Maryland personal injury lawyer

Who’s Liable for Accidents Caused by Road Defects in Maryland?

Accidents involving road defects like potholes can be especially dangerous for victims in Maryland. When these types of accidents happen, who is ultimately financially responsible for the victim’s damages?

Generally, local municipalities and governments are ultimately liable for car accidents due to road defects in Maryland. To determine liability in these cases, our attorneys will review eyewitness statements, surveillance footage, and photos from the scene. If you were injured because of a pothole in the road, photograph it before it’s filled in. Other defects, like faded lane markings or cracked pavement, might also cause accidents. If your lawsuit is against a municipality in Maryland, you must first file a notice of a claim. You’ll have to do this within one year of the accident.

To have our Maryland car accident attorneys assess your case for free, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras now at (410) 694-7291.

Who Can Be Liable for Car Accidents Due to Road Defects in Maryland?

Whether road defects directly caused or contributed to your recent Maryland accident, determining who is liable is important. Otherwise, victims might not be able to recover the damages they need.

Potholes, broken speed bumps, and other hazards might cause auto accidents in Maryland. Driving over potholes, even at the speed limit, could cause drivers to spin out of control. Negligent drivers might fail to see obvious road defects, running into them and then hitting a victim’s vehicle.

Suppose you were injured in a single-car accident because of a pothole or other road defect. In that case, our lawyers can help you bring a claim against the local municipality responsible for upholding roads in your area. If both a local municipality and a negligent driver share liability for the crash, we can hold them accountable accordingly.

When road defects cause accidents, victims might initially be unaware of that fact. Our lawyers can enlist an accident reconstruction expert to review the available evidence and information to determine the root cause of the crash. If your case goes to trial in Maryland, such an expert can then present their findings to the jury.

How Can Road Defects Cause Car Accidents in Maryland?

We rely on our local governments and municipalities to maintain roads and ensure that they are safe to use. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, resulting in dangerous hazards that might cause equally dangerous accidents in Maryland.

Potholes and depressions in the road caused by cracking or poor maintenance over time can be very unsafe. In Maryland, where the summers are hot and the winters are cold, pavement is more likely to move, warp, and crack. If not properly maintained, such cracks might worsen significantly, resulting in large potholes. Uneven pavement, rutting, and stress fractures are all road defects that might cause accidents in Maryland. For example, if the pavement on the side of the road is uneven, drivers might lose traction and get hurt.

Other road defects, such as faded lane markings and a lack of traffic signals or stop signs, also pose dangers to drivers.

Gathering Evidence of Liability for Maryland Accidents Due to Road Defects

Following an accident due to road defects, victims should prioritize collecting evidence, especially if they plan on filing claims against local municipalities in Maryland.

Start by photographing the area, focusing on the road defect in question. For example, if a pothole caused the incident, take pictures of it. When police officers arrive, tell them what caused the incident so that they can include such information in their accident report.

It is important to document the road defect that caused the incident immediately, as the local government might hastily fill in or fix the pothole or hazard after the accident.

Our Maryland car accident attorneys can also interview eyewitnesses to get their statements, which should correspond with the facts laid out in your claim. Other evidence, like surveillance footage, can also help to prove fault for a car accident due to road imperfections in Maryland.

Your medical records will also be important when it comes time to show that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. Because of this, you should focus on going to the hospital immediately after a crash takes place and getting continuous treatment as you heal physically. Building up medical evidence of your injuries will be necessary, so do not ignore this part of your recovery.

Maryland is a pure contributory fault state, meaning victims cannot recover damages if they even somewhat contribute to an accident. Because of this, our lawyers will work to uncover and present evidence proving that you did not speed or otherwise act negligently at the time of the accident.

How Does Liability for Accidents Impact Filing Deadlines in Maryland?

If the local municipality that failed to address the road defect is liable for your injuries, you can sue it for compensation. However, before you can do that, you have to send a notice of a claim.

Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 5-304(b), injury victims have one year to submit a written notice of a claim that informs a government agency of a victim’s intent to file a lawsuit. The notice must contain certain information, like place, time, and cause of the injury. If you do not do this, you cannot bring your actual lawsuit in the coming months.

It is important to note that you will still have three years to file your lawsuit against the necessary government agency in Maryland under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 5-101. The notice of a claim is separate from the claim itself and must come first. If you wait too long to submit a notice of a claim or file your lawsuit, the court will block you from recovery.

Call Our Maryland Lawyers About Your Accident Now

You can call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to have a free and confidential discussion about your case with our Maryland car accident attorneys.