Auto Accidents – Deteriorating Highway Shoulder Defect Cases

Deteriorating Highway Shoulders

Deteriorating highway shoulders can cause auto accidents with personal injuries and wrongful deaths on our roadways. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says about 11,000 people get hurt and some 160 people actually die per year in motor vehicle accidents associated with dangerous pavement edges around highway shoulders of the roadway. The figures have resulted in a cost of approximately $1.2 billion.

The highway shoulder may be in a defective state if there is a dangerous drop-off zone between the roadway edge paving and the shoulder. These drop-offs are really unsafe when uneven height differences are present between road and shoulder surfaces. What sometimes happens here is vehicle stability is jeopardized and causes the driver to lose handling of the car.

Common causes of highway shoulders becoming dangerously defective may be roadway erosion and/or roadway wear and tear. This seems to be the most common cause of uneven pavement edge drop-offs. However, resurfacing performed on a roadway without including a “proper” transition in to the shoulder has also been noted as a possible factor in pavement edge defects.

To sue for a claim arising from defective highway shoulders, your auto accident attorney must prove that a design, construction, or roadway maintenance defect was present and that it existed at the location of your auto accident and that it caused or contributed to your crash.


A good personal injury attorney will investigate the scene of your auto accident right away and will usually use experts in roadway design, defect and maintenance. They will many times use a accident reconstruction expert to present the best case evidence.

Photographs will be taken right away of the roadway in question. Time is so important as valuable evidence may be lost, removed or repaired as the days progress.

All police reports, photographs and witness statements will be obtained.

A thorough investigation will take place to determine and obtain things like maintenance records from local and state department of transportation to help uncover possible design problems or failure to maintain roadways in a safe and acceptable condition.


For information on how to choose the right accident attorney, click here.

If you or a family member has been seriously injured in an auto accident caused by the negligence of someone else, I can help.

My name is Ed Smith, and I’ve been helping auto accident victims secure the medical care and compensation they deserve for almost three decades. I’d like to hear about the serious injuries you, or a family member has and discuss what can be done about it. So call me at 916-921-6400.  If you live in Elk Grove you may contact our Elk Grove office at (916) 694-0002.  Out of area callers may use our Toll Free number 800-404-5400 or contact me online for a FREE, no obligation consultation at

My firm not only represents clients who have suffered personal injuries  damage in automobile accidents, but also motorcycle accidents, truck accidents and bus accidents as well.

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