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Who's at Fault for a Car Accident Due to Bad Roads?



Large pools of water, potholes, and other problems common on the nation's roads can cause accidents. But are they just accidents? Or is someone at fault when these bad road conditions occur? Sometimes they are in fact due to improperly designed or maintained roads, and you may want to talk with a lawyer after a car accident on a bad road.

Common Bad Road Conditions

Roads are supposed to be safe. Everyone involved in building and maintaining them has a responsibility to ensure they are, but that does not always happen. Engineers miscalculate, contractors cut corners, and towns fail to take corrective action regarding particularly hazardous stretches of road.

Water and ice are not the only potential hazards you may encounter on roads. There may also be:

  • Blind curves
  • Shoulder drop-offs
  • Potholes
  • Wrong slope (grade)

These problems and more can cause drivers to lose control of their cars and get into accidents. If your wheel hits a drop off, the resulting bounce may make it hard to stay in control of the car. Water collecting on an improperly graded road increases your risk of hydroplaning. In fact, a 2009 report suggests that bad road conditions may contribute to more than half the highway fatalities in the nation.

Ideally, these bad roads would not exist. Since they do, hazards need to be clearly marked, and failure to do so further increases the risk of a car accident.

Who Is At Fault for Bad Roads?

The driver may share some responsibility—after all, you are supposed to pay attention to the road in front of you and notice things like potholes or water—but the people or companies responsible for building and maintaining them can also be held responsible. These entities may include, for instance:

  • The road crew that did not post sufficient warning of construction ahead
  • The municipality that ignored repeated requests for signs or signals at an intersection or other stretch of road with a high accident rate
  • The engineer who designed the road that collects water after rains or one with a blind curve
  • The transportation department that failed to put up signs warning of hazardous conditions after a rain
  • The state that did not fix the potholes in a timely manner
  • The construction company that decides to cut corners on materials

An auto accident attorney or personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a case against any of these people or companies after a car accident due to bad roads.