According to the nonprofit transportation group TRIP, poorly maintained roads in Texas cost motorists an additional $25.1 billion in vehicle operating costs every year. Poorly maintained roads don’t only increase wear on vehicles, Dallas roadway conditions can also be a contributing factor to dangerous and deadly collisions.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by poor road conditions in Dallas, you may be wondering if you can sue the city for your injuries. Here is what you need to know.
Can I Sue the City If Poor Road Conditions Caused Me to Crash?
While Texans do have a right to bring a lawsuit against a municipality for damages and injuries, the lawsuits are subject to special rules and procedures outlined by the Texas Tort Claims Act.
Prior to the Texas Tort Claims Act being passed, state and local governments had “sovereign immunity” meaning individuals could not sue the governments for the negligent and reckless actions of their employees. However, this changed with the passage of the Texas Tort Claims Act in 1969.
However, there are specific limitations placed when a lawsuit can be filed against a city. There is also a tight damage cap placed on recoveries from such a lawsuit.
When it comes to suing a city like Dallas for poor road conditions, you will have to establish that your crash was the result of a “special defect” on the roadway.
What Are Considered “Special Defects” for Dallas Roadway Conditions?
The Texas Tort Claims Act is somewhat vague on what qualifies as a special defect. There is no clear definition and the act only provides two examples: excavations and obstructions. One thing to consider about special defects is that the road damage must be big enough that an average driver would be affected.
Some road conditions that could be considered special defects are:
- A pothole that is six inches deep and covers 90% of the road.
- A caved-in portion of the road.
- A significant drop-off along the shoulder of a roadway that could prevent a car’s wheels from reentering the roadway.
- Slick roads caused by road construction.
- A large traffic sign that has fallen in the middle of the road.
- A significant amount of standing water.
What Does a Driver Need to Prove to Sue the City for Bad Roads?
For a lawsuit against the city for bad road conditions to be successful, the plaintiff must prove:
- The condition of the road posed an unreasonable risk of harm
- The city knew or should have known about the defect
- The city failed to adequately warn the driver or make the road condition reasonably safe
Are Poor Road Design or Signage Considered an Unreasonable Risk?
There are instances where a city may violate the Texas Tort Claims Act that does not pertain directly to the condition of the road. These include defects and poor maintenance of traffic signals and signs as well as faulty road designs.
Improper road design could include:
- Unreasonably narrow lanes of traffic
- The absence of a shoulder
- Excessive grade of hills
- Blind curves
- Confusing intersections
I Was Injured in an Accident Caused by Poor Road Conditions, What Are My Next Steps?
If you have been involved in an accident caused by poor road conditions or if poor road design or missing signage contributed to your crash, call Thomas J. Henry Law.
As mentioned, the rules regulating lawsuits against a city or municipality are very specific. The government also employs teams of lawyers to dispute claims made against the city. An experienced car accident attorney can help you build your case in a way that puts you in the best possible position to secure financial compensation.
Remember, you are not limited to how road conditions affect your vehicle. If poor roadway conditions cause another passenger vehicle or a large truck to crash into your car, you can still file a claim against the city as well as the other driver. You could also seek compensation from the company that employs the driver involved in your truck accident.
Call now, attorneys are standing by.