October 15, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Dangerous Texas driving conditions from poor road maintenance or design---
Article provided by Hoffman & Kaliser, P.C.
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In many Texas motor vehicle accidents, it's clear why they happened -- a driver was tired, drunk, speeding or texting; rain was blinding; someone slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a child or deer. But it's not only driver negligence or bad weather that raises the risk of crashes. Some accidents have more subtle causes for which blame can be difficult, but not impossible, to assign.
Specifically, Texas traffic accidents can be caused by inadequate road maintenance, shoddy construction or poor design. Not uncommonly, those responsible may be relatively difficult to sue because they are public entities like units of federal, state, county or local governments.
Texas law regarding the duty of governmental units to maintain roads is complicated by issues of sovereign immunity, or the ability of people to sue the government, a very complex legal concept. Determining governmental duties to warn of dangers and to repair "premise defects" in roads, the extent of those duties and whether the government has any discretion in the matter all may be issues in a personal injury lawsuit.
Many are at risk: large commercial vehicles, SUVs, vans, buses, automobiles and motorcycles, not to mention bicycles and pedestrians. Examples of potentially dangerous problems from poor design, construction or maintenance include:
-Debris or spilled liquid.
-Potholes, cracks, shifting road surfaces and pits.
-Slippery paving, marking or repair materials like those with metal, plastic or rubber components.
-Inadequate traction or dangerous pavement ridges.
-Poorly designed bridges, curves or grades.
-Unsafe posted speed limits.
-Inadequate roadside barriers.
-Poorly placed or designed signs.
-Signs or poles that do not safely give when struck.
-Failure to warn of hazards.
-Improper gravel grading.
-Missing or faded lane stripes.
-Tall grass or other vegetation that blocks vision.
-Malfunctioning lights, signals or warning devices.
Even more subtle, driving on such roads can be hard on vehicles, which in turn may increase the risk of accidents from damage to tires, shock absorbers and other components vital to safe travel.
Many factors may contribute to current road maintenance challenges. In these difficult economic times, governmental units may struggle to adequately budget for these expenses. In Texas, various levels of government are trying to deflect road responsibilities.
For example, The Dallas Morning News reports that state officials have proposed transferring maintenance responsibility for about 1,900 miles of state roads to local governments like cities and counties, which has been met with stiff opposition from local officials without the means to pay for this expensive undertaking.
Similarly, KXAN.com did an investigative piece on the battle between a south Texas county and one of its cities over which is responsible for maintenance of country roads bordering private property annexed by the city.
Seek legal advice
If you are injured or sustain property damage, or a loved one is killed, in a Texas car accident in which road maintenance or design may have contributed, talk to an experienced Texas motor vehicle accident attorney. Your personal injury lawyer can launch an investigation of the incident, including the maintenance, construction and design histories, to gather evidence of negligence or neglect that could have played a part in the mishap.
Skilled legal counsel can also determine who the potentially responsible parties are, whether private or public, like landowners, maintenance or construction companies, engineers, insurers or government entities. A Texas attorney can also advise you about possible legal remedies like a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
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