Multiple forces coalesce to form
traffic accidents. The cause can be any number of factors and any combination of factors.
Inexperience, inattentiveness, recklessness, wantonness, weather conditions,
and the like may factor into the equation.
While this may seem obvious to some,
experienced Poughkeepsie car accident attorneys know that accidents may have been caused by the conditions of the road
itself. Negligent maintenance, defects in roadway design, and defectively
constructed roads cause numerous accidents in the Mid-Hudson Valley region.
Most motorists are unaware of these defects and you should know that defective
roadway conditions that caused your accident are something from which
you may deserve compensation.
The defects to which we refer are potholes, eroding roads and shoulders,
missing or improperly placed guardrails, missing signage, as well as posts,
beams, and sign poles placed too near to the roadway. As with any negligence
action, several elements must be proved in order to gain compensation.
To prove a prima facie case of negligent, you will need to establish the
existence of a duty, a breach of that duty, such breach was the proximate
cause, and of damages. In terms of negligent roadway design or maintenance,
a plaintiff must prove that the party charged with constructing or maintaining
the road owed a duty to the injured motorist or pedestrian. Then it must
be proved that this duty was breached and that the breach was the proximate
cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Lastly, the damages suffered
must be proved.
negligence claimed is based on damage from improper roadway maintenance, the plaintiff
must prove that the responsible party had notice of the condition and
had time to repair the defect. If the claim is based on negligent construction
and/or design, proof must be introduced showing what the proper industry
standard was along with a showing of the deviation from that standard.
Expert testimony from an engineer, for example, might be needed in order
to adequately prove what the proper standard is within the industry.
Lastly, you might be thinking that governments are typically the parties
responsible for constructing and maintaining roadways. Can a governmental
entity be liable for negligence? Yes. The concept of sovereign immunity
has largely been eroded in New York. Lawmakers have created laws by which
the state has consented to the prospect of civil liability. There is still
a qualified immunity, but such immunity is not absolute and it may be
pierced in certain situations where there is negligence.
A civil action against the state founded in negligent roadway design will
require proof that the government’s construction plan had no reasonable
basis; that it did not follow acceptable industry standards of roadway
design. As mentioned above, if the accident was caused by a pothole, the
governmental entity must have received actual notice of the defect prior
to the accident with requisite time to repair the infirmity.
Remember, governments owe motorists a duty to keep them free from unreasonable
danger and foreseeable harm. If this duty was breached, you may be entitled
Are you interested in learning who else may be liable for your car accident?
Find out more from
our latest article posted here. Or learn about the
permissive use doctrine and how it applies here. Where an employee causes a car accident, the
employer can also be liable,
as noted in our of our blog posts this past week. Did you also know that a
passenger can be liable for your car accident as well?
Our car accident attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious personal injury accidents,
particularly throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie,
and Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.