Who is Liable in A Charlotte Crash Caused by Poor Road Conditions?

Car hitting tree. Fault for crash caused by road conditions

Did you know that bad road conditions could cause a car accident? Car accidents in Charlotte, NC, can be caused by a variety of factors. In most cases, it is the negligence of another driver that is the key contributing case. When that happens, the process of filing a car crash claim is relatively straightforward. You simply file the claim with the insurer of the at-fault driver. The process further involves providing the relevant evidence and proving negligence.

However, things are a lot trickier when your car accident is caused by poor road conditions. It is not uncommon for drivers to suffer vehicular damage and injuries due to potholes, wet or icy road conditions, shoulder drop-off issues, and other problems with a road’s structure or surface. When a crash occurs for one of these reasons, the process of filing a claim is a lot more complicated.

Identifying the Liable Entity

The first thing that must be considered in a crash caused by road conditions is determining liability. In most accidents, establishing liability is simple. One or more drivers are usually liable. However, in a crash involving poor road conditions, identifying the liable party is harder.

In general, government entities are responsible for maintaining roads. Such entities may include the city or county authorities, or a state or federal agency. As these entities are responsible for maintaining the roads, they are also liable when they fail to keep the roads reasonably safe for drivers.

The first thing to do if you suffer a crash due to poor road maintenance is to identify the liable entity. You must know which government entity is responsible for maintaining the particular stretch of the roadway where the accident occurred. If you are not sure, you can call up the local police or county authorities to find this out. Once you know precisely which entity is responsible, it is time to file a claim.

Statute of Limitations for Injury Claims Against the Government

In general, North Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations for typical car accident claims. This means that the claim must be filed three years from the date of the crash, or from the date you became aware of your crash-related injuries.

Most states have a briefer statute for injury claims against a government entity. However, North Carolina maintains the same three-year statute of limitations for injury claims against local, municipal, or state entities. But if the claim involves a federal agency, the claim must be filed within two years.

Before you actually file a damages claim against the relevant agency, you must first give the agency a notice of your intent to file a claim. The agency will then review your claim and decide whether it wants to resolve it administratively and internally. If the agency does not, you can then go ahead and file the claim.

Proving Liability

If you believe that your car accident occurred due to poor road conditions, you will need to show that the road wasn’t kept reasonably safe. In order to show this, two key things need to be proved. These include:

  • Government’s knowledge of the poor road conditions. Here you must prove that the government entity responsible for maintaining the road knew or should have known about the poor road conditions.
  • Government’s inability to resolve and repair the poor road conditions within a reasonable amount of time. What is a reasonable amount of time typically depends on factors like the nature of the poor road conditions.

For the first part, you can dig up the road surveys conducted by the responsible government entity. If these surveys indicate the presence of the poor road conditions which caused the crash, you have legal proof. You can also examine other related records to find such proof.

If government surveys and records do not mention the conditions, you can then do on-ground research. Conduct local surveys, meet the residents nearby and see if the road conditions have existed for a while. This can be used to show that the government should have known about the conditions.

Why Hire a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer?

When you are filing a car accident claim against a government entity in Charlotte, NC, you simply can’t succeed without a good lawyer. This is because, as noted above, proving a claim against a government entity is a lot harder and complicated.

Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we specialize in helping car crash victims get the compensation they deserve. Our lawyers are experienced in handling injury claims against government entities as well. Get in touch with us today to discuss your accident and see if you have a valid claim against the government.