Roads are what connect people to essentials like groceries, healthcare, consumer goods, career opportunities, and social gatherings. As a driver, you have a reasonable expectation for the roads you travel upon to be safely maintained. You’re also responsible for being fully aware while driving, adjusting your speed to match the road conditions, and attempting to avoid obstacles when it’s possible to safely do so.
The balance between the responsibility of the driver and that of the entity tasked with maintaining the road is a delicate one. Who, then, is liable when an auto accident is caused by a road being unmarked or in poor condition? Here’s everything you need to know if you’ve been involved in a crash caused by a bad road.
What to Do After You’ve Crashed
After your vehicle has crashed due to a pothole, crumbling pavement, or other road defect, your first concern is to stay safe. Your second concern is to make sure the incident is documented in case you’ve suffered injuries or damage to your vehicle that will require compensation. Be sure to remove your vehicle from the roadway, if it will still operate. Then, call 911 or the local police department for help. While you’re waiting for the authorities to arrive, assess whether it is safe to leave your vehicle. If traffic isn’t a hazard and you’re not suffering from any apparent severe injuries, take photos of your car and the road conditions that caused the accident. This may include potholes, washed-out road sections, pavement remnants, missing painted lines, or hazards like sharp curves that aren’t marked with a warning sign.
When police and medical responders arrive at the scene, cooperate with a physical exam. Even if you feel sure that you haven’t been injured, your condition needs to be confirmed by a medical professional. Certain types of injuries don’t cause immediate pain, and the adrenaline released during a stressful event can mask symptoms. Reporting an accident is required by law. It also ensures that the incident will be documented by officials whose reports can later be referenced by your insurance company or attorney.
Who is Responsible for Damages Caused by Poor Road Conditions?
If your car has been damaged in an incident caused by road conditions, it’s possible that your auto insurance policy will cover at least a portion of the damage. Most common road condition hazards, such as potholes, are covered under collision insurance, so you’ll have to have purchased a collision policy to benefit from coverage. If you don’t have enough or the right insurance coverage, you may need to move on to seeking compensation from responsible parties.
If the road condition that caused your crash was due to the current weather and was not avoidable by performing regular road maintenance, your claim may not be viable. If the road was clearly damaged, decayed, unmarked, or mismarked, it is possible to pursue compensation from the entity responsible for maintaining the road. For Illinois highways, this is the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Smaller roads and streets are typically maintained by either the city or the county. The matter of liability can become complicated quickly, so it is always recommended that you consult an attorney before making any important decisions about how to proceed.
How Cullotta Bravo Law Can Help You
An auto crash is a startling and traumatic event, even if it isn’t severe. The stress of tracking down liability and handling the decisions and paperwork that come along with an injury claim is not what you need while healing. It is no secret that insurance companies can prey upon parties without representation. You need a personal injury attorney on your side to represent your interests solely and navigate the system to get you the compensation you deserve.
The highly-skilled attorneys at Cullotta Bravo Law Firm have over 30 years of experience fighting for people who have been injured. They know what it’s like to face the burden an injury brings to a person and their family. When you ask them for help, they will fight to get you the compensation you need to move on with your life.
Call Cullotta Bravo Law Firm at (630) 898-7800 or contact us online to get started on a customized plan for your case today.