Vehicle accidents can lead to severe injuries for drivers and passengers. While most people think of car accidents as being caused by driver error, the reality is that accidents can also be caused by defects in the roadway. At Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C., our skilled and experienced attorneys understand that there are various ways that a roadway can be defective and cause significant injuries. Our Charlotte defective roadway attorneys are here to help if you are loved one has been injured. Let us investigate the incident and work to secure any compensation you may be entitled to.
How do roadways become defective in NC?
A detailed investigation into the causes of car accidents often uncovers evidence that a defective roadway caused the incident. Some of the most common examples of how roadway defects can cause car accidents include the following:
- Utility poles, signs, or landscaping that blocks a driver’s view
- Inadequate shoulders on the highways
- Poorly designed entry and exit ramps on highways
- Stop signs or yield signs obscured the obstacles
- Defective traffic signals
- Missing speed limit or other warning signs
- Improperly graded roadsides
- Debris that has not been removed from the roadway
- Incomplete construction lacking adequate warning signs
According to the latest reporting year of data available from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, there were more than 281,000 total collisions reported. Out of these incidents, we know that there were 1,422 fatalities and more than 125,000 injuries. While most of these accidents were caused by driver errors, many were caused by a roadway defect.
Steps to take immediately following an accident caused by a defective roadway
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a defective roadway in or around the Charlotte area, there are various steps that you can take immediately following the incident that could help you recover maximum compensation. These incidents can become incredibly complex, and any steps taken by crash victims could go a long way towards determining liability.
- Call 911 to report the incident: Law enforcement officials need to be made aware of these accidents as soon as possible. The police will come to the scene and conduct a preliminary investigation. In many cases, they will be able to determine fault, and they may notate that the incident occurred because of a defect in the roadway.
- Seek immediate medical care: All crash victims must seek immediate medical care. This accomplishes the goal of ensuring that a victim receives the care that they need for any injuries they have sustained. This also ensures that a direct link between the incident and the injuries has been established.
- Gather evidence: If it is safe to do so at the scene of a crash, victims can begin gathering evidence that could help determine liability. This can include using a smartphone or some other type of camera to take photographs of everything at the scene. This can include vehicle damage, defects in the roadway, debris, skid marks, injuries, traffic and weather conditions, and more. Additionally, the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses should be written down so they can be contacted later.
- Contact your insurance carrier: Insurance carriers do need to know that an accident has occurred, even if there are no other vehicles involved. Failing to report a crash to the insurance carrier could significantly delay any eventual settlement.
- Call a Charlotte car accident attorney: A skilled Charlotte vehicle accident lawyer can use their resources to obtain and preserve any evidence needed to prove liability. An attorney can also work to gather any records from government entities pertaining to the area of the roadway in question.
- Continue all medical care: All vehicle accident victims in Charlotte need to continue medical care until their doctor says they have reached maximum medical improvement. Failing to follow through with recommended treatment could result in the insurance carrier delaying or denying the claim.
Who can be held liable in these cases?
If a defective roadway is believed to have caused an accident, and the party that is liable is a municipal or state government entity, then it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover compensation. Claims against the state of North Carolina or any local government in the state can be filed under the North Carolina Tort Claims Act.
Any injury claim must be made within three years from the date the injury occurred. If the incident involved a fatality, a wrongful death claim must be made against the government entity within two years from the date of death. All claims made against state or local governments in North Carolina must be filed with the state Industrial Commission.
How long do you have to file a defective roadway lawsuit?
Any person who has been the victim of an accident caused by a defective roadway in or around Charlotte needs to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in these cases. This is particularly important if a claim has to be made against a state or local government. In many areas across the country, personal injury claims against a government entity must be made relatively quickly, usually in a timeframe much shorter than the traditional statute of limitations. In North Carolina, any claim against the local or state government must be filed within three years from the day the injury occurred. However, if the defective roadway resulted in a fatality, family members must file a wrongful death claim against the government entity within two years from the date of death. All of these claims must be filed with the state Industrial Commission.
Let us help you with your case today
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident caused by a roadway defect in North Carolina, contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C., we are going to investigate the incident and work to secure any compensation you may be entitled to from the parties responsible. This could include:
- Coverage of your medical expenses
- Lost wages if you cannot work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of personal enjoyment damages
- Property damage expenses
Our team understands what it takes to win cases against governmental authorities in these situations. When you need a Charlotte defective roadway attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 704-850-6322.