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Who Is Responsible for a Crash Caused by Poor Roadway Conditions?

Posted on January 17, 2023 in

Many car accidents in Arizona are not caused by drivers but instead by dangerous road hazards and defects. It is the responsibility of the owner of the road to keep it properly maintained, and to inspect for new hazards regularly. If poor roadway conditions cause an automobile accident in Arizona, a driver with injuries or property damage may be able to hold a private property owner or the city or state government responsible. A car accident attorney in Scottsdale can help you assess the details of your case and fight for fair compensation after the collision.

Who Is Responsible for Public Roads?

All public roads in Arizona fall under the jurisdiction and responsibility of the government. The government that owns the road depends on whether it is a local road or state highway. Federal, state and local governments are required to maintain public roads. If a road falls into a state of disrepair and a car accident occurs as a result, the government can be held liable. Government entities have the following duties when it comes to public roads: 

  • Design safe roadways, sidewalks and crosswalks
  • Build safe and stable roads and highways
  • Adequately maintain public roads
  • Send cleaning crews out after major storms and events
  • Inspect roads regularly for new or undiscovered defects
  • Respond promptly to driver complaints about road conditions
  • Make timely repairs on any known defect or flaw
  • Ensure that road construction zones are safe and properly marked

If the government in charge of road maintenance and safety falls short of these responsibilities, it can be held liable for a related car accident. If poor road maintenance results in cracks and potholes that cause a tire blowout accident, for example, the driver could sue the government for negligence. Negligence means that the government agency reasonably should have done more to maintain a safe roadway and prevent the accident.

Other Liable Parties 

It may also be possible to hold someone other than the government responsible for an accident caused by poor roadway conditions. If the crash occurred on private property, for example, the owner of the property may be liable. This includes an accident caused by defects on a driveway or private road. 

Holding another driver responsible is also a possibility if he or she contributed to the crash. If both a negligent driver and a road defect contributed to a crash, the owner of the road and the driver could share liability. Holding multiple parties responsible could result in greater financial compensation than just one insurance policy alone. 

In addition, if the federal government in charge of roadway maintenance ordered repairs but a state-level agency delayed the funding of the project, the agency could be held responsible. The same is true if the government agency hired a local company to conduct repairs, such as a local tree service company to clear away a fallen tree, but the company negligently failed to remedy the problem.

How to Prove an Accident Claim Caused by Poor Road Conditions 

Proving your car accident case requires clear and convincing evidence of fault. In a case involving poor roadway conditions, you will be responsible for proving that the hazardous condition existed and providing evidence that the entity in charge of road maintenance knew or reasonably should have known about the defect but negligently failed to repair it. This may require:

  • Photographs of the hazardous road condition.
  • A copy of any previous complaints filed regarding the hazard.
  • A police car accident report.
  • Testimony from road infrastructure or maintenance experts.

If you get involved in a car accident and you suspect the cause to be a dangerous road defect or hazardous condition, consult with a car and motorcycle accident attorney in Scottsdale for assistance with the claims process. It can be difficult to go up against a government agency. These cases come with unique laws and statutes, including a shorter deadline to file. An attorney can file claims paperwork for you and protect your rights as a victim of this unique type of car accident.