Texas car accidents happen for a variety of reasons. From speeding to distracted driving, from drowsy driving to driving under the influence of alcohol, there are a lot of hazards out there.
These are all commonly-known causes. But have you ever thought about the fact that a poorly-maintained roadway could cause or contribute to an accident?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, single vehicle, run-off-the-road accidents resulted in 1,161 deaths in 2019.
While there are no statistics showing how many of these accidents were the result of poorly maintained roadways, these fatality numbers may hint at a government-based issue that plagues many roads throughout the state of Texas.
What is a poorly-maintained road?
Poorly-maintained roads come in many forms, but some are more serious than others.
For instance, potholes are never fun, but they don’t generally cause accidents. At the worst, these have the potential to damage your vehicle.
Common examples of poorly-maintained roadways include:
- Uneven pavement
- Roads that are susceptible to standing water as a result of poor design or a malfunctioning drainage system
- Oil or other slick substances on the driving surface
- Missing, damaged, or defective guardrails
- Inadequate sightlines
- Damage caused by construction
- Dangerous curves without the proper safety warning signs
- Fallen trees and related debris
- Road obstructions
As you can see, there are many examples of poorly maintained roadways, although not all of them occur at the fault of government negligence.
For instance, if a tree falls during a storm and it causes an accident a few minutes later – before local authorities have time to clean it up – it can be a challenge to place blame on a government entity.
Are you ready to sue the Texas government?
There are two important steps to take following an accident caused by a poorly-maintained road:
- Call 911 to report the incident and to receive medical treatment and transportation to a local hospital.
- Collect evidence related to the accident (if possible).
Along with this, it’s important to know that the government isn’t always the only party responsible for the accident. The court could assign a percentage of blame to one or more parties, such as the government and another driver.
What is the Texas Tort Claims Act?
Under the Texas Tort Claims Act, individuals have the legal right to sue both local and state governments as a result of specific actions.
In the event of a car accident, the two actions that can result in a claim against the local or state government include:
- An accident caused by dangerous conditions on property that the government owns, such as a roadway.
- Car accidents caused by the negligence of a government worker.
Despite the legal right to file a claim against your government, the Texas Tort Claims Act places limits on how much compensation you can seek and receive.
The limit depends on the government agency involved, with a maximum of $250,000 per victim and a total of $500,000 per accident.
File your notice of claim within the deadline
There are differences between filing a claim against a private party, such as another driver, and a government agency.
The primary difference is that you’re required to file a notice of claim to sue the government.
According to the Texas Tort Claims Act, you’re required to file a notice of claim with the appropriate government agency within six months of the date of the accident.
Local governments often have their own set of rules, many of which require you to file a notice of claim within 30 or 60 days. For example, Houston has a 90-day time limit.
Should you fail to file a notice of claim in a timely manner, it can disqualify you from receiving compensation for damages related to the accident.
Yes, you need legal help
There’s nothing simple about suing a government agency.
From collecting evidence, to valuing your case, to filing a notice of claim, you’re sure to find yourself bogged down with the legal details. And that’s why it’s imperative to consult with an experienced Houston injury attorney early in the process.
With a Houston personal injury attorney on your side, you never have to worry about missing a deadline or making a mistake pertaining to the Texas Tort Claims Act.
You’re in a difficult spot and you don’t want to make any mistakes that will add more confusion and stress.
If a poorly-maintained Texas city road or similar safety hazard caused a car accident, learn more about your legal rights and how to seek proper compensation from the government.