Who is responsible for injuries caused by dangerous road conditions in South Carolina?

car potholes

Although many car accidents result from driver negligence, poorly maintained roads can also contribute to the cause of a collision. In these cases, a municipality may be liable as they are responsible for maintaining the roadways. If you have been injured in an accident due to poor road conditions, please continue reading and contact a determined Chesterfield County Car Accident Lawyer who can help you understand your legal options. 

Who is liable for a car accident caused by poor road conditions in South Carolina?

The city, county, and state share responsibility for maintaining the roadways in South Carolina. For example, the state may be responsible for fixing erosions and paving the roads. At the same time, the city might be responsible for clearing weather-related hazards, such as de-icing the streets. This can make determining who is liable for an accident caused by poorly maintained roads tricky.

If the appropriate parties fail to uphold their legal responsibility to maintain safe roads, they can be held liable for any damages resulting from their negligence. However, you will be burdened with having to prove that the municipal authority had reasonable notice of a problem or should have known about the dangerous road condition, had a reasonable timeframe to remedy the issue, but failed to take the proper measures to do so, resulting in the collision. Ultimately, you must prove that the accident would have been preventable if it weren’t for their negligence.

The following include but are not limited to the most common dangerous road conditions that lead to car accidents:

  • Erosions
  • Potholes
  • Uneven or resurfaced pavement
  • Faulty design
  • Debris on the road
  • Missing guardrails or dividers
  • Poor lighting on roadway
  • Uncleared weather-related hazards (snow, ice, or flooding)
  • Faded traffic lines, road borders, and intersections

Can I sue a government entity for my injuries?

If you were injured in an accident caused by poor road conditions and a government agency was responsible, taking legal action against the municipality will be more challenging than if it were against a private citizen. This is because most government entities are protected under sovereign immunity from lawsuits. Essentially, they cannot be sued without permission. The government allows injured individuals to file a Notice of Claim within a fixed deadline after an accident to receive approval.

A Notice of Claim is a legal document that, before the commencement of a lawsuit, provides the government entity with your intent and that they may be subject to a claim for damages. Generally, you would have three years from the accident date. However, with a Notice of Claim, the statute of limitations is much shorter as you only have 90 days from the accident date to file your claim. If you fail to do so, you will be barred from pursuing legal action and recovering monetary compensation for your damages.

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to poor road conditions, contact a skilled lawyer from the Cockrell Law Firm, P.C., who can help you attain the compensation you deserve for the damages you’ve endured. Our legal team is prepared to fight to achieve the best possible outcome.