How Can Road Conditions Impact Car Accident Liability in New Jersey?

potholes poor road conditions

While most car accidents are caused by driver error, poor road conditions can significantly affect car accident liability. Accidents caused by poor road maintenance can lead to both physical injuries and emotional challenges. If you’ve been injured due to poor road conditions, you may not know the parties you can hold liable for your damages. Please continue reading to learn who is responsible for road maintenance in New Jersey and how a qualified Essex County Auto Accident Attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. 

Who’s Responsible for Road Maintenance in New Jersey?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to poor road conditions, it’s crucial to determine the agency or company responsible for maintaining or planning the road. Cities, counties, and states are typically responsible for maintaining roads. It’s important to understand that different maintenance responsibilities for a particular roadway can be shared by more than one government agency. For instance, the state may be responsible for paving roads, while the city may be responsible for snow plowing. Therefore, it can be challenging to prove fault.

Nevertheless, once you determine which governmental agency is responsible for maintaining or planning the road, you must show that poor road conditions caused or contributed to your accident. Essentially, you must prove the governmental agency’s negligence. You must demonstrate that the agency knew or should have reasonably known about the problem with the road and had the opportunity to remedy the situation but failed to take the necessary steps, resulting in the crash. If the accident was caused by a faulty design, you must show that there was some safety-related defect with the planning or execution of the roadway.

Can I Pursue Legal Action Against the Responsible Party?

Most government agencies are protected under sovereign immunity from civil lawsuits, meaning they cannot be sued without consent. However, they can grant permission through the claims process. Every state has a unique set of rules that cover claims against the government. In New Jersey, those injured due to a governmental agency’s negligence must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident. A Notice of Claim is intended to provide the government agency with advanced notice that it may be subject to a claim for damages. This allows the government agency to investigate the merits of the claim before the commencement of an actual lawsuit to determine whether they should grant the plaintiff consent.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to poor road conditions, please don’t hesitate to contact a skilled attorney from The Law Offices of Christopher T. Howell, Esq., who can help you hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence.