Who is responsible for an accident caused by improperly maintained roads?

Improperly designed, constructed, or maintained roads can lead to serious driving accidents and injuries. There are numerous defects that can make a road unsafe, including:

  • Improperly designed or maintained roads.
  • Inadequate lighting of the roadway.
  • Improperly graded curves and lack of a proper shoulder.
  • Potholes and harsh seams, ruts, or grooves in pavement.
  • Signage blocked by overgrown vegetation.
  • Insufficient guardrails or median barriers.
  • Lack of roadside warnings regarding known hazards.
  • Missing, poorly placed, or malfunctioning traffic signals.
  • Missing or broken guardrails.
  • Inadequate drainage that leads to water buildup on roads, creating a hydroplaning risk.

Sovereign Immunity

Under the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, state and local governments are generally immune from civil lawsuits. There are exceptions, however. According to Alaska statute 09.50.250, if a governmental agency or employee has taken a lawful action that results in your being injured, that governmental agency may be held liable for your injuries. Damages resulting from a single injury or death are capped at $400,000, and punitive damages against the state are not allowed. However, if the action that ultimately results in your injury is unlawful, the governmental agency cannot be held liable. Only those individuals responsible for your injuries may be sued.

You Need an Attorney

If you’ve had an accident caused by poor road design or maintenance, you should report the accident to your own insurance company immediately. You can also pursue a claim against the government entity responsible for designing, building, or maintaining the road.

Since claims against the government are frequently different from those asserted against private parties, victims of motor vehicle accidents caused by road defects need an attorney familiar with these types of claims. Other drivers, the local government, or the state government could be responsible for your injuries, and an experienced attorney can identify the proper parties to litigate against. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.