Sometimes it is the road that is at fault in an auto accident. Defective road conditions can cause a driver to lose control of his/her car, leading to an auto accident that can result in serious personal injury or death. But when the road is at fault, who is responsible for your injuries?
Defective Pennsylvania Roads Cause Car Accidents
In its “2014 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure,” The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Pennsylvania roads a grade of D- a grade that has stay consistent for the past two years. The report said that 44 percent of Pennsylvania’s roads are rated fair or poor and it’s estimated that this number will not improve until 2019.
The 40,000 miles of state roads and 76,000 miles of local roads in Pennsylvania are in poor condition, and many have reached or exceeded their design capacity, the ASCE says. The group also says 23 percent of Pennsylvania’s 22,280 bridges are considered structurally deficient.
According to the ASCE, Pennsylvania highways are among the oldest in the nation. Pavements are susceptible to cracking and expanding due to the temperature and weather changes. Also, the chemicals used during snowy/icy conditions decrease the life span of pavement.
Potholes, soft shoulders, drainage problems that cause water or ice hazards, and other defective roadway conditions can lead to car accidents, injury and death. Defective road surfacing work by private contractors can also cause car crashes.
Liability for Defective Road Conditions in Pennsylvania
There are exceptions to Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Immunity Act for potholes and other dangerous highway conditions that make the Commonwealth liable if the dangerous condition creates a reasonably foreseeable risk. If the state had written notice of the dangerous condition of the highway prior to an accident, and took no measures to protect against the dangerous conditions, they may be held accountable.
Pennsylvania law allows lawsuits against the Commonwealth to seek damages for:
- Past and future loss of earnings and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Medical and dental expenses
- Loss of consortium.
The law of our state also creates similar liability for local governmental entities.
Unlike most personal injury claims, lawsuits against government entities for injuries caused by dangerous road conditions require written notice of the claim to be made within six months after the accident. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced defective road accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
If a defective product – such as asphalt or pavement supplied by a private contractor – was a “substantial factor” in causing injury in Pennsylvania, a product liability lawsuit may be filed. Because Pennsylvania is a “strict liability” state, claimants don’t need to show that someone’s negligence caused their property damage or personal injury. Instead, legal claims must show the existence of the defect and a relationship to the harm it caused. Anyone in the chain of distribution can be held liable, including manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers or lessors.
You Need Pennsylvania’s Top Auto Accident Injury Lawyers
The Scranton lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have consistently been named as the Best Lawyers in America, and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients who suffer from car accident-related injuries, especially those injured due to unsafe road conditions. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident caused by defective roads, you deserve experienced legal representation from a firm that understands the challenges you face because of your injuries – a firm that is committed to obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Contact the attorneys at Munley Law® Personal Injury Attorneys today. To schedule a FREE consultation, contact us by calling or filling out our online form. We do not recover a fee unless we win your case for you.