When most people imagine a car accident, they immediately think of two or more separate vehicles colliding into one another. Although this is certainly how the majority of accidents occur, this envisioning is not representative of them all. Many car accidents can involve only one vehicle. How?
Environmental conditions, the driver’s disposition, and potential hazards in the road all play a part in the likelihood of an auto collision. Since road hazards are especially prevalent on U.S. roads, you must always be vigilant . Unfortunately, you cannot always avoid hazards. If you have recently experienced an accident due to a hazardous condition in the road, it is very important to have a complete understanding of what defines a road hazard when filing an accident claim.
Road hazards can take numerous forms, all being defined by one simple factor: They are all items that are inappropriately positioned in the road. These hazards may be natural phenomena, such as sheets of ice that present the possibility of your vehicle’s wheels losing traction, or manmade, like equipment from a construction site that may damage your car. More examples of road hazards are as follows:
- Environmental debris (e.g., rocks, tree branches, etc.)
- Potholes or other effects of poor road maintenance
- Debris from construction sites (e.g., metal fragments, wooden planks, gravel, etc.)
- Weather (i.e., slippery roads after the onset of rainfall)
- Cargo that has fallen off of another vehicle
If the object has presented a risk to you on the road, it becomes a road hazard. For this reason, even the scenes of auto accidents can become road hazards due primarily to the widespread habit of rubbernecking. Once you can identify the type of road hazard that caused your accident, you will then have more information on which to build your case.
Filing a Claim for Your Accident
As you file your claim, pay attention to precisely what elements played a part in your vehicle collision. For example, if your accident was caused by strictly environmental conditions (for instance, you may have suddenly hydroplaned in the rain), then there is no negligent party to sue. However, a pothole is clearly the result of the negligence of the municipality in which you are driving.
Their failure to appropriately maintain the roads was the direct cause of your incident; therefore, they should be held accountable. However, as you proceed in the claims process, you will need to prove the following:
- The municipality had previously received notice that there was a road hazard present.
- The municipality had enough time since the notice to resolve the issue.
- They failed to proceed in providing a resolution.
- This negligence was the direct cause of your damages.
Once you are sure that you can demonstrate all of the above in your case, ensure that you file within the period specified by the statute of limitations. This way, you can be sure that you will still be eligible to receive the compensation you need to repair your vehicle and tend to your injuries. If ever you experience an auto collision as the result of a road hazard, review this guide to ensure that you secure compensation appropriately and as quickly as possible.