Road Hazards are Dangerous
Determining liability after any car accident is not always easy. But it can be even more challenging when accidents caused by road hazards in Toledo occur. Road hazards can encompass many factors. But generally, they are broken down into three basic categories: damage to the road surface, improperly installed or maintained signage (and failure to warn of hazards), and faulty engineering or maintenance practices. The most common road hazards include:
- Potholes, rough or uneven pavement, and other defects
- Improperly marked road construction zones
- Poorly marked intersections and railroad crossings
- Debris on the road
- Roadside hazards
- Sight obstructions
In almost all car accident cases involving road hazards, determining blame – and financial liability – depends on more than who was negligent. Understanding if a private or government entity was at fault makes many road hazard accidents challenging. A car accident lawyer can help sort out the details.
In many of the above cases, it is the duty of the city or county to repair the hazards promptly. If they fail to do so, the Ohio and Southeast Michigan car accident lawyers at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can establish if you have grounds for a lawsuit due to negligence by either the government entity itself, or a private contractor that did not fulfill the duty charged by that government. But this is not always easy. And on top of that, according to Ohio Revised Codes §§ 2744.03, 04 and 05, certain immunities shield governments from negligence-based liability and cap damages. These restrictions are generally more limiting than those that govern private contractor liability when performing services to a government entity.
Claims Against the Government
If a car accident is caused by potholes or other sorts of debris left in the middle of a public road, it is possible that the liability could lie with the state or municipal government directly responsible for road maintenance. But often, governments will use what is known as “sovereign immunity” either to limit its liability or to “pass the buck” onto a private contractor it hired to perform the work. And in Ohio, a claim must be filed within two years with the Ohio Court of Claims: [O.R.C. § 2743.16]. If a notice of claim is not filed within this period, then injured plaintiffs waive any subsequent right to bring a claim.
Claims Against a Private Party
When accidents caused by road hazards in Toledo are the fault of a private party’s negligence (such as a truck’s cargo falling onto a highway or improperly marked road construction zones by a contracted maintenance company), general principles of accident injury law apply. The statute of limitations to file an injury claim in civil court is also two years from the date the accident occurred: [O. R. C. § 2305.10].
Private-party liability also applies to workers for the road contractor (or trucking company in the example above) under the legal principle of respondent superior, which holds an employer liable for the harmful acts committed by its employees when they perform the normal duties of their employment. To uphold a claim against a road-contracting employer based on respondent superior, the injured plaintiff’s car accident lawyer must prove that the negligent employee caused the accident during the time and scope of their employment.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by road hazards in Toledo, car accident attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can explain if you may have grounds for a claim; and against whom. For more than 60 years, we have protected injured accident victims throughout Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Contact us for a free consultation at 419-843-6663 or fill out our online contact form.