winter weather driving

Who Is Liable When Road Defects Cause a Car Accident?

Owners of public and private roads in Virginia are responsible for maintaining them. If the agency or entity charged with maintaining a road fails to do so, they could be liable for an accident caused by road defects. But seeking compensation after a road defect accident can be challenging if a state or local agency is involved because of obstacles to suing the government.

However, the Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Deering Hedrick Law, PC, have the skills and resources to help you pursue justice after a road defect accident. We have over 34 years of combined experience helping injury victims obtain the compensation they need for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. Our attorneys understand the particular challenges of these cases and are deeply familiar with state and local laws. Here, we provide more information about car accidents caused by road defects, including who can be liable for these crashes and how we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries.

Liability for Virginia Road Defect Crashes

Virginia follows a fault-based system when determining liability for car accidents, which means that a driver who causes a crash is financially responsible for any injuries and other losses resulting from the accident. If you are involved in a car accident caused by another driver, you will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy for compensation. 

On the other hand, if you get into a car crash caused by road defects, rather than another driver, the agency or entity responsible for maintaining the road might be financially responsible for your injuries and other losses. However, various laws apply if you hold the government accountable for your injuries, so hiring a knowledgeable attorney is crucial to pursuing the compensation you need. 

Challenges in Recovering Compensation for Virginia Road Defect Accidents

Recovering compensation for Virginia road defect accidents can be challenging for various reasons, primarily because government agencies and employees in Virginia enjoy broad immunity from personal injury claims. The Virginia Tort Claims Act (VTCA) provides that a government employee who negligently or intentionally causes personal injury, property damage, or death while acting within the scope of their employment can be liable under specific circumstances. However, according to the Institute for Justice (IJ), there are several exceptions, particularly for county and municipal agencies, which are generally not responsible for the actions of their employees. Thus, holding these agencies accountable for road defect accidents can be challenging. The following laws also present obstacles: 

  • Filing a claim against the Commonwealth of Virginia requires giving written notice – Under Virginia law, anyone filing a claim against a state agency must file a written statement within one year of the accident that caused the injury, with few exceptions. If written notice is not filed in time, a claimant could permanently lose their right to take legal action against the state, so hiring a lawyer is essential to meet the deadline.
  • Legal action against the Commonwealth must be taken before the statutory deadline – Under Virginia law, you must file a lawsuit against a state agency within 18 months of the filing of the notice of the claim or within two years after the accident that injured you. Otherwise, the court could dismiss your case, and you could lose your right to seek compensation in civil court.

Common Causes of Road Defect Accidents

Some common road defects that cause accidents in Virginia include:

  • Potholes
  • Uneven pavement
  • Lack of proper signage
  • Faulty traffic lights
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Road debris
  • Oil spills
  • Inadequate drainage
  • Worn-out road markings
  • Construction zones
  • Shoulder drop-offs
  • Damaged guardrails or barriers

Our Virginia Beach Road Defect Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help

The car accident attorneys at Deering Hedrick Law, PC, have the skills to hold government agencies in Virginia accountable. Call us today at 757-383-6848 or visit our contact page for a free consultation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We will contact you to arrange a consultation at a time to suit you.

We will always treat your information in complete confidence.

You can always call us on:

Phone lines are open 24 hours.

Get in touch