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When Road Hazards Cause Crashes, Who is at Fault?



Not every automobile accident is caused by a driver who ignores traffic laws. In some instances, hazards on the road—potholes, malfunctioning traffic lights, debris on the street—can lead to auto accidents, too.

If you've been involved in an accident where road debris was the cause or a contributing factor, you may be wondering who is at fault.

Road Hazard Auto Accidents

If you've been injured in an automobile accident that wasn't your fault, you may be entitled to recover money—known as damages—to compensate you for your injury-related expenses. But before you can collect damages, you and your personal injury lawyer will first have to decide whom to sue.

In most instances, the town, county, state or federal government is responsible for maintaining streets, roads, parkways, highways and interstates. (The government may not be responsible for streets in private, gated communities. Maintenance responsibilities for private roads would fall on the home owners' association.)

Your lawyer's first questions may be, "Which government entity is responsible for maintaining the road on which the accident occurred? And was the government negligent in maintaining the street?"

The answers to that second question may depend on the nature of the road debris. If, for example, you lost control of your car after hitting a pothole, you can make the case that the government should have known about the pothole and should have fixed it promptly.

Some kinds of road hazards may be caused by private citizens. Imagine you're involved in an accident because a trashcan had blown into the street and you spotted it only after it was too late to take evasive action. In that instance, the homeowner who allowed his or her empty trash can to obstruct the street might be at fault.

Your automobile accident attorney can help identify who was responsible for hazardous road conditions and help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or government agency responsible for your accident. Visit LawyerLocator to learn more about personal injury law or to hire an auto accident lawyer.