Can a Government Agency Be Held Responsible for Accidents Due to Roads Defects?

On matters concerning enforcement of road safety rules and reminding drivers about the importance of observing traffic laws, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and many other private organizations have always been consistent in the performance of their duties. Thus, no matter what type of vehicle an individual drives, there is a corresponding program that is aimed at providing the necessary and helpful information on road safety that drivers need to, and should, know.

It may sound ridiculous, however, how, according to one old story, two cars eventually collided with each other, thinking that this collision happened way back in the late 1800s; but much more ridiculous than the date is the circumstance surrounding the collision as the story says that, at that time, only four cars were registered in the whole of the United States. Was the accident due to driver error, automobile defect, or something else? Well, one can only guess. One fact is obvious, though, that road accidents, more than 90% of which are due to human error, are nothing more than products of someone’s negligence or recklessness, whether this someone is a driver or someone else whose work involves safety on the road.

Vehicular accidents occur due either to factors that can be controlled by the driver or factors that drivers have no control of. According to the NHTSA, driver-controlled factors include drunk driving, driver error, speeding, driver distractions and reckless driving. Factors which drivers cannot control, on the other hand, include a defective car, a defective car part, and poorly constructed or damaged road. While drivers and manufacturers can easily be held accountable for accidents that occur due to their negligence, is this the same where a government agency is the one at fault, say, due to roads and highways that are poorly constructed and never maintained?

Getting injured in an accident is the most likely result when a driver fails to notice a pothole, an uneven road surface, slippery road debris, and other road hazards that can cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle.

Many government agencies have immunity from lawsuits, except if the basis of the lawsuit is, say, gross negligence in maintaining a roadway. Due to this immunity, many people ask personal injury lawyers for ways that they can form arguments that are logical and strong enough to merit the accident victim the compensation that he or she may be deemed worthy (by the court) to receive.

Read More