Can I Sue After an Accident Caused by Poor Road Design or Maintenance in Pennsylvania?
Not all accidents involve multiple vehicles. If you were hurt in an accident caused by poor road design or maintenance and not another driver’s negligence, can you sue for injury in Pennsylvania?
If you were injured on a public road because of negligent maintenance, you may be able to file a claim against your local government. For accidents of a similar cause that occur on private roads, the property owner may be liable. Regular injury claims must be brought within the two-year filing window for personal injury in Pennsylvania. Claims against local governments must be initiated within six months. Your compensation may be limited, depending on who the defendant is in your case. Because Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state, the severity of your injuries and the type of insurance you have may play into your recovery.
To get a free evaluation of your case from the Philadelphia car accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm, call (215) 709-6940 today.
Who Can You Sue for Accidents Caused by Poor Road Design or Maintenance in Pennsylvania?
Depending on the circumstances of your recent accident and its location, the local government or a private person or entity might be ultimately liable for your damages in Pennsylvania.
Local governments and municipalities are typically responsible for maintaining public roads. Most streets you drive on are public, meaning addressing potholes and other hazards is likely the responsibility of your local government. This means that you might have to file a claim against your local government to recover compensation for an accident caused by poor road maintenance or design in Pennsylvania.
Maintaining private roads and driveways is the responsibility of the property owner. So, if you were hurt because of an accident caused by poor road maintenance or design, and the road in question was a private road or driveway, you would file your injury claim against the property owner, not your local government.
Do not assume that, just because a road was cracked or otherwise damaged, that such damage was the cause of your accident in Pennsylvania. If another driver was involved in the incident, they might share liability for your injuries. Our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers will review the facts of your accident to determine if an imperfection in the road was the cause of your accident or whether a negligent driver is pointing to that as the cause to evade liability for your damages.
Types of Accidents Caused by Poor Road Design or Maintenance in Pennsylvania
Accidents caused by poor road design or maintenance can be serious, giving victims reason to file injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania. But how often do these types of accidents happen, and what kinds of hazards do they typically involve?
Poor road maintenance might lead to several types of accidents in Pennsylvania. Potholes that go unrepaired, cracks in the pavement, improper drainage, malfunctioning traffic lights, and poor roadway lighting might cause accidents involving multiple vehicles or a single car. That is to say, a pothole in the road might cause you to lose control of your vehicle, even if you were adhering to the speed limit. Such an incident might cause your vehicle to drive into another car or object, resulting in a serious crash that leaves you injured.
Other times, poor road design can factor into car accidents. For example, if proper drainage was not considered in a road design, and the road flooded, causing a driver to hydroplane into your vehicle, the root cause of the accident would be the road’s poor drainage design.
Deadline to Sue for an Accident Caused by Poor Road Design or Maintenance in Pennsylvania
Depending on who the defendant is in your case, you might have to abide by different filing deadlines and procedures. For claims brought against a local government because of poor road design or maintenance, victims have less time to sue in Pennsylvania.
For injury cases filed against city, county, or state government entities, victims must file a notice of intent to sue within six months, according to 42 Pa.C.S. § 5522(a). This notice must contain information about your claim. Because you will have to start the recovery process so soon after injury, it will be important to contact our lawyers immediately after your accident in Pennsylvania.
If you were hurt in an auto accident due to bad road maintenance or the design of a private road or driveway, you would have two years to file your claim against the property owner, according to 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524. Verify that your claim involves a private person and not a government entity before assuming that the two-year filing deadline applies. If you do not file your case in time, you may be barred from recovery in Pennsylvania.
Limits on Compensation for Accidents Caused by Poor Road Design or Maintenance in Pennsylvania
Compensation is capped on claims involving government entities in Pennsylvania, meaning victims of accidents caused by poor road design or maintenance might see their recoveries limited in some instances.
According to 42 Pa.C.S. § 8553(b), compensation in claims against any local government in Pennsylvania is capped at $500,000. This cap applies to all compensatory damages in their entirety, such as economic and non-economic damages.
In claims against private persons, compensation for auto injury claims is not capped. However, it is important for victims to remember that Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state. This means that if you have limited tort insurance, you can only sue for non-economic damages if your injuries meet the necessary criteria. If you have full tort insurance, you can sue for all damages, no matter the severity of your injuries.
Call Our Pennsylvania Lawyers About Your Car Accident
Call our West Chester personal injury lawyers at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free case assessment from The Reiff Law Firm.