The Maine road hazard attorneys of Peter Thompson & Associates are recognized leaders in personal injury law. We are dedicated to helping victims injured by the negligence of others. Our firm has successfully handled all types of cases involving accidents caused by road hazards, recovering substantial awards for injury victims throughout Maine.
Cars have clearly visible hazard lights for a reason. Unfortunately, alerting drivers of road hazards is not as simple as pressing a button. In most cases, people do not anticipate the many dangers inherent in driving. Distracted motorists, sudden braking and lane changes all contribute to the preventable traffic accidents plaguing our roads. Even the most prepared drivers cannot detect every hazard or escape route all the time. Accidents caused by road hazards are bound to happen. Becoming familiar with clues that signal road hazards is essential to diminishing the risk of a crash. Drivers who spot these clues have a better chance of slowing down and preparing themselves for potential accidents. Common “harbingers” of road hazards include:
- Construction or work zones
- Sharp drop at the edge of a road
- Narrowing lanes or “bottlenecks”
- Stopped bus, schoolchildren crossing
- Inclement weather, slippery roads
- Falling objects from another vehicle
- Downhill speed limits, hairpin turns
- Disabled vehicle, roadside assistance
- Unmarked exits and freeway onramps
- Loose asphalt, poor road construction
- Single or multiple-car traffic accidents
- Distracted drivers, pedestrians, cyclists
Maine personal injury law protects drivers harmed by negligence. Any person, business, or combination of parties can be liable for creating a road hazard that causes an accident. Under basic principles of negligence, these parties must compensate the victim for any damages incurred from the crash. Distracted drivers, for example, are liable for the injured victim’s medical expenses, lost income, and damages for pain and suffering. These are all costs that negligent parties and their insurers must pay. Even if drivers are partially at fault for the accident, Maine law allows recovery of damages reduced in proportion to their comparative negligence.
Construction companies and subcontractors are similarly responsible for properly marking construction sites and other work zones. Men at work on a highway present a foreseeable risk to drivers. The construction may block the driver’s path or require the merging of four lanes into one. A poorly-marked exit or closed onramp is often the culprit of traffic pile-ups. Whether workers are picking up trash or performing construction on a road, the contractors have a duty to properly section off the area and post signs. Construction, work, and detour signs must be clearly visible to drivers and give them reasonable notice of a hazard.
Where poor road conditions cause the hazard, the city or municipality is generally liable. Government entities often outsource their work to private and independent contractors. These companies can also hire subcontractors to complete the job. If negligent road construction caused an accidental injury, the victim may be entitled to compensation from multiple entities. The ability to establish “vicarious” liability will depend on whether the negligent parties can be characterized as “agents” whose shoddy workmanship fell within the scope of their employment. Multi-party defendants may also be “jointly and severally liable” for the full amount of damages.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a road hazard, contact the experienced Maine road hazard lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates today. Maine law limits the amount of time injured parties have to file a claim. In cases involving municipalities or other public agencies, the deadline may be shorter. Prompt action is necessary to preserve your rights and the full value of your claim. At Peter Thompson & Associates, we have recovered million-dollar verdicts against Fortune 500 companies and the nation’s largest insurers. We are dedicated to helping you achieve the best outcome possible at trial or through settlement. Call 1.800.804.2004 for a free consultation or contact us online.