The poor and/or negligent maintenance of roads and sidewalks can compromise the safety on the roads. If you get involved in an accident caused by poor road conditions or maintenance, you may be entitled to compensation for damage and/or injuries.
What can be the signs of poor road maintenance?
- Uneven road surfaces
- Lack of signs
- Inappropriate sign placement
- Poor road drainage
- Lack of warning signs regarding potential hazards
- Malfunctioning traffic signals
- Inappropriate road materials
- Broken guardrails
- Poor road lighting (for instance due to burned-out street lights)
Who is responsible for the road maintenance?
The Government and/or other authorities (such as the Municipalities etc.) are responsible for maintaining the roads in good condition in order to ensure the safety and the protection of its users.
In order to increase one’s chances of success in such cases, one should be able to prove that the accident was actually caused by the road conditions and that the authorities were negligent in the road maintenance. For instance, one could prove that the authorities knew or should have known about the poor road conditions and failed to take action (repair them) within a reasonable amount of time. Generally speaking, the government can be informed of such road conditions through individuals’ reports and through their own road surveys. As a result, it is essential to collect as much evidence as possible in order to support and maximize one’s chances of success.
So, how to gather evidence in order to support your claim?
Document the accident by writing down all the relevant information:
- the location, where the accident took place (for instance the name of the street)
- the exact location of the poor conditions that have caused the accident
- the physical characteristics in detail of the poor conditions, for instance, write down the dimensions (size and depth) of the pothole or mention/describe any damaged or missing road signs
- the names and contact details of any witnesses that may be present
Take photographs of the following:
- the damaged vehicles
- the location
- signs of poor road maintenance / road conditions
- any road markings etc.
Contact the police and report the accident
It is essential to report the incident to the authorities. The documentation and evidence collected by the police may be used during the examination of the case.
Collect any further information
As already mentioned, it is crucial to prove that the authority, responsible for the maintenance of the roads in that particular area, knew or should have known about the poor road conditions and failed to take action. In order to do so, you can speak with the people living nearby, who could provide you with vital information on the poor road conditions, on the frequency of accidents that happen at that particular spot, on any reports/complaints they have submitted to the authorities regarding the poor road maintenance etc.
Please note that is essential to act quickly if you have been involved in such an accident and are interested in filing a claim for compensation, as timeframes and deadlines may apply.
For legal advice, you can get in touch with our team.