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Car Accident due to Road Defect

Despite studies which show that more than 90% of car crashes are due to driver error, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not automatically put the blame on drivers every time a car accident occurs.

Though it may be true that thousands of drivers are careless, reckless, distracted, overspeed or drive while under the influence (of alcohol or illegal drugs), there are still car accidents that are due to factors that outside of a driver’s control. Traffic enforcers work so hard to ensure and maintain safety in all U.S. roads and highways; but what if the actual cause of dangers are the very roads and highways where millions of motor vehicles are driven every day?

Road or highway defects are also identified by the NHTSA as contributing factors to car accidents. These include simple cracks, improperly designed and constructed curvatures, pot holes, uneven pavements, faulty guardrail end treatments, substandard road construction, wrong , misplaced or absent road signs, lack of pedestrian crossings, lack of traffic lights or railroad crossing lights, insufficient street lighting, and poor skid resistance of roadways. These defects are usually due to the use of sub-standard materials, and very poor road design, construction, maintenance and repair.

No matter how careful a driver may be, or how much he/she obeys traffics rules, or regularly inspects and maintains his/her vehicle, an unnoticed defect on the road can cause him/her to lose control of the vehicle and end up suffering from a serious car accident injury.

The dangerous effects of a defectively-designed highway or a poorly-maintained street can be extensive because these affect majority of, if not all, motorists. States, municipalities and cities are the ones responsible in the construction and maintenance of roads. States, however, have immunity from any form of liability (despite injuries during an accident), which is based on the rule that, so long as they follow approved construction plans, then they are exempt from paying any claims by an accident victim.

The chance of a victim in winning a court’s approval to claim for damages, therefore, depends on the ability and competence of a car accident lawyer, who will have to prove that the risk of accident should have been foreseen or discovered (by the state).

According to The Benton Law Firm, poor road quality causes thousands of accidents annually on U.S. roads and highways. Both state and federal laws mandate that cities, towns, and counties must keep roadways safe. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to maintain every road, and safety is not always a guarantee. Road defects cause accidents that often result in injuries and death. With help from a seasoned personal injury lawyer, you may be able to receive the compensation you deserve from the responsible party.

What to Do After a Car Accident

According to data gathered by the United States Bureau, an average of 10.6 million motor vehicle accidents occurred each year between 2004 and 2009. Such a significant number proves how common car crashes and road accidents are in America. Considering the statistics, it won’t come as a surprise when you suddenly find yourself in the same situation. The website of McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm suggests taking the following steps should you ever find yourself in a minor collision.

When you become involved in a car crash, the first thing you will need to do is gather as much information about the incident as you possibly can. Note down the date and exact time of the accident. If the weather was bad, take note of the weather conditions as well. It’s important that you exchange information with the other driver involved in crash. Get their name, address, license number and expiration date, as well as their insurance details. You should also try to learn more about the car they were driving by asking for the vehicle registration. If they had passengers, try to get to know them as well. In turn, you should offer the other driver the same information.

It is also crucial to gather information about individuals who have witnessed your accident. Ask them if they can recount what had happened from what they saw, and ask for their names, addresses, and telephone numbers. If you can, you should also take pictures of the scene. When the police arrive, you should note down the name and badge number of the office you are speaking with and ask when you will be able to have a copy of the accident’s report.

Even minor collisions can result to injury so make sure you seek out medical treatment right away. If a physician finds that you have been injured by the accident and you would like to receive compensation to help cover treatment costs, the next step is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. They will be the ones to advise you on the next steps you should take.

Drunk Driving – A Crime in All 50 States

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies drunk-driving as one of the major causes of car accidents in the United States. It is primarily due to this that all of the nation’s 50 states have ruled it as a crime to drive while intoxicated, more specifically, to drive with a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Though punishment may vary from one state to another, these are nonetheless harsh to discourage anyone from violating the law. Austin DWI attorney Ian Inglis states in an article posted in their website that driving under the influence of intoxicants is considered a crime and is punishable by suspension of license and driving privileges, probation and fines.

The punishments imposed on those convicted of DUI or DWI in state of Rhode Island are not less harsh either. DWI attorneys at The Law Offices of Matthew T. Marin, Esq., Inc. state on their website that a conviction can result in community service, imprisonment, fines plus “the the installation of an ignition interlock device” (a device that is capable of analyzing a driver’s breath; it automatically disables the ignition upon detection of alcohol) inside the offender’s vehicle.

An ignition interlock is a device that is required in 45 states; these states allow certain offenders to continue driving, but only if the device has been installed in their vehicle. Individuals caught with a 0.08% or higher BAC level can be convicted of DWI – driving while intoxicated / DUI – driving under the influence / OVI – operating a vehicle under the influence / OWI – operating while impaired (term/s used to refer to the crime depends on which state you are convicted). Making matters worse for the apprehended driver, confiscation of his/her driver’s license when he/she fails (or refuses to undergo) a chemical test is allowed in many states through a procedure called the administrative license suspension.

Accidents Due to Road Hazards and Highway Defects: A Major Failure by the Government?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA has never fallen short in its efforts to remind all drivers about the necessity of observing traffic rules and responsible driving. Regardless of the type of vehicle you drive, the NHTSA has specific advertisements and programs which are intended to give you whatever information (regarding road safety) you need to know.

Obviously, millions of vehicular accidents can be blamed on drivers. As NHTSA’s records show, the most common causes of road accidents are drunk-driving, driver error (such as failure to use the seatbelt of signal lights), (over or under) speeding and reckless driving. The website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, based on the so many auto accident cases they have handled and defended well, confirms the fact that no matter how carefully you follow traffic rules there are just some drivers who do not have the same amount of care, being more pre-occupied with their interests than with the safety of all others.

But let us set aside such issues for now and face another fact – that there are many other instances when the cause of the accident is beyond the control of the driver. Some of these can be blamed on the manufacturers of cars and car parts, where low-quality materials are used, while promising great performance just to ensure salability.

Though manufacturers may affect only those who patronize their products and put to risk only these certain few (and their victims) while on the road, there is another factor which directly affects all motorists, putting not just a few, but everybody’s life in danger – road hazards or highway defects.

When a driver violates safety traffic rules, the government’s traffic authorities catches and charges them with the appropriate cases; when manufacturers sell parts that fail industry and government standards, they are charged with product liability (if these parts become the reason for an accident). But when the problem concerns highway defects or road hazards (like roadway debris, potholes, uneven pavement, missing road signs, damaged or missing guardrail), which can very well result to major accidents and severe injuries, who will run after the government, where the responsibility of ensuring the construction of good roads, maintaining the roads’ safeness and displaying of road warning signs where appropriate, lies?

The Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, which continue in its defense of so many clients who are victims of accident-related injuries, have witnessed how victims undergo the physical, emotional (and even financial) sufferings caused by their injuries. Regardless of who’s at fault – a private individual, a firm or a governmental entity, once injuries are sustained, the liable party will have to do justice; such is what the requires and the law excuses no one.