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Accidents Caused by Road Defects in Queens, NY

Accidents Caused by Road Defects

New York City drivers, pedestrians, and other road users must follow traffic laws to navigate dangerous roads safely. But government agencies are also responsible for keeping local roads safe for the public. When state, city, or local entities allow potholes, missing guardrails, damaged road signs, and other severe defects to linger on public streets, these hazards can easily contribute to accidents and life-threatening or fatal injuries.

Did a road defect cause an accident that injured you in Queens? You could have grounds for a claim against the agency responsible for maintaining the road. With the help of a knowledgeable lawyer from The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., you could file a claim demanding compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and other related losses. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Should I Contact a Queens Accident Attorney If I Was in a Crash Due to a Road Defect?

You should never pursue compensation after a crash without hiring a road defect accident attorney in Queens. Filing claims against government agencies comes with unique deadlines and challenges. The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C. has extensive resources and the experience necessary for you to hold careless entities accountable for your losses.

Our car accident attorneys can handle all aspects of your road defect case, including:

  • Investigating the accident to determine the cause
  • Taking photos of the defective road conditions, speaking to witnesses, and obtaining valuable evidence to establish liability for the accident
  • Filing a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party
  • Meeting strict deadlines to prevent unnecessary delays in the legal process
  • Negotiating a full and fair settlement that accounts for all of your losses
  • Working with experts, such as crash reconstruction specialists, to explain how the accident occurred
  • Fighting aggressively in court to argue your case (if necessary)

What Road Defects in Queens Could Cause an Accident?

Road damage and defects can arise due to various factors, including inclement weather, motor vehicle collisions, and natural wear and tear. Local motorists are significantly more likely to crash if governments allow certain types of road damage or defects to go unrepaired.

The most common road defects that lead to accidents in NYC include:

  • Potholes – Potholes start small and worsen over time due to the weight of cars, temperature changes, and adverse weather conditions. You could have a legal claim if a pothole contributes to an accident that harms you or damages your vehicle.
  • Uneven pavement – Cracked or uneven pavement creates an unstable surface, making it harder for drivers to adjust their speeds or control their vehicles. Uneven pavement is also hard on the car, increasing the risk of flat tires and other mechanical breakdowns that can lead to an accident.
  • Missing guardrails – Guardrails protect motorists during a crash by absorbing the force of the impact and preventing the vehicle from going off the road. Without sturdy railings, drivers can easily end up in ditches or fall down embankments in an accident.
  • Insufficient lighting – Motorists must be able to see the road ahead to follow traffic signs and avoid unexpected obstacles or road hazards. Poor lighting creates visibility problems, and government entities could be liable if inadequate lighting causes local drivers to crash.
  • Poor drainage – Flooding is a serious hazard when rainwater doesn’t drain properly. Vehicles can hydroplane even in shallow water, causing drivers to lose control and crash.
  • Inadequate signage – Missing, damaged, or confusing road signs prevent drivers from having the information necessary to proceed safely. Poor signage can lead to accidents if drivers don’t know when to yield, the speed limit, or whether dangerous conditions are ahead.
  • Construction zones – Construction workers must follow specific protocols to warn road users of work sites s and direct them around hazards. Drivers can get hurt in severe accidents without cones, barriers, or other safety measures in place.

Liability for Accidents Caused by Road Defects in Queens, NY

New York State or other local entities are usually responsible for maintaining and repairing roads in their communities. These entities must conduct routine inspections to identify infrastructure issues, initiate repairs, and adequately warn the public if they can’t immediately address known hazards. Accidents happen when government entities or employees fail to fulfill these duties.

However, the doctrine of sovereign immunity effectively prevents individuals from taking legal action against federal, state, or local government agencies. That means you usually can’t file a lawsuit against the government for injuries arising from government negligence. But in New York, the Court of Claims Act allows you to sue the government as you would a private party if government negligence causes an accident.

If a road defect contributes to a car accident that leaves you with bodily injuries or damaged property, you could hold a local government entity responsible by showing that the government:

  • Failed to maintain local roads properly and a defective condition, such as a pothole, missing manhole cover, or damaged guardrail contributed to or worsened an accident
  • Constructed poorly designed roads, such as those with dangerously sharp curves, narrow lanes, or blind hills without proper signage
  • Failed to warn the public of known road hazards, such as construction zones, changes in local road conditions, or known obstructions
  • Neglected to provide adequate road lighting at night or in areas with poor visibility
  • Failed to maintain or program traffic signals that prevent confusion and accidents
  • Failed to address known safety hazards, such as areas where road conditions regularly deteriorate quickly or with other problems that lead to recurring accidents

How to File a Claim Against the Government

You must file a notice of claim before pursuing compensation from a government entity in New York. A notice of claim is a written letter containing the details of the accident, such as:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your attorney’s name and contact information
  • A brief explanation of what happened
  • The date, time, and location of the accident
  • A dollar amount for any injuries, property damage, or other losses from the crash

You only have 90 days to file a notice of claim. After you file, the municipality has 30 days from receiving your notice to request a preliminary hearing. The hearing allows the municipality to begin investigating your claim. It might also involve a physical examination to evaluate your injuries. If you miss the 90-day deadline, the government entity could refuse to consider your claim.

If the government denies your claim or refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement, you could have grounds for a lawsuit. However, you have a strict deadline to sue. You have one year and 90 days from the accident date to file suit. Once that deadline passes, you lose the right to hold the government accountable for negligence.

Proving Negligence in Road Defect Cases

When proving negligence after a car accident caused by a road defect, the first and most crucial step is identifying the hazard. That way, you can demonstrate how the defect contributed to the crash and seek to hold the appropriate party liable for your injuries.

Preserving evidence is crucial in a road defect accident claim. The evidence you need to build your case will depend on the circumstances but could include:

  • Official accident reports
  • Accident scene photos, including photos of the road defect
  • Video footage of the collision
  • Witness statements
  • Previous reports about other collisions due to the same road defect
  • Expert witness testimony

Role of Expert Witnesses in Road Defect Cases

Expert witnesses have special knowledge in their respective fields, which allows them to provide reliable testimony about technical aspects of an incident. These experts can speak to the nature of an accident and provide professional opinions about its causes and effects. Expert witnesses in road defect accident cases could include:

  • Engineering and construction experts – These experts can offer insight into the construction of a road, including its design and materials. They can explain what goes into building city streets and how inadequate signage, lighting, or drainage might have contributed to an accident.
  • Medical experts – Doctors can provide opinions on an accident victim’s injuries and how they will impact their life.
  • Accident reconstruction experts – Accident reconstruction specialists apply mathematic and scientific principles to recreate the sequence of events that led up to a collision. These experts can demonstrate causal links between road defects and subsequent accidents to prove liability.

Choose the Queens Accident Attorneys at The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C.

At The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., we understand how much a car accident can disrupt the course of your life. Our team is here to help you get back on track by providing aggressive advocacy and personalized attention. When you work with us, you can rest assured we will push for maximum compensation on your behalf.

If you sustained injuries in a car crash due to a preventable road defect in Queens, contact us today for a free consultation.