The majority of auto crashes in Nevada are associated with driver negligence. However, hazardous road conditions like potholes, missing guardrails, and damaged pavement can cause car accidents. No matter how careful you are on the road, hitting a pothole or driving on a washed-out pavement can create an auto collision. When you sustain injuries, or your car gets damaged after a crash caused by dangerous road conditions, it’s critical to hold the parties responsible for the road liable. At the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we understand that proving fault where an auto crash caused by poor road conditions is not easy. Police reports might not indicate unsafe road conditions as the cause of the accident, which makes it difficult to prove liability. Our attorneys are available to help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the agency or company responsible for planning and maintaining the road.
Parties Responsible for Keeping Roads Safe
The obligations of ensuring roads are in safe conditions belong to the city, county, state, or the federal government. Therefore, if any of these parties fail to maintain safe roads, and an accident occurs, causing injuries or other damages, the parties will be held accountable because of their negligence. You can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages for your loss.
The federal government has the responsibility to discover hazardous road conditions and take the necessary measures. The state government often allows the federal government time to inspect roads and find poor road conditions. They learn about these conditions by conducting road surveys regularly, taking reports from individuals who have observed unsafe road conditions, and routine road maintenance.
Even if the government claims not to be aware of unsafe road conditions, it can still be held responsible. That will only happen if you can prove the poor road condition has been in existence for a long time.
Types of Dangerous Road Conditions the Government can be Held Responsible for
In the event the government is not liable for the discovery and repair of hazardous road conditions, it can be accountable for damages that occur due to the following:
- Dangerous curbs
- Damage to a bridge
- Cracks and potholes in the roads that result in car accidents
- Lack of proper warning signage
- Lack of rumble strips on roadways
- Faded lane markings
- Poor lighting on roads
- Lack of adequate traffic control in construction zones
- Clogged drainage causing flooding on roads
Causes of Dangerous Road Conditions
Different factors contribute to dangerous road conditions. However, the ones that you can hold the government liable for include:
- Poor road planning
- Bad construction
- Failure to conduct proper and regular maintenance of roads
Poor design of a road can result in poor drainage or narrow shoulders, which are significant causes of accidents. Poor planning or designing include lack of proper lighting, not installing warning signs or guardrails on the road. Where a road is poorly designed, the government agency responsible for the road or the property owner, like the municipal, city, or county, is held liable for negligence.
If the road is damaged by heavy machinery and construction equipment and it is left that way without any maintenance, all road users are put in danger. When an accident occurs on such a road, the property owners are to be held liable.
Note that weather events like rain, wind, snow, the slit can cause dangerous road conditions. These weather events lower your visibility, especially at night, and make the pavement unsafe to drive over. Drivers are advised to drive carefully during these weather events to reduce car accidents in Nevada. In case you fail to drive carefully at this time, and you get into a car accident, the government agencies entrusted with the road will not be blamed. You will take the responsibility because you are required to drive carefully and maintain control of the vehicle throughout.
Claiming Compensation for Injuries Sustained in A Car Accident Caused by a Dangerous Road Condition
Remember, as said earlier, dangerous road conditions lawsuits are not easy. So, after sustaining injuries, the wise thing to do is contact a personal injury attorney with experience in these types of cases. Before even reaching the attorney, there are essential things that you should know or do, which will help with your claim. Some of these things include:
- Know the location of the hazardous road condition
- The name of the highway where the car crash occurred causing injuries
- The direction you were ended
- Contact information for persons who might have witnessed the crash
- Physical characteristics of the unsafe road condition
- Police report
- Medical bills
- Vehicle repairs
- Photos of the car accident scene including the physical injuries sustained, damages on your car, and the road condition at the scene and around the scene of the accident.
With this kind of information, the case will be easy for you and your attorney.
Other Parties that can be Sued Aside from the Government
When a car crash occurs because of bad road conditions, the government agency entrusted with the roadway is liable for the losses and injuries. However, it is up to your attorney to dig deep on the issue and find out the actual liable party. Apart from the government, the following parties can also be responsible for a car accident caused by dangerous road conditions:
- The company contracted to build the road
- The manufacturer of a defective stoplight
- A truck that spilled oil on the road causing your vehicle to slide
Most of the time, the government doesn’t undertake road repair projects on its own. It hires contractors or subcontractors to do the work. In such a case, more than two parties can be held liable for the injuries. The information about the subcontractor who was assigned to do repairs on the road where the accident occurred cannot be easily availed. Your injury attorney will have to subpoena the government agency responsible for the road so that it can acquire information on the subcontractor. Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm conducts thorough research to make sure they find every party that is responsible for the injuries. Doings so ensure they are all included in the lawsuit.
Determining Fault in Dangerous Road Conditions Lawsuit
Nevada uses a modified comparative negligence standard. It means that you can recover damages even if you were partly at fault. However, the court is going to reduce the compensation to be awarded by your percentage of fault. To recover damages in car accidents triggered by dangerous road conditions, you must prove the following:
- The hazardous road condition actually caused the vehicle crash that caused your injuries
- The government agency or persons entrusted with the road failed to keep it in good condition or failed to warn motorists about the dangers of the road.
If you have sustained injuries in Nevada after a car accident caused by unsafe road conditions, you have between six to twenty-four months to file a claim. So, you must file an injury claim against the persons responsible for the road and within this period of two years to receive compensation.
Note that if you are involved in a car crash, it is easy to establish what caused the accident. If at all the accident had been caused by another driver, it is a walk in the park to prove fault. However, where the dangerous road conditions are involved, it becomes challenging. The party you are seeking compensation from can argue that you were driving carelessly, and that is why you couldn’t see the potholes. As such, even if you will get compensated, the amount of compensation to be received will be minimal. The kind of attorney you have will determine your percentage of fault. If the attorney can argue well, all or most of the liability will go to the government agency responsible for the hazardous road. It means you will recover vast amounts of compensation.
Common Evidence Used in Dangerous Road Conditions Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you want the outcome of the court to be in your favor, you must present the following proof:
Witness statements are handy in corroborating the statement of the plaintiff. Therefore, you will need to have comments by eyewitnesses who were around the scene when the crash occurred. The witnesses give accounts of how the collision occurred and what caused it.
Usually, after an accident has occurred, the police are the ones who respond. When they get to the scene, they begin to record all the facts about the car crash. They make their observations and talk to the eyewitnesses and drivers involved in the collision so that they can have their opinion on the cause of the crash. It is, therefore, paramount that you get a copy of the police report because it will be pivotal in your claim. Also, keep in mind the police report might determine the outcome of your case. So, you must cooperate with them at the scene and ensure that details like signage, markings, and potholes that you blame for the accident are captured in the report. Some officers might leave out such information in the report costing you heavily in your case. If a police report doesn’t indicate dangerous road conditions were to blame for the accident, then you will need an excellent personal injury attorney.
To strengthen your case, you will be required to give your testimony in court. When it comes to this, you need to explain everything that happened during the accident. Do not forget to associate the collision with the poor road conditions at the scene.
Pictures of the Accident
It is crucial to know that the scene of an accident doesn’t last forever. After a few hours, the road will be cleared, and it will appear as if nothing happened. Taking clear photos of the accident will be useful in your case. The images will help in proving the kind of physical injuries you sustained and their severity, damages to your vehicle, and the poor road conditions that caused the accident. With such photos available, it will be easy to connect the dangerous road conditions to the accident plus help in determining the amount of compensation for injuries and car damage based on severity.
Images of the injuries and damages on your car will come in handy. The reason being you might have the vehicle repaired before the case is heard, making it difficult to prove the amount of loss you incurred. However, if the photos from the accident are available, then you have the proof required by the court. You will, therefore, eliminate the fear of getting the compensation that might not cover all your damages.
As said earlier, the government agency responsible for a specific road must conduct frequent surveys to determine the condition of the road. The surveys are done in a reasonable time, and if hazardous road conditions are discovered, they should be repaired within a reasonable time. If you can present these records to the court, you can prove that the government agency was negligent because they knew about the unsafe road or ought to have known about it.
Claiming you sustained injuries alone is not enough to get you compensated. You must provide medical documents to prove the kind of injuries you sustained, their severity, the medical costs, cost of rehabilitation therapy, and future medical expenses. Aside from ascertaining that you suffered injuries, medical records help in the estimation of the amount of compensation to be received. Keep track of all medical reports and give copies to your injury attorney for safekeeping because they will be needed in court.
If you are seeking compensation for car damages, you have to present vehicle repair records. These help in showing the amount of damage done on the car and how much you spent to have the vehicle repaired. You must, however, prove that the hazardous road condition resulted in the damage to the vehicle.
Government Awareness of the Hazardous Road Conditions
You will also be required to avail evidence in court showing that the government:
- Was aware of the unsafe road conditions but opted to do nothing
- Failed to discover the dangerous road conditions within a practical time
- Was unable to remedy the situation within a reasonable time
By presenting this kind of evidence, you are likely to get a positive outcome from the case.
Possible Defenses the Government or Defendant Might Use in Court
The party responsible for the unsafe road conditions, whether it is the government, local authority, state, or the city will not want to take the blame. They will put up an argument, although they are the ones at fault. Some of the arguments they can use against you include:
- You were driving recklessly
- You were intoxicated by drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash
- The crash was caused by distracted driving not the poor condition of the road
- An intervening cause is what actually caused the crash. These intervening causes might include negligence by other drivers or an act of nature that caused the car crash.
- The government was unaware of the dangerous road condition
- They were aware of the situation but lacked time to correct the condition or conduct repairs.
The United States government adopted the sovereign immunity rule from the English laws. The provision bars private individuals from filing civil lawsuits against government agencies, either state or federal. It is called government immunity, where the state or city is involved. As per the rule, you cannot recover damages from a government agency even if it is at fault. However, Nevada created a statutory exception, allowing private individuals to sue the government under circumstances where an individual has been hurt because of negligence by one of its agencies.
Before filing the claim, however, you must send a notice of claim before you officially file the claim with the court. Be keen when it comes to time limits for filing these claims. This is because even if you have a solid case and you delay to file, you lose the legal right to a claim.
Notice of Claim and Time Limitations
As said above, to bring a civil lawsuit against a government agency in Nevada, you need to begin with a notice of claim. The notice is a written statement to the responsible state agency informing them of your intent to file a claim. In the notice, you have to share details of the injuries and other damages you suffered in the car accident. Also, you must explain why you think the government agency is responsible for your loss. In addition to stating your damages, you must give an estimate of the amount of compensation you are seeking.
Having notified the government, they have the option of accepting your claim and paying the amount of compensation you need. Also, they can opt to turn down your request and choose to go for a trial. If your claim is against the state of Nevada, the Nevada State Board of Examiners evaluates the claim to determine whether to settle or proceed to court. If your claim is to the local authorities, then the relevant local government will be the one to evaluate the claim and decide.
Common Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents Caused by Dangerous Road Conditions
You might suffer minor or major injuries after being involved in a car collision due to hazardous road conditions. Some of the minor injuries you might incur are:
Significant injuries that you are likely to sustain include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Fractured bones
- Back and neck injuries
The duration you will be required to stay in the hospital and the time you will be out of work will be based on the degree of the injuries. Also, even if you don’t feel like you have been injured after a car crash, you must go to the hospital for further examination.
Financial Compensations Available after Dangerous Road Condition Car Accident
After successfully proving that the government agency was liable for the injuries, you are likely to recover the following damages:
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of earning capacity
- Compensation for loss of limb
- Compensation for disfigurement
- Future medical costs
- Loss of future earning where the accident caused temporary or permanent disability.
In case the person involved in the accident died, and you were filing the claim on their behalf, you can pursue a wrongful death claim. If you win this lawsuit, you will be paid for the funeral expenses, compensation for loss of companionship, and support and financial losses.
Damages a Vehicle Can Suffer from Dangerous Road Conditions
When a vehicle crashes because of unsafe road conditions, it can suffer various kinds of damages. If the damages are not repairable, the car is termed as a total loss. Here, the insurance company will pay you the book value of your vehicle. But where the car can be repaired, it is wise to take it to a licensed auto repair shop. Make sure they provide receipts detailing the kind of repairs that have been conducted and the cost of the repairs to make it easy to get compensated.
Remember that when seeking damages for vehicle repair, at times, you might be forced to turn to your insurer. But in cases where you are sure the government agency or the contractor working on the road acted negligently, you can sue these parties for vehicle repairs.
Find a Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Near Me
After you are involved in a car accident, and you suspect dangerous road conditions to be the cause, reach out to the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm at 702-996-1224. You should, however, do this after you have received medical treatment. Our injury attorneys are eager to help you through this complicated process. We will investigate the issue thoroughly to find the responsible government agency so that we can send the notice of claim to the right organization. If the government agency fails to settle the claim and proceeds to trial, we will be with you every step of the way. We will build a strong case that will help you get compensated.