The Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Salamati Law have a reputation for winning car accident cases, even if no other vehicle was involved. Motor vehicle accidents are not always as cut-and-dry as they seem. Road hazards pose a threat to our local motorcyclists, in particular, but also affect big trucks hauling cargo and passenger vehicles alike. Even the most alert drivers are sometimes blindsided by falling objects from another vehicle or a poorly maintained construction zone.
Did you know that poorly designed intersections have cost the City of Los Angeles millions of dollars in litigation? Los Angeles Magazine reports that a prominent Northrop Grumman scientist was killed while traveling just 35 mph when a car turned left at a notoriously flawed intersection at Cabrillo and Summerland in northwest San Pedro. Lawmakers had twice considered fixing the blind corner, but ultimately failed to take action. After the motorcyclist’s death, a stop sign was added, but it was too late for his grieving family members. A sympathetic jury found the city liable and handed down a $23.7 million award.
Hazardous road conditions cause car accidents
Common road hazards include:
- Animals – dead or alive
- Blind intersections with obstructed view
- “Bottlenecks” with suddenly narrowing lanes
- Changing speed limits
- Construction or work zones
- Disabled vehicles along the shoulder
- Distracted drivers, pedestrians, cyclists
- Fallen tree or rocks
- Falling cargo from other vehicles
- Freeway onramp/offramp traffic
- Lack of adequate lane markers
- Loose asphalt, rough edges, and poor road maintenance
- Nails, tacks, glass, wood, or other debris
- Oil spill
- Slick wet roads, ice, fog, high winds
- Standing water along the side of the road
- Steep drops at the end of a road
- Stopped school bus with child crossing
- Traffic accidents
- Unmarked exits
Road hazard definition:
A road hazard is anything on the surface of a typically well-maintained roadway that causes a tire puncture, sudden impact, or collision.
Who is responsible for road hazards?
Road hazard accidents may be just that – accidents – where there is no liability assigned. In other instances, you feel in your gut that something is “not right.” The Salamati Firm has an extensive network of researchers, police department contacts, environmental assessors, accident reconstruction experts, and medical examiners who can work on your case to determine what really happened and what third parties, if any, may be liable for your losses.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s “National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey” found that 75 percent of the nearly 40,000 annual “atmospheric condition” crashes were attributed to poor roadway conditions. Slick roads, view obstructions, lack of signage, malfunctioning signals, and poor road design are all causes of largely preventable collisions where a third party may assume some or total liability.
Potential liable parties may include:
- Construction contractors
- Federal, state or local municipalities
- Other motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians
- Private enterprises
- Public agencies
- Urban planners
California state law says that a driver who is partially at fault for physical and/or property damages can still file claim and obtain at least partial compensation for losses and injuries sustained in a road hazard accident.
What does ‘road hazard insurance’ cover?
“Road hazard warranties” typically only cover the cost of tires and roadside assistance if you run over something in the road. There are other parts of your policy that cover damage to the body of your vehicle and personal injury costs for you and your passengers. Your policy will not cover property or vehicle damage you may have caused by colliding with a road hazard and spinning out of control to hit others.
Car damage caused by dangerous road conditions
Auto insurers may cover damage to your vehicle due to road hazards. For instance, if you hit a fallen tree or a rock in the road, then the damage would be covered by the “collision” part of your policy. If a tree or boulder hits you, then the claim would be covered by the “comprehensive” policy. If the damage was minimal, you may simply pay out-of-pocket to avoid hikes in your insurance rate, particularly if it’s a collision claim. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) will pay for medical injuries after your deductible is met and up to a certain limit. Another option for covering damage to your vehicle or your person is to file a personal injury lawsuit against negligent parties who contributed to your accident.
Road hazard accident lawyer Los Angeles
There is often ambiguity in road hazard accidents and motorists are unsure whether they have a valid case or not, so it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced lawyer who can look into the facts surrounding what happened. In some instances, you may sue to recover monetary damages for medical bills, lost income, emotional pain and suffering, and wrongful death in the worst circumstances.
Schedule a free consultation with trusted car accident attorneys at Salamati Law by calling 1-800-957-9898.
Road hazard accident lawsuit resources
- Los Angeles Magazine – Poorly Designed Intersections Are Costing L.A. Millions in Lawsuits http://www.lamag.com/driver/poorly-designed-intersections-cost-l-millions-lawsuits/
- com – Do Insurers Pay If Your Hit A Road Hazard? http://www.carinsurance.com/kb/do-insurers-pay-if-you-hit-a-road-hazard.aspx
- Justia – Road Hazards https://www.justia.com/injury/motor-vehicle-accidents/car-accidents/road-hazards/