Dangerous and defective roads can not only cause accidents, but also make accidents caused by other means much worse. Both the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and private contractors are tasked with the design, building, maintenance, and safety of Illinois roadways. Unfortunately, budget constraints have caused basic repairs to fall to the wayside and full overhauls of these dangerous roadways and bridges seem completely out of reach. When IDOT and outside contractors fail to keep the roads safe, both drivers and passengers are put at risk for serious injury and death.
Although most auto accidents on our roads are caused by driver error, another common cause of these accidents is poor road-maintenance. When an accident results directly from the negligence of a state agency or private party in maintaining a roadway, the victim may be eligible for compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, and more.
Poorly-maintained roads can cause an auto accident or vehicular damage in a variety of ways, including:
- Potholes, cracks, and trenches
- Missing or damaged guardrails
- Uneven pavement or shoulders
- Roads with little or no shoulder
- Improper drainage and water pooling
- Pavement markings that are faded or missing
- Blind spots
- Objects on the roadway
- Lack of proper signage
- Signage blocked by debris or foliage
- Construction hazards including lane closures, speed reductions, and large vehicles
Whether these hazards legally qualify as negligence is often fact-specific and depends heavily on the circumstances of the case. When a pothole results in an accident, for example, determining negligence may depend on what created the pothole, how long it existed, weather conditions, and the road conditions in the days or weeks prior to the accident.
Even if your accident due to a road hazard was a single-car accident which did not involve another driver, the entity responsible for maintaining the roadways may still be responsible for the accident. Don’t immediately assume that the accident was your fault because you were the only one involved; our personal injury attorneys will help you determine whether you have a case for negligence.
In Illinois, a lawsuit for an auto accident caused directly by defective roads may be filed in one of two ways: 1) common law negligence, or 2) violation of the Illinois Road and Bridge Construction Act. Our attorneys will assist you in the following ways:
Advise you of your claim’s potential – Not all injured victims will be eligible for compensation in a personal injury case, even for a serious injury; when an individual is entirely at-fault for his/her own accident, for example, no one else can be held accountable. On the other hand, if the accident was caused at least in part by the negligence of another person or entity, it is likely that you have a solid and viable claim under Illinois law. Your attorney may also interview witnesses or conduct certain forms of investigation to find evidence of negligence.
Review your options – Some accident victims who suffer injuries may expect to file an immediate lawsuit, march into court, and be awarded a large chunk of money from the jury, but this is rarely how the process occurs. There are ways to earn your compensation without this type of litigation, and the few cases which do go to trial usually involve very serious injuries. Our personal injury lawyers will negotiate with the insurance company to obtain the best-possible settlement for your losses, which is likely to end in your favor without the need for a jury trial.
Investigate the accident and gather evidence – A legal claim will, of course, require evidence that the defendant’s negligence caused your accident and resulting personal injuries. This may involve multiple investigations, including: interviewing witnesses; obtaining video surveillance footage of the accident, if possible; reviewing safety records and related documents; obtaining medical records and police reports; consulting accident-reconstruction experts; and conducting depositions or other legal discovery methods.
Determine the value of your case – Auto accident claims, as with other personal injury claims, require a specific requested amount of compensation for your injuries and losses, which must be calculated based on past losses incurred as well as estimated future losses, such as lost wages and present and future medical expenses. Personal injury victims may also seek to recover compensation for “non-economic” losses, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Represent you in court – In the unlikely event that a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, a trial will be necessary and you simply cannot afford to do it alone. Our attorneys will fight for you until the very end to earn full and fair compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident due to road defects, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will file your claim and take care of the insurance company, medical bills, property damage, and lost income. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, our personal injury lawyers are not paid attorney fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.