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Accidents Caused by Road Debris and Other Obstacles: Who Is at Fault?

Car accident by road debris

Drivers face a variety of hazards when navigating roads, but few are as dangerous or troublesome as unexpected debris and road imperfections such as furniture, potholes, and other obstacles. These types of hazards can be difficult to avoid, especially when driving on highways, as you might not always have time to react to the threat in time.

Accidents caused by road debris or poor road conditions are especially problematic because, in addition to having to deal with the damages and insurance claims, many don’t know who the liable party is, making it even harder to secure the compensation for said damages. So when it comes to these types of accidents, who is ultimately liable, and are claims against these parties generally successful?

Who is Liable for Road Maintenance and Clean Up?

The jurisdiction for most roads and streets generally falls on local and state governments, with a small percentage falling under the jurisdiction of the federal government (which usually includes roads in reservations, military land, and national park. In addition, a small percentage fall under private ownership.

So ultimately the answer to this is that it depends. The road in which you’ve had your accident could be owned by local, state, or federal governments, or by a private entity. That said, the entity that is in charge of any given street is not necessarily liable for accidents that might occur due to the conditions of the road.  

Liability is Defined by Acts of Negligence

As we have previously discussed, four elements need to be established for any personal injury claim to be valid: the defendant needs to owe duty of care to the plaintiff; the plaintiff needs to prove that the accused breached this duty; this breach was causation for the accident, and finally; this accident caused damages to the victim.  

When it comes to accidents caused by debris or poorly-maintained roads, you still need to prove that the responsible party breached a duty of care owed to you. This means that the private company or government agency actively failed to maintain the road, did not clean up a hazard it was aware of and had the opportunity to tend to, etc. This means that based on circumstances, your claim could be contested and successfully fought off.

A Personal Injury Attorney Helps You Protect Your Interests

This is why it is so important that you recruit the assistance of a skilled legal professional, someone who can help fight for your interests and ensure that your case is presented in the strongest possible light. If you want to learn more, be sure to call us today at the Law Offices of Dean Pertulakis to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced California personal injury attorney.