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February 11, 2021

Can I File for Compensation for an Injury Caused by a Damaged Road?

by Evan Breaux | Attorney | 0 comments

When it comes to car accident liability, the state of Louisiana follows an at-fault system. This rule indicates that the at-fault driver, once legally established, and any damages to vehicle, property, or person, is the responsibility of the accountable driver. But when it comes to a car accident that results in personal injury caused by poor road conditions, who is liable? This is an especially relevant question in Louisiana, where poor road conditions make up for 25% of the state’s roads and climate conditions have caused natural disasters for which preparation and adequate funding is important.

In 2019, Louisiana was named the state with the second worst road conditions, trailing behind South Carolina in a nation-wide study completed by Consumer Affairs. According to the publication, of the over 60,000 miles of road in Louisiana, roughly 25% were in poor condition. Residents who participated in the survey complained of potholes, bumps, and sinking roads, all of which attribute to potential car accidents.

According to the Center for Analytics Research and Transportation Safety, poor road conditions cause hundreds of serious car accidents that result in severe damage and injury. When it comes to compensation for injury, however, it can get complicated, which is why having legal help on your side can be beneficial. If you find yourself a victim of a car accident due to poor road conditions, call Breaux Law Firm. We’re here to help guide you through the process and get you the compensation you deserve.

Who is Responsible for Poor Road Conditions that Cause Injury?

When it comes to Louisiana’s roads, there are several parties at play. Roads can be maintained by cities, towns, counties, parishes, the state, or the federal government, depending on where they are geographically located. Additionally, depending on the kind of maintenance required, responsibility for the upkeep of a roadway may be shared by several government agencies. So, if you’ve been injured due to a damaged road and seek compensation, it’s important to know who maintains the road.

If you hit a pothole and are injured, filing a claim for compensation might not be so easy. There are laws in place that allow the government entity in charge of specific roads to first discover damaged roads and then to repair those roads in a specified amount of time. However, some entities will only claim responsibility for a damaged road if certain conditions are met, such as:

  • The entity had prior knowledge of or should have known about the damaged road
  • The road was not repaired despite the entity’s knowledge of the damage
  • The road was not repaired in the allotted time

The injured party can claim compensation if they prove that the poor road conditions caused the injury and can verify that authorities were negligent in the maintenance of the road.

What to Do in the Event of an Accident

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to poor road conditions, report the incident. You can report the incident to the entity that is responsible for the road or to the local police. Your report can be used as evidence that you have been injured due to poor road conditions and can also help prevent additional injuries to other drivers if the responsible parties are aware of the damaged roads.

When it comes to pursuing legal action against government agencies in charge of maintenance, some cannot be sued by law. Louisiana, however, does allow lawsuits against state agencies with certain limitations, which are:

  • Lawsuits against government agencies can only be filed in a state court
  • No lawsuit is allowed to exceed $500,000
  • The funds must be placed in a reversionary trust

Additionally, it’s important to note all details of an injury when it comes to pursuing a claim against governmental agencies, such as time and place of accident and other relevant information. The more information a claimant has, the better it is for the claim. For help with the process and better understanding what the law says, it’s important to get in touch with a qualified attorney.

Since there are other legal limitations and procedures to sift through, the filing of a claim can be intimidating. With over thirty years of experience in personal injury law, it’s best to call Breaux Law Firm for help, especially if you’re dealing with severe injury or an unfortunate loss of a loved one due to disastrous road conditions.