Santa Barbara Dangerous Roadway Accident Lawyers
Not every car, truck, or pedestrian accident is caused by the negligence of a driver. In fact, many serious accidents happen because of roadway surface defects, inadequate signs, construction debris, poorly designed intersections, sightline obstructions, defective highway design, and many other types of dangerous conditions. The responsibility of maintaining roadways and protecting drivers and pedestrians from dangerous road conditions often falls on the property owner or local government agency. If either one failed to correct a safety hazard, then they could be found liable for any injuries suffered by accident victims.
What is important to know right now is that if any of these factors might have been involved in your accident – special laws and limitations might also apply. And for this reason and others, you should consider talking to an attorney as soon as possible. Sorting out liability and compensation can be difficult while you are focusing on healing, and the Santa Barbara dangerous roadway accident lawyers at NordstrandBlack PC may be able to provide much-needed legal guidance during this difficult part of your life. We understand the complex laws that govern these cases and have established professional relationships with road design, traffic safety, and accident reconstruction experts. If you were injured in an auto accident that was not your fault, contact our office at (805) 962-2022 and learn how you may be able to receive compensation.
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Road construction areas can be especially hazardous. If you and your family have been harmed as the result of an accident that occurred near a Department of Transportation road construction or road maintenance project – it is critically important to your chances for recovery that an independent investigation into the accident to begin immediately.
In the majority of accident claims, fault is assigned to one or more drivers. However, there are several situations where every driver was obeying all traffic signs, maintaining their speed, and respecting each other’s right of way, but they still were involved in a collision. More often than not, the cause for these accidents was unsafe road conditions. If a road is poorly designed, lacks appropriate traffic signs, or is flawed in some way, it may be difficult for drivers to avoid a serious collision.
The common types of dangerous road conditions include:
- A lack of traffic signs
- Broken traffic lights
- Blind turns
- Fallen trees and branches
- Faded paint lines
- Improper drainage
- Sudden dips or curves
- Limited visibility due to poor lighting or objects
- Short freeway exits and entrances
- Lack of guardrails near cliffs and ravines
- Lack of skid resistance in the pavement
- Poorly maintained shoulders
Many of these issues are the responsibility of the California Department of Transportation and local city governments, but these same road conditions can also affect private properties and businesses. If a local property owner has a private road leading to their home or business, then they may be responsible for maintaining it for guests. This means if someone was legally allowed to enter the property via a private road and was involved in a collision because the road had a pothole, then the property owner may be liable for damages.
Liability for road debris can fall into a gray area depending on the circumstances of your accident. While it is the responsibility of local officials to remove any road debris as soon as it is reported to them, the person who owned the debris may also be liable. For example, if a piece of cargo falls off a truck on the PCH and a driver immediately collides with it, then the truck driver could be found liable for not securing the cargo. However, if a road crew failed to clean up equipment or construction materials after expanding a roadway and that equipment causes a driver to suffer a flat tire and crash, then the road crew could be found liable.
At the end of the day, liability will typically lie with the person who owned the debris, although there are instances where a city government can be responsible for failing to clean up debris that fell off other vehicles. Local agencies must respond to reports of road debris as quickly as possible. If multiple drivers reported debris near an off-ramp and the city did not respond in a reasonable time frame to clean it up, then anyone involved in a collision with the debris could file a claim against the city.
If your accident was caused by the failure of a government agency, then your case will become more complicated than a standard auto accident claim. In the state of California, accidents caused by government agencies fall under the California Torts Claim Act (CTCA). This law states that an accident victim can file a claim for damages if a government worker, agency, or contractor committed negligence and caused a victim’s injuries.
In cases involving dangerous road conditions, you would need to prove that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) caused your accident. To do so, you must submit a form to Caltrans notifying the department of your intent to file a claim for damages. You must do so within six months of the date of your injury, or else you will lose the right to pursue damages. If the department does not respond to your claim, either by offering a settlement or denying your claim, then you may pursue a lawsuit against the department.
This restricted timeline often keeps auto accident victims from pursuing claims, as you must prepare a detailed claim in a short time period all while recovering from your injuries. Your best option is to contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss the deadline. At NordstrandBlack PC, our legal team has experience filing claims against government agencies and successfully winning compensation for our clients. If a government worker at Caltrans caused your car accident, then we have the knowledge, skill, and expertise to pursue a positive case result on your behalf.
If you choose to work with us, our team at NordstrandBlack PC can begin an independent investigation immediately. Our attorneys will handle everything from going to the scene to document and preserve evidence to working with accident reconstruction experts to locating and interviewing potential witnesses before their memories fade. Our Santa Barbara car accident attorneys will also work closely with you and with medical specialists to make certain the injuries and other losses you've suffered are fully documented and accounted for. In preparing for trial, we use a variety of sophisticated methods to tell your story, including computer-generated accident recreations.
If you or any member of your family has recently been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to a negligent Caltrans worker, then you should not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a consultation. The consultation is free, and you are not obligated to hire us, but if you do, we will handle every aspect of your claim will perseverance and dedication so that you receive a fair shot at compensation. We also work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay us unless we win your case. To get started on your case, call our Santa Barbara lawyers directly at (805) 962-2022 or contact our firm online.
- Santa Barbara’s Pothole Problem
- Drive Safely: Look for Poor Road Design and Conditions
- The PCH: One of the Deadliest Roads in America?
- Studies Shows Half of America’s 20 Most Dangerous Roads Are Located in California
- Caltrans Road Information