Sometimes, no matter how carefully you drive, you may find yourself in a dangerous and unexpected situation due to a hazard in the roadway. These obstructions can take many forms, including loads that have fallen off the back of trucks, trees and shrubs blocking the view, or cracked and poorly maintained highways. Depending on the size and extent of the obstruction, a resulting collision can be severe. Car accident lawyer Matt Uhrig has advised people in Columbia and other communities throughout Missouri on their rights and options when they have been hurt because of a road hazard.Seeking Compensation through a Negligence Claim Based on a Road Hazard
The first step in determining who may be responsible for your injuries after a road hazard accident is to find out who was responsible for creating the dangerous situation. In many instances, a local government agency or Missouri state agency responsible for maintaining the roadway may be the responsible party, like the Missouri Department of Transportation. A hazard resulting from a government agency can arise from two situations. First, the agency may have failed to maintain the roadway in a safe condition. Alternately, the design of the roadway may have been unreasonably dangerous.
If the hazard resulted from another motorist’s negligence, such as a poorly secured load that fell off the back of a truck, that individual may be held liable for any damages sustained in the ensuing collision. The motorist’s employer may also be held liable if the defendant driver was working in the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the collision.
Whether the hazard arose from a government agency’s negligence or an individual’s negligence, the plaintiff’s first task in recovering damages usually consists of showing that the defendant failed to use the proper care and skill when maintaining or designing the roadway, or operating a vehicle on it. This standard looks at how a reasonably prudent person or entity would behave in a similar situation. If the plaintiff shows that the defendant’s conduct failed to rise to the appropriate standard of care, the plaintiff has proven a breach.
After establishing the duty of care and that the defendant failed to meet it, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s failure was the direct cause of his or her injuries. This is an important step in a negligence claim, often requiring an expert witness or accident reconstructionist to show how the defendant’s conduct caused the accident to occur and how it would not have happened otherwise.
The last step of a negligence claim involves providing evidence of the victim’s harm. Many plaintiffs claim medical expenses, the costs of future treatment, and lost wages due to missing work as part of their damages. If the injuries are severe, the plaintiff may also seek compensation for loss of future earning capacity. Less quantifiable forms of damages may be available as well, such as pain and suffering.Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Collision Case with a Columbia Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been hurt in the Columbia area as the result of a road hazard, experienced motor vehicle collision attorney Matt Uhrig is here to help. Our team also has helped accident victims elsewhere in Missouri, including in Ashland and Jefferson City. We can investigate your claim, gather evidence, and assert your rights against the party responsible for your injuries. We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose. Call us at (573) 657-2050 or contact us online to set up an appointment.