Most motor vehicle accidents are caused by the neglect of a driver. But sometimes accidents can result from a defective or poorly maintained roadway. Defective road conditions can cause serious and deadly accidents. In New York, the state, county, city, or town that owns the roadway is responsible for properly maintaining it and keeping it safe and free from dangerous conditions or defects. In New York City, defective roadways have resulted in millions of dollars in paid out damage settlements.
Poorly Designed Roadways
Some roadways are designed in a defective manner that makes them unsafe. Examples of defects in a road design include:
- Lanes that are too narrow
- Curves that are unsafe at the posted speed limit
- Lack of guardrails
- Inadequate or unclear road markers
- Improper or hard to see signs
- Blind intersections
- Improper grading or uneven roadways
- Poor drainage
Typically, the rule is that the design of a roadway must comply with the engineering standards that existed at the time the road was built. However, there are two exceptions:
- If a roadway has a history of accidents then the governmental entity in charge of the roadway may have to upgrade the design to comply with more modern standards; or
- If the governmental entity controlling the roadway takes on a significant reconstruction project or repair, it may be required to also upgrade the design to meet modern standards.
Poorly Maintained Roadways
The entity responsible for a roadway must properly maintain the roadway to keep it safe and free from defects. Examples of poor roadway maintenance include:
- Unfilled potholes
- Debris in the roadway
- Construction debris or equipment left in the roadway
- Broken or hidden signage
- Broken guardrails
- Faded lane markers
- Malfunctioning traffic lights or warning signals
- Excessive gravel or oil
Holding Governmental Entities Responsible
Failing to adequately maintain highways, side streets, on ramps, bridges, and roads can amount to negligence on the part of the governmental entity. Proving a negligence claim against a governmental entity can be complex so you will want to consult with an attorney if you are involved in an accident caused by a defective roadway. You must give formal notice of the claim within 90 days of an accident, so it is important to act quickly.
If you’ve been injured on a defective roadway, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.