DEFECTIVE ROAD DESIGN ACCIDENTS
Roads take us where we want to go. We tend to take their existence for granted unless we are inconvenienced by construction or potholes.
While driver error is a common cause of car wrecks, the design and maintenance of roadways themselves is another frequent cause. Defective roads, streets, highways, intersections, shoulders, ditches and signs can all be the underlying reason for an accident, or at least a contributing one.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to a roadway design defect or poor maintenance, the KY road defect accident lawyers at the Johnson Law Firm are here to help. From his office in Pikeville, Attorney Billy Johnson has made it his life’s work to help people throughout Kentucky. With over 15 years of experience, Billy has handled litigation in the United States Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, and the United States Bankruptcy Court.
Get started today with a free, no-obligation case review by calling 606-437-4488 or filling out this online form to discuss your rights. If you have a claim, you can trust that you have an attorney knowledgeable about defective roadway design and maintenance on your side.
When mistakes are made during construction or proper safety measures are not taken, serious traffic accidents can result. It is the responsibility of the state, counties and cities to provide safe roads for those who use them. While government entities benefit from a concept known as “qualified immunity” that can make it difficult to successfully bring a lawsuit against them, it is not impossible. Skilled legal representation may be able to trace accident-causing road defects back to the negligent actions of local, state or federal governments. Of course, multiple parties may be at fault, and private contractors can also be held accountable.
Determining whether a road hazard is a defect or the result of improper maintenance can be difficult. Some unsafe conditions that are often a focus of hazardous roadway lawsuits include:
- Dangerous exit ramps
- Dangerous intersections
- Debris that has not been removed in a timely manner
- Defective traffic lights or street lights
- Excessive ice accumulation
- Extreme shoulder drop-off (a greater than two-inch difference can pose a serious hazard, especially for motorcycles)
- Hazardous curves
- Improperly designated construction zones (construction crews are responsible for providing traffic control)
- Improperly placed barriers
- Inadequate highway division, edge lines or line striping
- Lack of or inadequate guardrails
- Lack of signs to indicate merging traffic, shoulder issues, upcoming construction zones, one-way streets, wrong-way on ramps, etc.
- No median barricades
- No shoulder
- Pooling water due to drainage issues (improper grading or paving can lead to hydroplaning)
- Poor visibility
- Signs obstructed by shrubbery or trees
- Uneven pavement
- Unsafe bridges or overpasses
- Unsafe railroad crossings
- Unsafe speed limits.
Dangerous roadways often have a history of crashes, whether they are caused by the same defect or a pattern of similar defects in the area. No matter what or who you believe caused your auto wreck, it is best to consult an attorney who knows how to investigate your accident and how to gather information about previous accidents, documented concerns by government officials, safety audits, maintenance records and driver complaints. Exposing dangerous and defective streets can not only help you recover money for your medical bills, car repairs and time out of work, it can also lead to safety improvements and prevent future accidents from occurring.
Infrastructure Issues Resulting in Vehicle Accident
Once upon a time, America’s infrastructure was a source of national pride
That gratification has been severely curtailed by the critical condition that many of our roads, bridges, tunnels, and pipelines are now in. Both main political parties agree that the system needs to be fixed, but little progress has been made on how to accomplish that goal, and public spending on infrastructure is at its lowest point in almost 70 years. Just how bad is it? Let’s take a closer look.
Once every four years, the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) comprehensively assesses and grades the country’s major infrastructure categories. As experts who design, build, maintain, supervise, and operate construction projects and systems in the public and private sector, the ASCE’s members are well qualified to provide the evaluation. Measuring the criteria of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation, the ASCE gave our national infrastructure a “D+” rating in 2013. It also calculated that to sufficiently upgrade the network by 2020 would cost $3.6 trillion.
The ASCE’s last report card gave the Bluegrass State an overall “C” rating. Kentucky bridges were given a “D,” with more than 1,200 bridges labeled structurally deficient (this designation means a bridge needs to be replaced or repaired in a “dramatic” way). State roads also received a “D” rating due to growth of congestion, delays, and substandard pavement. Seven percent of the state’s major public roads are in poor condition, and driving on roads in need of fixing costs each motorist $315 every year.
In the last ten years alone, there have been dozens of accidents around the country caused by failing bridges, rail lines, and roads. In 2013, an oversized truck clipped an outdated girder causing a bridge collapse in Washington. Two days later in Missouri, derailed train cars hit an overpass support pillar causing the bridge to fall. In 2007, a Minnesota bridge collapsed during rush-hour traffic because of too much weight. In Illinois and Wisconsin, netting has been used to protect drivers from concrete falling off bridges. Deteriorating pipelines full of essential but dangerous fuels are rupturing so often that annual explosions are responsible for 13 fatalities and 59 injuries. And, despite toxicity health issues, some major U.S. cities still have 100 percent lead piping delivering water from utility companies to homes and businesses.
With roads built decades ago now handling exponentially more cars than they were designed for, gas and water pipelines disintegrating, and one in nine bridges considered to be structurally deficient, the next accident is just around the corner. The Circle Interchange in Chicago, the Baltimore City Sewer System, and the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky have all been identified as high-profile projects that need attention. In the case of the Brent Spence Bridge, it has been estimated that 1.6 million gallons of fuel and 3.6 million hours are wasted annually because the 1963 bridge is now overwhelmed with traffic from two interstates. In fact, motorists are three to five times more likely to have a wreck along the bridge corridor than on any other portion of the interstate systems of Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana. Even more concerning, the bridge was deemed to be “functionally obsolete” – back in 1998. If you want to learn more about dangerous bridges in your area, check out the Save Our Bridges interactive map.
The National Transportation Safety Board has urged policymakers to invest more in transportation safety and infrastructure. Until they do, we are all at risk. The disrepair of our transportation infrastructure is a serious matter, with serious consequences. If you have been hurt in a bridge or road wreck, you may be entitled to a variety of damages, including compensation for medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. If a loved one has died after an accident or injury caused by a hazardous bridge or road condition, you may have a valid wrongful death claim.
KY road defect accident lawyer Billy Johnson believes that those who cause harm to others should be held accountable for their actions. This includes paying compensation to accident victims for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal accident, wrongful death. A proven advocate, Billy is a proud member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums. Put his experience to work for you by calling the Johnson Law Firm at 606-437-4488 or by filling out this consultation form for a free assessment of your case.
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