Dislodged Section of Highway Causes Traffic Problems
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. Traffic was halted and a number of vehicles damaged on August 1 when a large piece of pavement came loose along Interstate 5. According to a representative of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the piece of the roadway was a section measuring two to three feet and became dislodged in lane number three northbound at Richards Boulevard. The incident report released by the CHP stated that while drivers tried to get out of the way of the asphalt chunk and pothole it created, between 10 and 15 vehicles suffered flat fires and might have sustained other damage.
Emergency Repairs to the Road
The incident was reported to the CHP shortly after 5:30 in the morning. Caltrans was notified about the need for emergency road repairs. While traffic was initially affected by the closure of the damaged lane, all traffic heading northbound was held back for a short time while repairs were made. The lanes, except for number three, were reopened while the damaged vehicles were seen to. The lanes were all open at around 7:15 a.m.
Defects Along Roadways Can Lead to Accidents
A study commissioned a few years ago reported that road conditions and poor design were responsible for a high number of traffic accident fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that bad road design, obstructed views, poor signage and other problems contributed to 24 percent of roadway fatalities. Some of the problems that can contribute to an auto accident caused by poor maintenance or design include:
- Potholes and pavement that is uneven
- Steep drop-offs on road shoulders or at the pavement’s edge
- Centerlines that are faded
- Bad lighting
- Standing water caused by bad drainage
- Guardrails that are missing or damaged
- Improperly designed curves
- Missing signage, particularly warning signs
Responsibility for California Highway Maintenance
Caltrans is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of 15,133 miles of highway and over 13,000 bridges in the state. It is also responsible for vegetation control as it impacts roadway safety, signal maintenance and prevention of rock slides onto the roads. In addition, the agency provides for emergency traffic control. When an auto accident has been caused by negligence in these areas, the injured person may seek compensation for any injuries incurred.
How Damaged Roads Can Cause an Accident
Potholes and other road damage can begin with water leaks underneath the pavement, causing it to break up or heave. Soil erosion underneath can also lead to these types of road damage. Road defects can lead to an accident in the following ways:
- Tire blowout: A blown or flattened tire that happens suddenly when traveling at a higher rate of speed can cause the vehicle to go out of control. If the tire comes loose from the rim, it can also strike other vehicles, causing a collision.
- Steering and suspension: Damage to the vehicle’s steering or suspension can be caused by hitting a pothole or other road defect. This can affect the steering of the vehicle and cause a crash.
- Wheels: Hitting a pothole with force can result in cracks or bends in a wheel, resulting in serious damage. This can interfere with the way the vehicle handles. When a collision is caused by defective auto parts, compensation can be recovered through a products liability claim.
Obtaining Compensation in an Injury
Under the California Tort Claims Act, those who are injured or lose a loved one as a result of a defect in the road or other maintenance problems can be compensated for the loss. However, there is a strict timeline in which a claim must be filed against a government entity. For physical injury, wrongful death or a property loss claim, it must be filed within six months, as opposed to the two-year filing date for most other personal injuries. First, the individual must file a claim with the governing entity, whether county, state or other, which has jurisdiction over the location where the accident occurred. This claim must be filed within 45 days. The government entity has another 45 days in which to respond. If the response is no to the claim, then the claimant may file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. Because this can be a complex issue, contacting an injury attorney experienced in government claims can help ensure that deadlines are met and a strong case built for compensation.
Auto Accident Attorney in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. When you or a loved one has been injured in a collision caused by defects in a road or other lack of maintenance, I can offer you free and friendly advice. Phone me at (916) 921-6400 in Sacramento or (800) 404-5400 if you are calling from elsewhere in Northern California.
As a member of milliondollaradvocates.com, I belong to a group of trial attorneys who have won a verdict or settlement over $1 million for a prior client.
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Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/road-construction-asphalt-work-703804/
Source of: Dislodged Section of Highway Causes Traffic Problems – AutoAccident.com
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