with a defective road design or constructed a defective road, then this contractor may be liable. Importantly, the government agency that hired the private contractor could also be liable, and an experienced attorney can make sure you file claims against all liable parties.
How Do You Determine if a Road Defect Caused Your Accident?
In order to hold a government agency or government contractor liable for an accident caused by a road defect, you must be able to prove that the defect caused – or at least contributed to causing – the accident. So, how do you prove it?
As an accident victim, there isn’t much that you can do on your own. Proving a road defect requires extensive legal knowledge and in-depth engineering expertise, and it also requires a prompt investigation. In fact, in addition to preserving your claim (or claims), the need to conduct a prompt investigation is one of the most-important reasons why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
When you contact Hollander Law Firm about your auto accident in Boca Raton, we will send an investigator to the scene right away. Our investigator will gather the evidence needed in order to establish liability—as long as the evidence is still available. In many cases, road defects will be remedied promptly following a serious collision, and this is yet another reason why it is important to contact a law firm as soon as possible. With the necessary evidence in hand, attorney Gregg Hollander can work with engineering experts to pinpoint the cause of your accident and pursue a case for liability.
What if a Road Defect Wasn’t the Only Factor in Your Accident?
Oftentimes, a road defect will be a factor involved in causing an accident, but it will not be the only factor involved. In addition to investigating for road defects, when you hire our firm we will explore all other potential claims as well. Did another driver force you onto a dangerous section of the road? Did a road defect combine with an issue with your vehicle? At Hollander Law Firm, we will pursue all available claims in order to maximize your financial recovery.
Request a Free Consultation with Boca Raton Auto Accident Lawyer Gregg Hollander
Are you entitled to financial compensation for an auto accident in Boca Raton involving a road defect? To find out in a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at 888-751-7770 or tell us how to reach you online now.