Road construction and poor road maintenance are significant contributors to car accidents. From common hazards, such as unmarked detours or inadequate signage, to the long-term effects of potholes and other structural issues, these conditions can lead to severe injury or death for drivers.
Accidents and deaths caused by poor signage, inadequate barriers and other factors are completely avoidable. If you or your loved one suffered serious injuries due to poor road conditions or unsafe construction zones, The Dominguez Firm can help. Call us at (800)818-1818 for a free consultation today.
This article will discuss the impact of road construction and poor road maintenance on car accidents and your rights if you suffer any injuries in an accident because of them.
Common Road Construction Hazards That Contribute to Accidents
Uneven Surfaces and Potholes
Road construction projects often involve resurfacing the roads or filling in potholes and other depressions, which can leave behind uneven surfaces and deep holes in the asphalt. These irregularities can make it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles and can lead to skidding or loss of traction. In addition, potholes can damage tires and/or suspension systems, leading to more serious car accidents.
Lack of Visibility
Construction sites often have high walls or barriers set up along the sides of the roads, blocking visibility for drivers passing through the area. This lack of visibility makes it harder for drivers to anticipate oncoming traffic or sudden changes in the road conditions, such as lane shifts, debris, or pedestrians crossing the street unexpectedly. It also prevents them from seeing signs warning them about upcoming construction zones until they are right in front of them, which gives them much less time to react safely before entering a hazardous area.
While working on a project, road construction crews often use heavy equipment such as bulldozers, cranes, backhoes, dump trucks, and more. This equipment is much larger than regular cars and trucks and is less maneuverable. Plus, it generates a lot of noise, making it hard for drivers to hear warning signals from nearby sources, such as other vehicles or pedestrians crossing the street. As a result, heavy equipment presents a significant hazard when driving near construction zones because it increases the risk of collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians due to its size and lack of visibility/audibility for drivers passing by.
Examples of Poor Road Maintenance Leading to Accidents
Potholes often form due to a lack of care and maintenance of roads. In Los Angeles, potholes are becoming more commonplace because of a lack of regular repairs and maintenance. Consequently, vehicles that hit these potholes can suffer damage or even become involved in an accident if the driver cannot swerve out of the way quickly enough. Potholes also create hazardous conditions for cyclists, making it difficult for them to navigate through traffic safely.
Another example of poor road maintenance leading to accidents is inadequate signage. For example, if there is a sharp turn ahead but no warning signs or other forms of traffic control (such as speed bumps), drivers may be unprepared and end up crashing into another vehicle or object.
Lack of Road Markings
Finally, a lack of road markings can also lead to accidents since they guide drivers and help them stay within their lane while driving. Without visible lane markings on the road, it becomes more difficult for drivers to stay within their lane while driving; this increases their risk of colliding with other vehicles or objects on the side of the road. Additionally, a lack of proper markings can confuse drivers unfamiliar with local streets. It may lead them down an incorrect route or cause them to miss essential turns in their journey.
Government Agencies and Contractors: Who’s Responsible?
Government agencies, such as the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), are responsible for setting road design and implementation standards. They play a crucial role in ensuring that roads meet safety standards for visibility, signage, speed limits, lane markings, guardrails, and more. Furthermore, government agencies also ensure that contractors comply with these regulations when hired to perform maintenance or repair work on existing roads.
Contractors are responsible for carrying out specific tasks within the parameters set by government agencies. This includes everything from resurfacing pavement to installing guardrails and other safety features. Properly trained contractors must complete all work according to industry standards, not only because it’s their job but also because it can help reduce the risk of car accidents caused by subpar construction or maintenance work.
Liability After an Accident
If you have been injured in an accident caused by poor road conditions or shoddy contractor workmanship, there may be grounds for filing a claim against either the government agency or the contractor responsible for its poor design or improper maintenance. In some cases, both the government agency and the contractor may be at fault if negligence can be proven by both. An experienced attorney can help you determine who is liable and how best to proceed with your case after an accident.
Importance of Documenting Road Conditions at the Time of the Accident
Insurance Companies and Road Conditions
When filing an insurance claim after a car accident, insurance companies often request information about the road conditions during the crash. All too often, people are tempted to minimize any potential fault on their part by downplaying road conditions that may have been unfavorable for driving. Pictures provide hard evidence that can help protect your rights and financial interests in cases like these.
Witness Testimony and Road Conditions
In addition to providing proof for insurance companies, photos can be used to back up witness testimony in court cases involving car accidents. Witnesses can attest to what happened during an accident, but pictures can give visual evidence supporting their claims.
Additionally, you can document other elements, such as street signs or traffic lights (especially if they were malfunctioning). This is very valuable evidence for your claim. Documenting road conditions is also beneficial if no witnesses or video surveillance are available. Photos provide physical evidence that cannot be denied when establishing liability and responsibility after a crash.
Steps Drivers Can Take To Avoid Accidents In Construction Zones And Poorly Maintained Roads
Stay Alert Around Construction Sites
The best way to stay safe when navigating construction zones is by always staying alert around sites. Pay attention for orange cones and other signs that indicate the presence of a work site. This can help you slow down and prepare to shift lanes if necessary. Additionally, follow the instructions indicated by the various signs; they are there for a reason!
Be Aware of Poorly Maintained Roads
It’s essential to remain vigilant while driving on poorly maintained roads. Potholes are especially dangerous because they can easily cause car damage or make you lose control of your car if you hit one at high speed. Always keep both hands on the wheel and watch for any signs indicating potential hazards, such as potholes, loose gravel, etc. Additionally, drive slower than usual to have more time to react if something unexpected happens.
Always practicing defensive driving techniques is vital no matter where you are driving. This means keeping your eyes focused on the road ahead so you have enough time to react if something unexpected happens—especially when driving through construction zones or on poorly maintained roads. Keep a safe distance from other drivers and never drive too fast; this will give you more time to react if someone suddenly brakes or swerves into your lane without warning. Also, avoid distractions like cell phones so that your full attention is focused on the task at hand – driving safely!
The Role Of An Attorney In Road Construction And Maintenance Accidents
An experienced car accident lawyer will help you understand your rights and gather evidence so that your car accident case is as strong as possible. This is especially true when dealing with accidents caused by road construction or poor maintenance. These accidents present particular challenges requiring specialized knowledge and experience. A good attorney will know how to navigate these types of cases, including correctly identifying who is liable for any damages or injuries that may have occurred.
If an accident was caused by poor road design or neglected maintenance of a highway or street, then the city or state responsible for maintaining that roadway could potentially be liable for any resulting damages. Having an experienced lawyer who knows how to deal with claims against government entities is important.
If the accident occurred due to dangerous construction conditions created by workers’ negligence on job sites such as bridges and highways, the contractor overseeing the project may also be liable for damages.
The Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring an attorney with experience in car accidents involving road construction and maintenance can provide numerous benefits, including gathering evidence quickly before it is lost or destroyed, helping you understand your legal rights, and taking all steps necessary to protect those rights throughout the process.
The skilled car accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm will handle all negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf while diligently advocating for your right to the maximum compensation under California law.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries due to a dangerous road construction site or poorly maintained roads, the personal injury attorneys at The Dominguez Firm can help. Call us for a free consultation at (800)818-1818 today.