Where Injured People Come First

Who pays the bills when the road causes a collision?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Most motor vehicle crashes are preventable if everyone involved fulfills their legal obligations to one another as they pertain to road safety. Oftentimes, the failures and oversights are the fault of drivers involved in wrecks. They don’t follow state law or fail to properly monitor their surroundings, leading to a collision.

Other times, outside parties can fail in their responsibilities and trigger a preventable collision. For example, a vehicle manufacturer might release brand-new vehicles with defective components. Sometimes, road conditions are what cause crashes to occur. Potholes, inadequate signage and poorly-maintained vegetation around roads can all directly contribute to the likelihood of a collision.

Who pays for a crash caused by issues with a road itself?

Several parties may be liable

In some cases where it initially seems like the road is to blame, professionals investigating a crash may quickly establish that drivers could have prevented the crash through better adherence to best practices. If a speed at or under the speed limit or the use of a turn signal could have prevented a wreck despite the road conditions, then the driver who made those mistakes in traffic could be the party to blame for the collision.

On the other hand, perhaps those investigating the crash readily acknowledge that those involved had no chance of preventing the collision given the state of the road. Loss of control due to potholes or damaged road surfaces and visibility issues could lead to such conclusions. In that scenario, it may be possible to take legal action against the authority responsible for road maintenance.

Some roads are under the control of local municipal authorities. Others may be the responsibility of county officials or the state. Although the state does make investments in infrastructure improvements, such as filling potholes, repainting road lines and maintaining signage, those efforts don’t ensure safe driving on all streets. In some cases, when bad road design or faulty repairs are to blame, a contractor hired by the state or local authorities could be liable.

Those involved in crashes caused by unsafe streets may need to look carefully into the circumstances to establish which entity theoretically has responsibility for the road where the crash occurred. It can be very difficult to establish who has financial responsibility after a serious car crash caused not by driver errors but by unsafe road conditions. Thankfully, seeking legal guidance may make it easier for those involved in crashes to pursue compensation from an appropriate party.