Public Entities May Be Financially Responsible for Accidents Caused by Unsafe Roadways


Most Louisville drivers tend to think of car crashes as being caused by some form of negligent driving, such as driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, exceeding the speed limit, failing to yield and other forms of negligent or reckless driving.  While the majority of motor vehicle collisions that cause life-altering injuries and wrongful death are the product of unsafe driving, roadways that are poorly designed or improperly maintained also can be a significant factor in causing a motor vehicle accident. Depending on the specific circumstances, the public entity responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of an unsafe road may be liable for injuries or fatalities on hazardous roads.  Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits arising out of accidents caused by hazardous roadways pose unique challenges so our Louisville Dangerous Roads Accident Lawyers at the Bruce Law Group have provided an overview of the issue, challenges and relevant factual information involved in pursuing a claim against a public entity based on unsafe roads and highways. While public entities like municipalities and the State of Kentucky may be liable for collisions caused by road defects, lawsuits against public entities may entail special procedural requirements and deadlines depending on state law.  These special requirements may include filing a claim against the public entity that is subject to an earlier deadline than what applies for initiating a lawsuit under the statute of limitations.  These complications associated with pursuing a claim against a public entity make it essential to consult with a Louisville Dangerous Roads Accident Lawyer. Generally, a public entity may be liable for dangerous conditions of a roadway if the government entity knew or should have known of an unsafe condition that created an unreasonable risk of foreseeable harm.  In other words, the public entity may be liable for failing to take reasonable remedial measures despite knowledge of repeated collisions on a stretch of roadway or the existence of a road hazard for a period of time.  Key issues that must be investigated involve the duration of time the hazard has been present, the nature of the hazard and any corrective actions taken to clear the hazard or warn motorists. Kentucky has some of the most dangerous roads in the country including Interstates I-75 and I-71.  The steep grades on these roadways can become extremely slick and dangerous in wet or icy weather conditions.  Some of the types of hazards that can make Kentucky roads prone to serious auto accidents include:
  • Inadequate traffic controls (i.e. stop signs, traffic lights, yield signs)
  • Missing guardrails especially on steep embankments and curves
  • Failure to install islands or other barriers between traffic traveling in opposite directions
  • Insufficient measures to prevent pooling of water or the build-up of ice
  • Lack of remedial measures on a stretch of highway or road with a history of crashes
  • Potholes or drop-offs
  • Hazardous construction zones without sufficient traffic control, signage or warnings
While these are only a few example of the types of unsafe road hazards that may contribute to a serious crash, a successful dangerous road claim often requires both extensive knowledge of highway design, construction and maintenance standards and the use of experts in roadway safety standards.  If you or a family member is injured or a loved one dies in a hazardous roadway accident in Louisville, our experienced Kentucky unsafe road lawyers at the Bruce Law Group can answer your questions and explain your rights.  We offer a free consultation so call us today at (502) 489-8887 or contact us via email.