After an Aurora car accident brought on by dangerous road conditions, it is possible to sue a government entity. However, your ability to sue depends on the type of hazard since the government is immune in certain situations. Also, strict legal deadlines apply, and you must file within the allowable time frame.
When pursuing a claim against a public entity for an actionable road hazard, you must show that the agency was aware of the problem and failed to rectify it within a reasonable time. Personal injury claims against governmental entities require special handling, and our Aurora car accident lawyers are here to guide you through the process.
What Kind of Government Negligence Leads to Poor Road Conditions?
Poor road conditions that lead an accident victim to sue could involve inadequate maintenance issues or issues with the design of the roadway. Each situation comes with its own legal challenges, which is why it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney.
Faulty or Neglected Road Maintenance
Faulty or neglected road maintenance by governmental entities is a serious problem that causes major safety risks for those using the roads. When a governmental body fails to maintain the roads in their area properly, they are putting road users at risk and may be liable for any damages resulting from this negligence.
The most common forms of fault or neglect in road maintenance include failing to patch potholes, malfunctioning traffic signals, removing snow and ice from the roads during winter, and repairing damaged guardrails and medians.
These failings can leave motorists and pedestrians vulnerable to potential harm, including possible vehicle damage or, even worse, serious injury or death. In addition to being incredibly dangerous, failure to maintain proper conditions on public roads could place a high financial burden on victims should an accident occur.
When a road design defect leads to an injury, it can result in a claim against the responsible governmental entity and any contractors they hire. These claims may arise from an absence of shoulder space, inadequate or absent lighting, a lack of guardrails near drop-offs, or excessively steep gradings.
In order to prove liability for a road design defect injury claim, the victim must determine who had the legal duty to ensure safety. This could be the local government or its contractors, and you or your attorney must show what duty was breached and how it caused your injuries.
Depending on state and local laws that come into play, this may involve multi-party litigation and third-party negligence claims being named in the lawsuit. The victim must also consider whether the police report indicates that defective conditions contributed to the cause of the accident.
What About Government Immunity?
The governmental immunity principle protects government agencies and actors from liability for damages sustained in various situations.
Generally, Colorado law broadly bars claims against governmental bodies. However, pursuing claims in motor vehicle accident cases involving hazardous conditions on public highways or streets is still possible, as immunity may be waived under certain circumstances.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
In What Situations Can You Still Sue the Government Entity?
Fortunately, when a governmental entity fails to maintain roads in a safe condition, an exception to the abovementioned immunity may apply. For example, you can sue a city for damages from poor road conditions if the city is negligent in failing to fix the pothole.
Breaches of this category of responsibility include the following:
- Failure to rectify potholes when needed
- Not repairing damaged medians and guardrails
- Failure to remove snow and ice accumulation
- Not repairing malfunctioning traffic signals
- Ignoring the need for additional traffic control mechanisms
- Failure to resolve serious structural issues
- Failure to mow or otherwise remove dangerous grass or foliage overgrowth
In such situations, Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-10-106 (d) 2 allows a person to sue a government body for injuries resulting from operating a motor vehicle in an area with substandard road conditions.
While every case is unique, our law firm has a history of successful results in challenging motor vehicle accident cases, including numerous settlements above one million dollars. For example, we secured $1.4 million after a client sustained broken bones in a car accident and $6.5 million in wrongful death damages after a fatal collision.
What Is the Time Limit for Suing a Governmental Body in an Aurora Case?
The statute of limitations is drastically shortened in cases where the defendant is a governmental body.
In most Colorado motor vehicle accidents, you have three years from the accident date to file a civil lawsuit against whoever caused the crash. This three-year deadline applies to ordinary car accident cases where a private party causes a collision.
However, if your claim is against a Colorado governmental entity, you only have 180 days from the incident to file a written administrative claim with the agency responsible for the accident. Extenuating circumstances could alter this deadline, and a qualified attorney can tell you exactly how much time you have left.
Enlist the Help of a Car Accident Lawyer in Aurora, CO
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Aurora and believe that a government entity’s negligence may be responsible, having the right legal representation is crucial. Our skilled Aurora car accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group have a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding government liability cases.
We’re here to assess the specifics of your situation, gather evidence, and build a strong case to help you get the compensation you deserve. With our experience and dedication, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and hold responsible parties accountable.
Contact us today for a free consultation.