According to a 2022 report from the nonprofit TRIP, nearly a quarter of Michigan’s roads are in poor condition. Deteriorated roads lead to potholes, rough surfaces, faded paint, and other defects that can result in serious car accidents. And the forecast is grim if these roads and highways go unrepaired. TRIP projections suggest roughly half of the state’s roads could be rated poor by 2031, putting even more Michiganders at risk.
If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by poor road conditions, you could seek compensation from the government entity responsible for maintaining and repairing the roadway. But taking action against a state or city agency means following strict procedures and meeting short deadlines. Getting help from an experienced car accident attorney can protect your rights to the money you deserve.
The attorneys at Christensen Law have represented Michigan injury victims for over 30 years. We understand the devastating impact a motor vehicle accident can have on your life and livelihood. Let us help you recover full and fair compensation for your losses. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Types of Bad Road Conditions
Many types of poor road conditions can cause accidents, including:
- Deteriorating, cracked, or uneven pavement
- Missing barriers, such as guardrails
- Missing or concealed road signs
- Inoperable traffic lights
- Construction zones
- Fading traffic lines
- Road debris
Poor road conditions can be caused by seasonal wear and tear, and Michigan experiences intense seasonal shifts during the year. However, that’s no excuse for a dangerous condition to go unfixed. Anyone who suffers serious injuries due to poorly maintained roads could be entitled to compensation under the state’s personal injury laws.
Who is Responsible for Maintaining Safe Highways, Roads, and Streets in Michigan?
Michigan highways, roads, and streets are maintained by the state or local government agency that has jurisdiction over a particular area. Under Michigan law, a government agency must “maintain the highway in reasonable repair so that it is reasonably safe and convenient for public travel.” This applies to all highways, roads, and streets open for public travel. It also includes bridges, sidewalks, trailways, crosswalks, or culverts on the highway.
Can You Sue the Government in Michigan for Damages?
In most cases, government agencies are exempt from lawsuits under a legal principle called sovereign immunity. But in Michigan, there are exceptions to this rule, including cases involving the maintenance of public highways.
By law, state and local government agencies can be held liable for bodily injuries and property damage that a person incurs due to the agencies’ failure to keep the highway in a reasonably safe condition.
Proving Liability for Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions
To hold a government agency liable for injuries from accidents caused by poor road conditions, you must prove that the agency knew, or should have known, of the existence of the hazardous road condition.
Furthermore, you must demonstrate that the agency had reasonable time to repair the defect but failed. If the poor road condition was readily apparent for 30 days or longer before the accident, the agency’s knowledge of the defect can be presumed.
Legal Claims for Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions
Filing a legal claim against a Michigan government agency can be complicated. Various deadlines must be met to protect your right to file a lawsuit.
State law requires the accident victim to notify the government agency of their injury and the associated road defect within 120 days of the date of the accident. This notice must specify the exact location and nature of the road defect, the injury that resulted from the accident, and the names of any witnesses present.
If a minor was hurt, a parent, attorney, or legally appointed guardian can give notice on the child’s behalf within 180 days of the accident. If a person is physically or mentally incapable of giving notice because of their injury, they must do so within 180 days of the termination of their disability.
Contact an attorney if you think a government agency might be responsible for your injury as soon as possible. Gathering information and evidence for a legal claim takes time, and the clock is already ticking.
What to Do if Poor Road Conditions Cause an Accident
You can start protecting yourself immediately after the crash occurs. Here’s what to do:
- Call 911 – You need emergency medical services and local law enforcement on the scene. The responding officer will complete a police accident report, which can be helpful as your lawyer begins building your claim.
- Gather evidence – Collect as much evidence from the accident scene as possible, including pictures of vehicle damage and the road hazard from multiple angles. Get the contact information of any witnesses to the crash.
- Seek medical treatment – Always see a doctor after an accident. Your medical records form the foundation of your car accident injury claim, so you need your condition documented in your medical history.
- Hire a car accident lawyer – Be sure to hire a knowledgeable attorney with experience handling claims against a government agency.
Contact an Experienced Michigan Car Accident Lawyer for Help with Your Claim Today
Defective road conditions are dangerous, and you have the right to hold the responsible agency accountable if their failure to repair a road harmed you. Let a trusted car accident attorney at Christensen Law review your case in a free consultation. Call or contact us today.