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What are your options if a road defect causes an accident?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2020 | Car Accidents | 0 comments

If you were involved in a car accident that was the result of another driver’s negligence, you could sue said driver for damages. However, what happens when an object or road condition, such as a pothole or missing sign, causes your accident rather than another person? Are you out of luck?

The good news is that if you sustain damages in a car accident involving a pothole, road debris or hazardous road condition, Georgia law allows you to sue the government agency or entity responsible for road maintenance. Enjuris explains the types of road hazards for which you may sue, as well as the statute of limitations for road defect accidents.

Types of road hazards

Road defects can take many shapes or forms, and they are often the cause of automobile accidents. Some dangerous conditions are more common than others, though. Those include the following:

  • Potholes
  • Dangerous curves
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Construction hazards or insufficient warning of a construction zone
  • Uneven, cracked or crumbling pavement
  • Narrow shoulders
  • Poor water drainage
  • Unmarked or poorly marked lanes
  • Lack of reflective markers
  • Missing or improperly placed road signs
  • Missing guardrails

If you encounter any one of these hazards, and if said hazard causes an accident, you may be able to sue the entity responsible.

Suing a government agency

The defendant in most road defect accident lawsuits is a government agency. Typically, the state or county is responsible for road maintenance, though the federal department of transportation may assume responsibility for the maintenance of major highway and freeway systems. Unfortunately, suing any government agency is much more difficult than suing an everyday citizen, as the statute of limitations are much tighter than those of a standard personal injury claim.

If your accident occurred on a city road, you have approximately six months from the date of the accident to file a claim against the responsible entity. If it occurred on a state highway, you have one year. You have two years to file a claim for an accident that occurred on a federal road or interstate highway, but just six months to appeal and pursue a denial in court.