Can You Sue the City Government for Bad Roads?

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There are plenty of times when you see a road in bad condition as a driver and think that the government needs to do something about it before someone gets hurt.

Unfortunately, it happens far too often that a city government’s inaction and negligence cause drivers to be hurt over defective roads. Then, you may be able to sue the city government, just like you would be able to file a lawsuit against anyone else. The auto accident lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys can help you take on City Hall when the government’s negligence was responsible for your injuries.

When Is the Government Liable for Bad Roads?

A lawyer can conduct a complete investigation of your accident to help determine the responsible party. In most cases, the other driver is the one to blame for the crash.

However, there are times when your accident was not the fault of the other driver. They too had their own safety compromised by someone else’s negligence.

Like any other actor in society, the government is not expected to be perfect. Their obligation is to maintain the roads and reasonable condition. There are times when there may be slight and minor defects that could need fixing over time. However, there are also instances in which there are major potholes that a government may ignore.

It is not always easy to prove a claim against the city government for bad roads. Essentially, you must demonstrate what the city knew (or should have known), and when they knew it.

Your issue is not just proving that there was a dangerous road condition — that is generally apparent. You must demonstrate the negligence that comes with doing nothing about it for a prolonged amount of time.

When it comes to maintaining a road, the government must fix any defects within a reasonable amount of time after they knew or should have known of them. For example, when a driver reports a problem with the road, the government is on notice of the issue. In addition, they cannot wait an indefinite period of time to inspect the road. At a certain point, they would be deemed to have known of a problem if the government did nothing at all.

How to Sue a City Government for Compensation

In some cases, the city government would have sovereign immunity that protects it from lawsuits. However, that is not the case when the government has failed to do the job that it owes to its citizens.

The government may be sued just like anyone else when it has been negligent in the performance of its own duties. There is a North Carolina state law that allows you to receive up to a certain amount in damages from the government should you prove that they have been negligent.

There is also a shorter statute of limitations when you are suing the government in North Carolina. Here, all you have is two years from the time when you were injured or should have known that you were injured to file the lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you lose the right to file a claim entirely.

The city will take the time to investigate your claim and provide a response to you. They may make you a settlement offer to resolve your claim. Everything depends on the strength of your case and the city’s tolerance for risk.

It is not always easy to win a claim against the city government and get the full compensation that you deserve. The city has the first right to review your claim before you file a lawsuit in court. The city may deny your claim, forcing you to sue them in state court.

Alternatively, the city may make you a lowball settlement offer that does not even come close to paying for your full damages. Whatever poor conduct you expect from an insurance company, you can also anticipate your city doing it too. Municipalities have their own budgets that they try to protect at all costs, and your claim is nothing but an inconvenience for them. You can expect to have to negotiate with the city just like you would with an insurance company.

Pedestrians May Also Be Injured By Bad Roads and Poor Design

Bad roads may not impact just drivers. Pedestrians may also pay a price because the road design does not further their own safety. These pedestrians may be forced to cross extremely busy streets, putting their life and limb at risk.

The city of Wilmington has adopted the Walk Wilmington initiative, but it has yet to actually make the necessary repairs and build the new features to protect pedestrians. Wilmington has talked about a solution, but it has effectively not done much other than talk. At a certain point, pedestrians may be able to hold the city accountable for dangerous roadway design.

When the government does nothing in the face of obvious danger, there is always a chance that they can be liable for damages that occur. Here, the Wilmington government should obviously be on notice of the extreme dangers that pedestrians face in certain areas of the city. However, at this point, all the government seems to be doing is acknowledging the problem with the Walk Wilmington plan.

There is a possibility that pedestrian accident victims can consider suing the city for their poor road designs and lack of safety features to protect them. However, like any insurance company, the government may turn around and try to blame the pedestrian for their own accident.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Wilmington, NC Today

Time is of the essence if you have been hurt in a car accident. Not only do you need the money quickly, but you may also have to act to lock down the evidence that you need to prove your claim.

Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have a long track record of helping North Carolina residents get financial compensation when they have been hurt in a car accident. You can speak to one of our attorneys today in a free initial consultation by calling us at 910-405-7751, or using our online contact form.

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