Columbia Road Defects Lawyers
Maintaining the condition of roadways is most often the responsibility of community municipalities or state organizations, and when such a responsibility is disregarded in Columbia, serious car accidents can occur and cause harm to local residents. If you have been involved in a car accident in Columbia caused by a road defect, you may be facing numerous physical and financial obstacles that prevent you from enjoying your normal quality of life.
The Columbia attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC, understand the stress that you may be experiencing in the aftermath of an accident, and we are dedicated to helping you hold those responsible financially accountable for any damage caused. Our Columbia road defects lawyers are dedicated to helping innocent victims, like you, gain access to any resources necessary to your recovery.
Common Road Defects
We, at the Goings Law Firm, LLC, know the far-reaching consequences that road defects can have on drivers and passengers in Columbia, and we are ready to hold the responsible municipality financially accountable for the following:
- Shoulder drop-offs
- Uneven pavement
- Lack of signs
- Lack of guardrails
- Construction site negligence
- Municipal negligence
At the Goings Law Firm, LLC, our Columbia road defects attorneys are committed to making the legal process move along as smoothly as possible for you.
Understanding Road Defects Accidents
Accidents involving defective roadways may make a governmental entity liable for an accident when it was responsible for maintenance of the roadway. While governmental agencies and employees were once immune from lawsuits because of sovereign immunity, the South Carolina Tort Claims Act (SCTCA) does allow people to recover damages from governmental agencies and employees who are found responsible for injuries caused by road defects.
SCTCA claims are different from normal personal injury claims in several ways. One of these is the statute of limitations. Normal, victims have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, with a SCTCA claim, the personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the accident.
Another difference is that compensation in SCTCA claims are capped The maximum recoverable amount for any one person in a single claim is $300,000, and damages cannot exceed $600,000 for a single incident, regardless of the number of claimants or governmental entities involved.
It is important to keep in mind that while you may know a road defect is to blame for your accident, the governmental agency involved will very likely claim that your accident was the result of your own negligence. Proving the government’s fault is never easy in these types of cases, which is exactly why you need a knowledgeable road defects accident attorney so that you are not trying to handle your case by yourself.
One very important thing you can do after your accident is to use any kind of camera you can find to take as many pictures as you can of the particular road defect that caused your accident. Be sure to get photographs from multiple angles and distances so you have a good assortment of images.
Claims against government agencies are challenging, but not necessarily impossible. With an experienced road defects accident attorney on your side who has handled these types of cases before so you can have the best chance of recovering as much compensation as possible.
Goings Law Firm, LLC has multiple lawyers capable of handling defective roadway claims. We will not charge you anything for representing you until you receive compensation for your road defects accident.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Road Defects
How do road defects happen?
Most defective roadways are the simple result of basic wear and tear. Millions of vehicles cross hundreds of roads in South Carolina, and each passing automobile creates additional stress on a roadway. Weather also plays an important role in the degradation of a roadway.
It is government entity’s responsibility to monitor roadway conditions and make improvements or corrections when an area of a roadway becomes unsafe.
Most roadways are layers of material, so as one layer weakens and comes apart, it can also create additional damage to lower layers.
However, some defects in roadways are not because of defects in the roadway materials, but because something external, such as fallen trees, rock slides, or downed power poles, is on the roadways and making them hazardous. The government is responsible for removing these unexpected dangers from roadway.
Additionally, the government could be responsible when important traffic signs or signals are obstructed by overgrown bushes or tree branches, or they have otherwise become inoperative.
How do I report potholes?
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) asks drivers around the state to report potholes by either calling (855) GO-SCDOT (855-467-2368) or (803) 737-1200. You can also visit the SCDOT website to submit a maintenance request.
You will be asked to select a maintenance item (such as pothole, traffic light being out, or trees on roadways), describe the nature of the maintenance work needed, and provide the location. You will also have to provide your contact information and identify the county and road name. You can use the SCDOT Street Finder if you are uncertain of the road name.
What kinds of compensation could I be able to recover from an accident caused by a road defect?
You could be entitled to sizable compensation for your injuries, but the amount will depend on multiple factors, including the severity of your injuries and the degree of governmental negligence involved.
Many cases are ultimately resolved through settlements because the state is often reluctant to take these cases to trial. A settlement can take time to negotiate, but it is often finalized right before a trial is set to begin.
If a case does go to court, then a person’s compensation could come in the form of compensatory damages awarded by a jury. Compensatory damages are usually some combination of economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are the tangible losses a victim has suffered that can be calculated and proven, like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Noneconomic damages apply more to non-quantifiable harm such as pain and suffering, loss of benefits (including affection and sexual relations) of a family relationship, or disfigurement.
You need to have an experience road defects attorney representing you because they a solid understanding of the true value of your claim and will be able to fight to help you recover all of it.
South Carolina Road Defect Statistics
According to the 2017 Traffic Collision Fact Book, debris was responsible for 431 collisions. In 282 collisions, which 102 injuries, obstructions in the roadway were the primary contributor that caused the accidents.
Road surface conditions were to blame in 97 collisions, resulting in 45 injuries.
Road shoulder issues, ruts, holes, and bumps were responsible for 39 collisions, causing 31 injuries.
Traffic control device issues were the primary contributing factor in 22 collisions, resulting in 24 injuries. Other roadway factors were to blame in 48 collisions, which resulted in two fatalities and 18 injuries.
Unknown roadway factors were responsible for 23 collisions, causing 12 injuries.
Contact a Columbia Road Defects Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Columbia car accident caused by a road defect, the lawyers of the Goings Law Firm, LLC, are ready hear about your situation. To discuss your eligibility for legal representation, contact our Columbia office today at (803) 350-9230.