Were you impacted by the recent hurricanes?
Lake Charles Defective Highway Attorneys
If you’ve ever driven down a Louisiana road and suddenly hit a pothole thinking, “yikes, that’s going to hurt,” you’ve probably been the victim of poor road maintenance. However, poor maintenance and defective highways don’t just hurt your car. They can cause serious accidents that may result in traumatic injuries. Louisiana residents use the state’s roads and highways daily. The government’s failure to maintain this basic infrastructure not only costs you money in the form of car repairs. It can also cost you your life.
What most Lake Charles residents don’t know is that if a defective highway or poor infrastructure conditions result in a significant accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and property damage. Yet, holding the entities responsible for paying that compensation can be complicated. Thankfully, the legal team at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC has the resources and experience to hold negligent entities like a government or third-party contractor accountable for their failures.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident and believe that poor road conditions or a defective highway were to blame, contact the Lake Charles car accident lawyers of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC. We can review your situation and answer questions related to your claim. For a free and confidential legal consultation, contact us at 337-800-8800.
The Problem with Defective Roads
The scope of the problem with Louisiana roads and infrastructure is much greater than residents realize. Articles published in the Greater Baton Rouge Business Journal and the Lafayette Daily Advertiser suggest that poor road conditions cost Louisiana drivers at least $7.6 billion a year in extra vehicle maintenance costs and repairs. The poor road conditions in the state are also responsible for costing drivers $3 billion each year in wasted time and lost fuel due to congestion and construction slowdowns.
Not only are these poorly maintained roads costing people money, but they also cost people their lives. Between the years 2015 through 2019, the state recorded 3,738 traffic collision fatalities. A portion of those may be attributed to the state’s crumbling infrastructure and the poor condition of roads, highways, and bridges.
What is a Defective Highway or a Road Defect?
Defective highways or road defects often result from flaws in the design or construction of a piece of infrastructure that makes the road reasonably unsafe. These defects may be the result of negligence or poor maintenance, and because of these defects, the roads do not rise to the standard of what would conventionally be considered safe.
When one of these defects is responsible for causing an accident, the injured parties may attempt to hold accountable the entity that negligently caused the defect. Too often, people consider these types of accidents to be a “freak” occurrence, something that they’ll end up paying for out of their own pocket, never realizing that they may be due compensation. However, there are ways to get your insurance company or the party responsible for the defect to pay for your medical expenses.
Common Highway Defects in Louisiana
When you start talking about road defects the first thing that jumps into most people’s minds is the pothole. Potholes are among the most common defects found in roadways across the state of Louisiana, but they aren’t the only defects that can cause drivers problems. Some of the most common defects that plague Louisiana highways and other pieces of infrastructure include:
- Inadequate road shoulders
- Poor drainage features and standing water issues
- Improperly repaired storm damage
- Missing road signs
- Improper road signs
- Uneven lanes or poorly painted lanes
- Inadequate safety features on highways such as poor lighting or a lack of guardrails or barriers
- Significant shoulder drop-offs
- Inadequate safety features on bridges
- Vegetation that obstructs traffic signals or signs
- Poorly executed construction work
These types of defects can be caused by a variety of different factors. Often, road and highway defects are the results of poor maintenance procedures. While inclement weather conditions may make some defects worse, like potholes, improper maintenance of roadways is what makes them appear in the first place.
When potholes keep reappearing, especially in the same area, it can mean that poor repair work or poor construction execution is partially to blame. The government has a responsibility to properly maintain the functionality of all public roads. This means properly repairing roadways, trimming back vegetation growth, and maintaining working lights, signals, signs, and safety features.
Defects such as these may also be the result of poor or negligent planning on the part of a government or third-party contractor. Louisiana is no stranger to storms and bad weather. If a road does not have proper and adequate drainage and road conditions deteriorate, that may be the result of inadequate safety planning and poor maintenance. The same can be said for a dangerous curve that bears no sign of a safety or guard rail. That poorly designed highway could cost a driver their life.
Injuries Caused by Defective Road Accidents
Hitting a pothole may rattle your teeth, but when a pothole or other highway defect causes a serious crash, the results can be tragic. Road defects can cause significant collisions, including rollover accidents, T-bone collisions, and rear-end accidents, to name a few. These types of accidents can leave victims with significant injuries that take both time and money to recover from.
Defective highway accidents can be even more destructive because highways have higher speed limits. That means the resulting collision can often be catastrophic. Some of the most common types of injuries that can be suffered in defective highway accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal damage
- Wrongful death
Who Is Responsible for a Highway Defect Accident in Louisiana?
One of the most difficult aspects of a defective highway claim is proving fault and holding the negligent entity responsible for their actions. Why can this process be so complicated? Because ordinarily, a government entity is responsible for the care and maintenance of state highways. Most government agencies have some form of immunity when it comes to lawsuits.
A suit may still be possible. However, a claimant must successfully prove that the government entity was negligent and failed to fulfill its obligation to provide citizens with a reasonably safe roadway. This can be extremely difficult, especially if you don’t have an attorney on your side with experience handling claims against the government.
Still, holding the government accountable for poor road conditions is not entirely unheard of. The state, as recently as 2018, paid $42 million to settle lawsuits involving victims killed or maimed by poor road conditions. Claims ranged from accidents involving poor drainage and water accumulation on La. Hwy 1 to claims of maintenance problems on a particular curve of La. Hwy. 308.
When it comes to holding entities responsible for highway or road defects, an investigation will be needed to determine which of a number of parties may be to blame. Depending on the location of the accident, you may be able to seek compensation from one or more of the following entities after a defective road accident. These entities include:
- City or local government
- State government
- Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development
- Federal government
- Public agency
- Private construction firm
- Private landscaping business
Again, for a case against one of these agencies to be successful, you must have the evidence to prove that the accident was the result of negligence on the part of the agency and that they failed in their duty to keep the public reasonably safe. This can be a mammoth challenge, especially when you consider the fact that these government agencies have a wealth of lawyers and resources at their disposal to fight these types of claims.
If you’ve been involved in an accident and suspect that a highway defect was to blame, you need to immediately contact a knowledgeable and experienced Lake Charles attorney. At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, our attorneys have both the experience and the resources it takes to investigate your claim and gather the evidence necessary to mount a strong claim for compensation. We are tenacious when it comes to representing you and fighting to achieve a positive outcome for your situation.
Contact an Experienced Lake Charles Defective Highway Attorney Today
A defective highway accident doesn’t have to leave you hurt both physically and financially. You may have the right to recover compensation from the government or other agency if their negligence was responsible for causing the defect that resulted in your accident.
If you suspect your accident was caused by a road or highway defect, reach out to the legal team at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC for advice. We can review your situation and lay out all your legal options for recovering compensation for your injuries. For a free and confidential consultation, contact us at 337-800-8800 today. We want to help you seek the compensation that you deserve.