Dangerous Roads in California – Who's Liable?

When an intersection, bend in the highway or stretch of road is repeatedly the scene of car, truck or motorcycle accidents, poor road design or faulty construction may be involved. Initially, design defects or construction flaws may not be suspected in a car accident, especially when more than one vehicle is involved in a crash. However, when reconstructing a car wreck, investigators may determine that various road design and construction defects contributed to an accident. Here, a municipality, construction company, county or Caltrans itself may be liable.

Poorly Designed Roads

When roads or highways are constructed, they must be properly graded to allow for water drainage and an even surface between roadway and shoulder. Differences in the level of pavement can cause a driver to suddenly lurch to the right or left. This propensity is especially dangerous when a driver inadvertently or intentionally pulls over onto the shoulder of the road. Alternatively, grading that results in water collecting on the road when it rains can lead to hydroplaning.

Sudden sharp curves or bends in a road should be properly marked with signs and reduced speed limits. Entry and exit ramps should be clearly marked and should not include sudden dips or unreasonably sharp turns. Intersections that sit at the bend of a curve or over the top of a hill should be properly marked and may need traffic lights to decrease the likelihood of collisions.

Additionally, lack of guardrails along bridges, slight bends in the road or embankments can lead to serious injury or death when accidents cause cars or trucks to leave the road.

Road Maintenance, Road Construction and Car Accidents

Municipalities that fail to trim back brush or tree branches along roadways may be liable when overgrowth obscures signs that warn drivers of steep grades, curves or dips in the road. Additionally, Caltrans or local counties can be held liable when potholes or broken pavement cause serious accidents. Here, it’s important to work with a personal injury attorney who can immediately take pictures of potholes or obscured signage before maintenance and repair crews fix the problem that played a role in an accident.

In accidents involving road construction, it’s important to determine whether or not construction crews were in compliance with applicable regulations governing road construction in the state of California. If traffic was diverted into an oncoming lane in order to make road repairs, was there sufficient signage warning drivers? If a construction crew was resurfacing an area road, were there grooves, uneven pavement or loose gravel that played a role in causing an accident? Did construction zone workers contribute to an accident by failing to properly use cones and signs to regulate traffic flow through a construction zone?

Contact San Francisco Dangerous Roads Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

If your accident was caused or complicated by dangerous road conditions, don’t expect Caltrans or the municipality involved to step forward and take responsibility. Since preserving evidence and gathering eyewitness testimony is crucial in these kinds of cases, it’s important to consult an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. To schedule a free consultation and discuss your case, contact San Francisco defective road design attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today.

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