Road Defects Are More Than Annoying

Nowadays, every state across the country has a problem with roads being in less than great repair, including Texas.

Unfortunately, the Lone Star state is known for its potholes, never-ending road construction, and odd soft spots that can send your vehicle uncontrollably bouncing down the highway. 

Along with damage to your vehicle, often the suspension, Texas also sees a high number of accidents caused by road defects. You may be eligible for compensation if you’re injured in an accident caused by a road defect.

What is a Road Defect?

Calling a road defective doesn’t necessarily mean you can file for compensation—the term is pretty broad, but it does have limitations. 

For example, a few pebbles on the road may be annoying to drive over. A pebble can also fly up and scratch your windshield, but this doesn’t mean the road is defective under legal standards. 

You may feel differently, but it’s up to you to cover the windshield repairs. So, what does Texas consider a road defect?

  • Broken and missing guardrails, non-working traffic lights, and a lack of lane dividers are indications of poor road maintenance. These issues can make the road unnecessarily unsafe for drivers.
  • Construction crews that aren’t following safety procedures can result in accidents. While this doesn’t necessarily mean the road is defective, it can make it unsafe for drivers. An example is blocking parts of the road without installing warning signs. However, you can also make the road unsafe if you don’t follow the rules in known construction zones.
  • Road debris is an example of a road defect. The debris can fall from a vehicle or be blown onto the road. Some common examples include blown tires, loose hubcaps, and unsecured cargo. Hitting the debris can cause injury and vehicle damage. Trying to avoid the debris can send you into another lane where you risk hitting another vehicle.
  • Potholes and uneven road surfaces are common in the Lone Star. Heavy rains and hot temperatures can cause the asphalt to crack and occasionally melt. Yes, it can get hot enough for asphalt to melt in parts of Texas. Loose gravel and potholes can cause you to lose control of your vehicle resulting in a traffic accident.

Unsafe road design can include slopes, dips, steep drop-offs, and dangerous lane markings. When caution signs aren’t present, drivers’ often aren’t aware of the dangers. The lack of caution signs can be considered negligence under Texas law, which may also be grounds for a personal injury case if it results in a vehicle accident.

How to Prove Negligence in a Road Defect Accident Case

As mentioned earlier, not all road defects automatically mean you have grounds for filing a personal injury or even property damage case. 

You must prove someone’s negligence is responsible for the accident, but this doesn’t mean suing the road. If you try to go this route, your case will be tossed out of court, probably after a few chuckles from the judge.

To prove negligence, your personal injury case must meet four criteria:

  1. Duty: This means proving that either the government, another driver or the road construction/maintenance crew is responsible for maintaining the safety of the road. Something to consider: if an accident and/or injuries occur on a private road, you may not have grounds for a personal injury case. Every case is different, so consult with an accident attorney before you decide to not file for compensation.
  2. Breach of duty: Breach of duty is proving the person or entity responsible for maintaining the road failed in their duty. You must prove they knew about the defect and failed to act appropriately. The action can be to make the necessary repairs or to simply place warning signs.
  3. Causation: Proving causation can be a little more difficult in some accident cases. You must prove the failure to repair the defect or warn drivers about the potential danger is the direct cause of the accident.
  4. Harm: The last step of proving negligence is harm, which means proving that you suffered injuries and/or property damage as a direct result of the accident. Medical records and repair bills can be entered as proof in most road defect accident cases.

Proving negligence isn’t always easy, which is why it’s best to have an accident attorney on your side.

Contact an Attorney About Your Road Defect Case

Road defects, ranging from potholes to poorly designed intersections, can indeed lead to serious injuries and substantial property damage. Proving negligence in such cases can be complex, as it often requires establishing that the responsible party failed to maintain safe road conditions, which is where the expertise of a legal professional becomes invaluable. 

Consulting with an attorney who has experience in handling road defect cases can significantly enhance your ability to effectively prove negligence. An attorney can help gather necessary evidence, navigate legal procedures, and advocate on your behalf, thereby increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome in your claim for damages and injuries sustained.