Poor Road Maintenance
The United States Department of Transportation has found that 73% of Illinois roads are in fair to poor condition. Many are nearly half a century old, and the maintenance that they require is substantial. Poor road maintenance can cause car accidents in Chicago. If you are injured in a car accident as a result of poor road maintenance, you may have a basis to sue the entity responsible for maintaining the road. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our Chicago car accident attorneys are ready to provide tough, skillful legal representation.Claims Based on Poor Road Maintenance
Both government agencies and private companies design and build roads. Generally, they are supposed to maintain passable areas in construction zones and provide appropriate signage. If an aspect of the road, such as something that is poorly maintained, is a substantial cause of a crash, it may be possible to hold the entity responsible for maintenance liable for the damages. Dangers on the road that are caused by poor maintenance can include road debris, damaged utility lines, uneven pavement, potholes, worn out bridges, malfunctioning traffic signals, fallen debris from a semi-trailer or truck that has not been cleaned up, and poorly placed foliage.
Among other things, you will need to show that the poor road maintenance caused a dangerous condition that was the actual and proximate cause of your injuries. You will also need to show that the road's owner or an entity responsible for maintenance was negligent in its maintenance duties or should have provided warnings. When a road is private, and you were a lawful traveler on the road, you will need to show that the owner had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition but did not repair it or issue appropriate warnings.
Sometimes the federal, state, or local government owns the road in question. In that case, it becomes necessary to determine who should be held liable and whether it is possible to sue the entity that is responsible for the poor road maintenance. Most government actors possess sovereign immunity unless that immunity is specifically waived. Although governmental entities often do have immunity from suit, this immunity has limits. They can still be held accountable in personal injury lawsuits arising from negligently maintained roads.
An injured person and their attorney can sue the state of Illinois under the Court of Claims Act as the owner of the road as long as the same claim related to poor road maintenance would be available were it brought against a private person or company. You will need to either file a notice of your claim with the Attorney General and the Clerk of the Court of Claims within a year of the accident date or file a lawsuit with the Court of Claims within a year of the accident date. If you file your claim within a year of the accident date, notice is not necessary. All claims need to be filed within two years of the accident date, even if you first give notice. The notice must contain specific information. A premises liability claim against the state may be appropriate if the poor road maintenance created a dangerous condition on the state road, and the state had notice of this dangerous condition.
Illinois state employees are immune from liability for poor road maintenance as long as their actions or omissions are "discretionary." Discretionary acts are those that are unique to public office and require judgment and deliberation. In contrast, ministerial acts are those performed in a prescribed way by obeying legal authority.
The Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act is used for injury claims against municipalities, school districts, and other local government entities based on a poorly maintained city road. This law strictly restricts the claims that can be brought against local governments.Retain a Car Accident Attorney in Chicago to Navigate the Legal Process
If you were injured as a result of poor road maintenance in Chicago, you should consult an experienced car crash attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent victims and families of victims of fatal accidents in Chicago, Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other cities in Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online, for a free consultation.