Accidents that occur on major highways can lead to serious injuries for drivers and passengers. Unfortunately, many freeway and highway accidents occur due to the faulty design of the roadway itself. At Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C., we understand that this can present obstacles when it comes to securing compensation that victims need. Our Charlotte negligent freeway design attorneys will work to secure any compensation you are entitled to if you have been injured. You deserve to have an advocate standing by your side in these situations.
What does a negligent freeway design mean?
The construction and maintenance of a freeway or highway is the responsibility of various parties. This can include the North Carolina government as well as local governmental agencies. However, highway and freeway construction and design are often the responsibility of third-party construction companies.
Unfortunately, a poor highway or freeway design can lead to significant accidents that cause severe injuries for victims. There are various ways that a freeway design can become hazardous. This includes:
- A lack of guardrails
- A lack of proper warning signs
- Highway signs improperly placed so as to direct traffic in the wrong direction
- Signs obscured by vegetation
- Defective traffic control systems
- Missing shoulders on the freeway
- Failing to maintain freeway shoulders
- Sharp curves or turns in the roadway
Who is liable in these cases?
The owner of the roadway, whether that is the state of North Carolina or a local municipal government, is ultimately responsible for the design of the roadway, as well as maintenance and repair. However, filing a lawsuit against any governmental entity can be incredibly difficult. In these cases, victims of injuries are allowed to file lawsuits against a government entity under the NC Tort Claims Act.
Claims against a state or local government in North Carolina must be filed within three years from the date the injury occurred. If the incident involved the death of a victim, family members must file a wrongful death claim within two years from the date of death. These claims will be filed with the state Industrial Commission.
Proving liability in these incidents is going to require the assistance from an attorney with vast experience handling complicated injury cases. It may be necessary to work with highway design experts to provide witness testimony as to the dangers of the roadway where the accident occurred.
Steps to take immediately following an accident caused by a bad freeway design
If you have been involved in or injured an accident caused by a poorly designed freeway in or around the Charlotte area, there are various steps that you can take immediately following the incident to ensure you have the best chance of recovering compensation for your losses. Regardless of whether or not your crash is resolved through settlement with an insurance carrier or through a personal injury lawsuit, these steps will be beneficial:
- Call the police: You need to call 911 as soon as a crash occurs so that police, fire, and EMS professionals can get to the scene of the incident. Law enforcement officials will be responsible for conducting a preliminary investigation into the incident, and most insurance carriers will not payout any claims if they do not have an accident report.
- Seek immediate medical care: It is crucial for crash victims to seek immediate medical care. Even if the injuries do not seem severe, please understand that the signs and symptoms of many car accident injuries do not appear until hours or days after an incident occurs. By seeking care, a crash victim is not only ensuring their own well being, but they are also establishing a link between the incident and their injuries.
- Gather evidence: Any person injured in an accident caused by a negligent freeway design needs to gather as much evidence as possible, but only if it is safe to do so at the scene of a crash. Victims can use their cell phones or other types of cameras to take photographs of everything at the scene, including vehicle damage, the area of the freeway that is suspected to be faulty, debris, skid marks, traffic and weather conditions, and more. Additionally, the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses need to be gathered.
- Notify your insurance carrier: The insurance carrier should be notified that an accident occurred, but do not go into much detail with the insurance carrier. We will discuss this more below.
- Contact a Charlotte vehicle accident attorney: A skilled vehicle accident lawyer in Charlotte will be an invaluable asset when it comes to securing full compensation for these cases. An attorney can use their resources and expertise to gather all of the evidence needed to determine liability.
- Continue all medical care: All crash victims must continue treatment plans laid forth by their doctor. Any crash victim who discontinues care before their doctor says they have reached maximum medical improvement runs the risk of their claim being delayed or denied by the insurance carrier.
Does your insurance carrier need to know about these crashes?
Regardless of what caused your vehicle accident, you will need to contact your insurance carrier and let them know what happened. Insurance carriers have fairly strict reporting deadlines when it comes to these incidents, and they could delay or deny your claim if you do not promptly report the crash. When you make your initial report, you do not need to go into much detail with the insurance carrier. In fact, the less you tell the insurance carrier, to begin with, the better. Your initial report to the insurance carrier will usually only need to include letting them know that the accident occurred, where it occurred, and the names and contact information of those involved.
If you suspect that your vehicle accident was caused by a negligent freeway design, you need to refer any questions that your insurance carrier has to your Charlotte vehicle accident lawyer. An attorney has experience handling these cases, and they will know what to say to the insurance carrier in these situations. Needless to say, it is unlikely that accident victims in these cases will be freeway design experts. Going in-depth with the insurance carrier will do nothing but hamper a victim’s ability to recover the compensation they need.
We can help with your case today
If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident caused by a poorly designed freeway or highway, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C., our team has the experience necessary to conduct a complete investigation into your case and secure any compensation you may be entitled to. This can include:
- Full coverage of your medical expenses
- Lost income if you cannot work while you recover
- Any household out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life damages