Many things can cause car accidents, and not all of them are other drivers. Some car accidents in San Antonio happen because of a dangerous road or weather conditions, such as debris. If road debris caused your auto accident, you may be at a loss as to who to hold responsible. This will not be your typical car insurance claim against a negligent driver. Instead, you may have to hold a third party responsible, such as the city or state.
Whose Responsibility Is it to Maintain a Safe Roadway?
The first step of your car accident claim is to determine who is in charge of the safety, maintenance and repairs on the road where the accident happened. On a public road or highway, this could be the City of San Antonio, Bexar County or the State of Texas. On a private road, it will be the landowner. This party may act as the defendant for your personal injury or property damage claim if you can prove he or she was negligent in properly maintaining a safe and defect-free road.
When Is Someone Liable for Road Debris?
Although the entity that owns the road is legally responsible for ensuring its safety, the legal obligation is only to do so within reason. What a reasonable degree of roadway maintenance is depends on what a prudent party would do in the same situation. For example, if another party would have known about the dangerous debris and remedied it in time to prevent your car accident, the defendant could be liable for your wreck for negligently not doing so. If, however, the debris was there for such a short period of time that no reasonable or prudent party could have fixed it before the wreck, the defendant might not be liable.
Proving a property owner’s liability for a road debris accident can be difficult. It requires proof that demonstrates, more likely than not, that the property owner was negligent in fulfilling his or her duties of care to drivers, and that this is what caused the wreck. Negligence could describe failing to inspect the roads regularly, ignoring safety complaints or known hazards, putting off road repairs, causing the dangerous road condition, failing to warn drivers, or conducting low-quality repairs. Any act or failure to act by the defendant that a reasonable and prudent party would not have done under the same or similar circumstances could constitute a breach of duty.
How to Obtain Compensation for a Dangerous Road Debris Accident
Winning a road debris claim will take presenting evidence that connects the defendant’s negligence to the cause of your accident. Evidence in a road debris claim can take the form of photographs, eyewitness statements, or expert testimony. If you get into a car accident involving road debris such as fallen trees, limbs, leftover construction materials, chunks of asphalt, loose gravel, litter, mud or sand, take photos of the debris in question. Take photographs of any damage to your vehicle from the crash as well.
Next, contact a San Antonio car accident lawyer for assistance in building a claim. A lawyer will have connections to resources such as experts to help you prove your case. A subject-matter expert will be able to speak to whether or not the property owner knew or reasonably should have known about the debris yet did nothing to prevent accidents, for example. Investigators may also be able to identify a driver who bears responsibility for leaving debris in the road. Your lawyer can handle an insurance claim against one or more defendants on your behalf.
If no one else bears liability for your road debris accident, your lawyer may be able to obtain a compensatory award for your property damages through a first-party insurance claim instead. This might be an option if you have comprehensive or collision insurance available to recuperate your losses. You may also need uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance if another driver caused the crash, such as by dropping a load of trash into the road. Discuss your options for financial recovery with an attorney after an accident caused by road debris in Texas.