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Car Accidents: Poor Road Design And Legal Liability

By Expert Author: R. Klettke

The way roads are designed may cause car accidents and poor road configuration can exacerbate the outcome of any vehicle accident. A large percentage of fatal car accidents are solo-vehicle accidents where the fatality might not have occurred if the road design had been different. Car accident attorneys who argue against unsafe road design for their clients at trial are challenged by sovereign immunity claims, as well as accident reconstruction details. Sovereign immunity generally conveys the notion that the department of government who designs, builds, and maintains the road in question is not considered to be at fault for any mishap from use of the roadway in question.



Some of the numerous circumstances where poor road design can be a contributing factor in car accidents are:



Median barriers: Absence of appropriately situated median barriers can give rise to terrible multi-vehicle accidents from cars straying across lanes and into oncoming traffic.



Shoulder design: Lack of a shoulder does not give the driver a safe space to pull over if they should need to suddenly stop. An insufficient shoulder width does not give the motorist enough safe space between their car and traffic, or their car and a guardrail, barrier, embankment, or ditch. The shoulder slope should also be as flat as possible to allow a vehicle to pull over quickly with less likelihood of loosing control of the car or increasing the likelihood of a car rollover



Pavement edge: Numerous studies have shown that driving on a pavement edge with a “drop-off” decreases the ability of the driver to maneuver their vehicle. The vehicle becomes unstable not only when dropping off the side of the road, but when attempting to get back onto the road, especially if their tires scrape the pavement edge.



On and off ramps: Entry and Exit ramps that are too short or are poorly placed are simply accidents waiting to happen.



Signs: Visible and easy to understand signs can be considered part of poor road design if they are not present to warn motorists of merging traffic, changing traffic patterns, and potential upcoming hazards.



It is wise to quickly seek the counsel of a car accident lawyer to help establish liability if you are in an accident caused by or exacerbated by poor road design. An unsafe road condition (such as a detour barrier placement) may be only briefly available for examination and evidence gathering, therefore time is of the essence! Other unsafe situations such as temporary visibility impairment, traffic light malfunction, or uneven pavement can be subjective and subtle and/or require witnesses.



R. Klettke is a freelance writer. He writes about personal injury and medical malpractice law and other matters of jurisprudence.



Important Advisory: This article is not intended to provide legal advice upon which you or anyone else should rely in making any decisions regarding the instituting or prosecuting of a legal claim. Laws and rules relating to the bringing of a claim vary widely from state to state. You should always contact a personal injury attorney to obtain information as to the rules and the laws pertaining to any claim you might have.

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