Poor road design or inadequate road maintenance are deficiencies that can result in serious harm to drivers and vehicle occupants. Even what may seem like the smallest highway defect has the potential to set the stage for serious car wrecks and significant legal issues, especially in the event of severe injury, disability, or death. The first course of action after suffering an injury on Missouri and Illinois roads or highways due to a road design or maintenance defect is to seek medical attention as soon as possible and begin the process of recuperating. Then, it is imperative to obtain the services of an experienced defective road accident lawyer who can investigate the circumstances of your crash, determine liability, and fight for the financial recovery to which you are entitled.
If a roadway or highway defect in Missouri or Illinois led to your car crash injury, we want to help. A veteran St. Louis car accident lawyer at our firm can employ our resources along with our considerable negotiation and trial skills to fight for the compensation you deserve. We work aggressively to identify and hold responsible at-fault parties accountable. The first step is to set up a free case review be calling (314) 276-1681 or sending the details of your situation through our contact form.
Governmental Responsibilities to Maintain Safe Roads
It is the responsibility of federal, state, and local government agencies to design roads that are safe to traverse. This requirement of safety translates into the requirement for all roads to comply with the standards established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). As well, the signage posted along roadways must adhere to the standards given in the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
A defective road accident lawyer from our team can investigate whether your crash was caused by poor road conditions or inadequate signage. If one or both of those factors were contributory, we can evaluate whether the road conditions adhered to all standards provided by AASHTO and MUTCD. If they did not, we can formulate a course of legal action against the responsible party that caused the condition. In Missouri, the responsible party may be the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC), or also referred to as MoDOT. Other potentially liable entities may include the local municipality or the general contractor who constructed the road.
Defective Roadway Design Leading to an Accident Claim
When roads are designed, they must be planned with sufficient visibility, distance, and information to enable drivers enough time to see and avoid potential risks. Drivers must be given the necessary time, based on the speed limit to see and adjust to changes in road surface conditions, vehicles on the road, people in the vicinity, the location of ramps and intersections, and changing weather conditions, among other factors.
Examples of design defects that can result in serious injuries to vehicle occupants and the need for a defective road accident lawyer include:
- Lack of adequate signals and signs (including lights, stop signs, or signs that are unreadable in poor weather or at night)
- Lack of adequate guardrails or insufficiently long guardrails to protect vehicles from going over an embankment or colliding into other objects
- Blind curves that block the view of an oncoming vehicle or hazard around the bend
- Excessive grade
- Lanes that are too narrow, forcing vehicles to travel too tightly alongside each other and/or with an elevated risk of crossing into a lane of oncoming traffic
- Poor or no lighting that makes it too difficult for drivers to see intersections, oncoming hazards, or changes in road conditions.
- Violation of clear zone principles
- Roadway shoulders in poor condition or no shoulders at all on the side of the road.
Defective Road and Highway Maintenance Claims
In Missouri and Illinois, the temperatures can drop and remain below zero during many weeks of the winter season, making proper road maintenance an important issue. The freeze-thaw cycle that occurs every year can inflict significant damage to roads in addition to the wear and tear produced by vehicles. Individuals who suffer injuries as a result of these conditions on the roadway may have recourse to obtain compensation with the help of a defective road accident lawyer.
Local governmental authorities with the responsibility to maintain roads must keep these roads safe – for instance, applying salt and/or sand during icy road conditions. The failure to implement the necessary safety measures and also provide proper road maintenance and repair can leave local governments legally responsible for injuries resulting from a subsequent crash.
Poor roadway maintenance is a common and serious problem. Roads can gradually become unsafe over time due to neglect. Far too often these problems are not addressed until after a tragedy occurs.
Common roadway maintenance issues that are entirely preventable, but can cause roadway accidents include:
- Failure to maintain or repair missing or damaged traffic lights
- Failure to fix potholes
- Failure to repair median or guardrail damage
- Failure to install additional traffic lights after a sufficient increase in population and traffic
- Failure to address construction hazards with sufficient warnings about upcoming construction
- Failure to trim or remove overgrown trees, shrubs, or plants blocking the view of the road or a traffic sign
- Failure to address structural issues on old bridges or overpasses
Car crashes involving defective road conditions can have several responsible parties, including multiple drivers as well as the state or local municipality. A defective road accident lawyer can help determine who is at fault in these complicated situations. Although a driver may be partly at fault, a roadway defect may have exacerbated the results of a crash. For instance, if a guardrail or median was in poor condition and unable to prevent some or all of the consequences of the driver’s error. In these cases, the fault might be allocated to more than one party.
Liability for Accidents Caused by Road Defects
Assigning liability for accidents stemming from defective road conditions requires the investigative work provided by experienced accident attorneys. Our attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm will work with accident investigators, safety investigators, and engineers to review the facts surrounding the incident and assess liability to the responsible parties.
Contact an Experienced Missouri Defective Road Accident Lawyer
If you are trying to recover from an injury resulting from a car crash that occurred on a defective roadway in Missouri or Illinois, our team at The Cagle Law Firm can help. We understand the financial burden you may be facing in the wake of your injuries. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping you recover the compensation you are entitled to because of your losses.
To set up a free, initial consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, give us a call today at (314) 276-1681 or simply fill out our contact form.