West Palm Beach Road Defect Car Accident Lawyers
Did you get hurt in a car accident due to a road defect? Do your injuries require medical treatment that you can’t afford? If so, contact Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. so we can pursue the compensation you need from the at-fault party.
Road defects are common throughout the country. Whether it’s a pothole caused by wear and tear or a missing guardrail caused by inadequate maintenance, a road defect can result in a serious car crash. If you sustain injuries, you have the right to hold the responsible entity liable.
Typically, the state or local government is responsible for building, maintaining, and repairing roadways. They’re supposed to ensure the safety of all motorists by implementing safe designs and fixing damage promptly. If they fail in their duties, they should be the ones to pay for the consequences.
Road defect cases are complicated, but our car accident attorneys have the skillset and know-how needed to navigate these cases and secure the financial reward you’re owed. Call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. at 561.689.8180 to discuss your legal options with an experienced West Palm Beach road defect accident lawyer today.
The Cause of Road Defects
Poor road conditions result from three main components: design issues, inadequate maintenance, and dangerous construction areas.
Engineers come up with road designs that allow the safe flow of traffic throughout cities. If they make a mistake, accidents can occur that lead to injuries and fatalities. The most common road defects due to design issues include:
- Narrow lanes
- Poor lighting
- Inadequate or missing shoulder
- Blind curves
- Insufficient guardrails
- Excessive grade
- Obstructed traffic signs and signals
There are companies responsible for performing routine maintenance on all roads. If there’s damage, they should repair it immediately or remove hazardous objects that could lead to an accident. Defects, such as potholes, could create a dangerous situation for motorists. It can cause a driver to lose control and collide with another vehicle. Examples of inadequate maintenance include:
- Faded paint
- Cracked pavement
- Debris and other hazards in the middle of the road
- Lack of appropriate signs
- Malfunctioning traffic lights
- Damage to structures, such as bridges
Dangerous Construction Areas
Construction is a vital part of the economy. New roadways, businesses, and residential buildings appear in growing cities. Unfortunately, it can create hazards for drivers. If the construction workers don’t take the necessary safety precautions, it could lead to a car accident.
Construction employees should place adequate warning signs and traffic cones around the site to notify drivers of the potential dangers. Without proper signage, people can’t safely maneuver through a construction area. It becomes especially challenging at night. There must be streetlights and warning signals, so drivers don’t crash into concrete barriers or construction vehicles.
Holding Parties Responsible for a Road Defect Accident
Pursuing legal action after a motor vehicle crash involving defective roadways is complicated. Various laws could prevent you from filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. There’s a specific procedure you must follow to recover the compensation you need for your losses.
It’s crucial that you hire a West Palm Beach road defect accident lawyer to help. We’ll use our experience and resources to determine who was at fault and the appropriate legal process we need to take. Responsible parties may include:
A government entity. Sovereign immunity protects government entities from legal action under specific circumstances. However, some exceptions could entitle you to financial compensation. For example, you might be able to file an insurance claim if you can prove your injury resulted from someone else’s negligence.
A private company hired by the government. Construction companies, engineering firms, and other third-party companies are responsible for performing work on roads. Government entities hire them to create new designs and repair damage. Since these companies and employees aren’t part of the government, they don’t have the same protection from legal action. They could face an insurance claim or lawsuit if they cause a road defect that results in a car accident.
Business and property owners. Road defects, such as potholes, can happen anywhere. Parking lots are common areas where defects can cause a crash. The person who owns the property or business could become liable for the victim’s injuries and expenses.
Another Driver. All motorists must follow traffic laws and adjust their driving for certain road conditions. If there’s a defect, they should slow down or merge into another lane to ensure the safety of those around them. If they’re not paying attention or make an error that harms another driver or passenger, they could be held liable.
Navigating Sovereign Immunity After a Car Accident
Sovereign immunity prohibits injured parties from suing government entities after a car crash that results in injuries or property damage. However, if you can prove any of the following circumstances existed, you might be eligible for a claim against the government entity, agency, or employee:
- Your injury was the result of their wrongful act, omission, or negligence.
- You can compensate your losses with monetary damages.
- If the party wasn’t a government entity, agency, or employee, they would be liable under similar circumstances.
There are also some limitations that could affect an accident victim who chooses to move forward with a claim or lawsuit:
- The state has the right to appeal any decision made in a legal case.
- Unless caused intentionally, government employees can’t be held personally liable for injuries. Instead, the lawsuit must get filed against the government entity or agency.
- Compensation cannot exceed $200,000.
- Cases against the Florida government prohibits punitive damages or an award for accrued interest.
Begin Building Your Case At the Accident Scene
To protect your rights to financial compensation after a road defect car accident, you should follow the following steps:
- Call 911 to report to the crash. Wait for an officer to arrive and perform an investigation. You can request a copy of the traffic crash report when it becomes available online. It will include details that could help you with an insurance claim.
- Obtain information from other drivers involved in the accident, such as their names, phone numbers, and auto insurance details.
- Write down the names and phone numbers of people who saw the accident happen. They could provide witness statements that confirm how the crash occurred.
- Take note of the exact location. Your West Palm Beach road defect accident lawyer will adequately research the area to determine the entity responsible for maintaining and repairing the roads.
- Take pictures of the defect, accident scene, and damage.
- See a doctor for an evaluation of your injuries. If the doctor refers you to follow up with other medical providers, follow their orders.
- Hire a West Palm Beach lawyer.
How to Determine the Value of Your Case
You have multiple options for pursuing compensation after a road defect car crash.
No-fault laws in Florida require injured individuals to file a claim with their auto insurance company after an accident. Personal injury protection (PIP) is coverage that comes with a minimum limit of $10,000. You can use this coverage to pay for medical expenses, such as surgeries, physical therapy, and prescription medications.
It works much like health insurance by paying upfront for medical bills. All you have to do is submit your bills to the insurance company, and they will process the claim for payment.
PIP covers up to 80% of the total limit available for medical expenses. It also provides compensation for lost wages if you’re unable to return to your job because of your injury. Policies allow up to 60% of the available limit.
If another driver’s actions contributed to the accident, you could file a claim with their auto insurance company. Liability coverage provides compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Out of pocket costs
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Disability or disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
You’re only eligible to file a liability insurance claim if you use your PIP coverage first and your injuries meet one of the serious injury thresholds:
- Significant and permanent disfigurement or scarring.
- A permanent injury that doesn’t include disfigurement or scaring.
- Permanent and significant loss of bodily function.
You can also file a liability claim if the at-fault party is a government entity, business owner, property owner, or third-party company. They likely have general liability insurance that covers an accident victim’s damages. Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. will help you review the insurance policies available and determine the best course of action to pursue.
If your PIP limit doesn’t cover all your damages and the at-fault driver doesn’t carry liability coverage, you can file a UM claim with your insurance company. Uninsured/underinsured motorist is available in any of the following situations:
- The at-fault party doesn’t have liability insurance;
- The at-fault party’s liability limits aren’t high enough to compensate all damages; or
- Damages were the result of a hit and run accident.
When you file a UM claim, you can pursue the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Car repair or replacement costs
Why Choose Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A.?
Our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers understand how disruptive this situation can be. You’re in pain, struggling to pay your medical bills, and don’t know how to handle a legal case. You deserve to hold the negligent party liable for their reckless behavior. We’ll help you in your fight for justice.
Call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. at 561.689.8180 if you were the victim of a car accident caused by a road defect.