In the past, I have written about how road conditions can play a part in car accident scenarios and about how poor care can lead to very serious, or even fatal, outcomes. This message was, devastatingly, reinforced recently.
The news of the car accident came out of Iowa where a teenager lost his life when a friend lost control of her car around a poorly designed curve in the road. According to Channel 13 news, four teens were in the car when seventeen-year-old Ashley McGrauth failed to make the corner. The man whose yard hosted the scene of the accident said that this was not the first time an accident like this has occurred.
“I’ve had life flight twice in my yard picking up people; they come around this curve way too fast,” says Boone County Resident John Kester.
Kester has lived in his home for 30 years and says year after year people take the curve too fast and end up in his front yard.
“They get scared because they start sliding they hit the brakes and they slide in and come into my ditch or into my fence, I’ve fixed my fence probably ten times, I’ve put new fence up and post up and usually they have to pay for it but it’s still a pain because I do it,” says Kester.
Channel 13, Des Moines, Iowa
This type of car accident is a reminder that we must be aware of the potential dangers that exist on the road. It also makes people wonder what the government will do to prevent a repeat of this situation.
Responsibility. The roads are meant to be maintained and carefully engineered to ensure the highest level of safety for all drivers and passengers. It is important to understand that more than one government agency may be responsible for the same stretch of road because there are numerous tasks involved in maintaining them.
Determining the cause of the accident is a lot more difficult than simply pointing to the sharp curve in the road. The driver may have been under the influence, speeding, distracted, or otherwise ill-equipped to make the turn. It is also possible that weather had an impact. Heavy winds, rain, or glaring sun can make it challenging for drivers to follow the path of the road.
Negligence. It could be proven that the road design was the cause of the accident discussed above. If that is the case, then the government agency in charge of the design and maintenance of that stretch of pavement could be considered negligent. This is even more likely when, as in this case, earlier incidents have pointed to a potential problem, which was seemingly overlooked by the agency in question.
Filing a Claim. Not so fast. It is important to understand that there is a certain level of immunity when it comes to government agencies. Lawsuits are not as easily brought against a state, county, or town, as they could be against a corporation. That is not to say that it is impossible to file a lawsuit against the city of St. Petersburg if damaged roads caused you to suffer serious injuries. Often the government will allow for exceptions in such cases. That being said, it will not generally be an easily won case. You will want to hire an experienced Pinellas personal injury attorney if you want to walk away with a fair outcome. In most cases, the plaintiff standing against a government agency will have a greater burden – having to prove that the agency was grossly negligent, acting far outside the realm of official and moral responsibilities.
The basic message here is, if you have suffered like the teens in the story told above, then you likely deserve to be compensated for your losses. You will need the help of a personal injury attorney but it is not impossible to get the desired outcome when the negligence is clearly in the hands of government officials.