In Virginia, those who own private and public roadways are responsible for their maintenance. If the entity or agency tasked with upkeeping a roadway fails to do so properly, they can be held liable for a car accident caused by a road defect. Pursuing financial compensation for an accident related to a roadway defect can be difficult if it involves a local or state agency because there are a lot of obstacles involved in suing the government. The Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have the resources and skills to help those injured in road defect accidents seek justice. With more than five decades of combined experience helping car accident victims receive the compensation they are entitled to for their medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages.
How is Liability Determined in Road Defect Car Accidents?
When determining liability for a traffic accident, Virginia observes a fault-based system. This means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for covering the injuries and other damages they caused. If you are involved in an accident that was caused by another motorist, your claim for compensation will be filed with their insurance company.
Conversely, if you are involved in a car accident caused by a roadway defect, the entity or agency responsible for the roadway’s maintenance could be financially liable for your injuries and other damages. If you plan on holding the government responsible for your losses, there are multiple laws that must be followed. Working with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer is critical to obtaining the financial compensation you need.
What Challenges Are Involved in Recovering Compensation for a Road Defect Accident?
Recovering damages for a Virginia Beach road defect accident is challenging for many reasons, the main reason being that government employees and agencies enjoy extensive impunity from personal injury claims. According to the Virginia Tort Claims Act, any government worker who deliberately or negligently causes death, personal injury, or property damage while operating within the scope of their job may be held liable in certain cases. There are, however, multiple exceptions, especially for municipal and county agencies, which, generally speaking, are not responsible for their employees’ actions. For this reason, holding one of these agencies responsible for a roadway defect accident can be extremely difficult. Additional obstacles are presented by laws such as:
- Filing a claim requires written notice: Pursuant to Virginia law, an individual wishing to bring a claim against a state agency is required to file a written statement no more than six months from the day of the accident. If you fail to file your written notice within this time frame, you can lose your right to take legal action. Working with a knowledgeable car accident attorney is key to ensuring this deadline is met.
- The statutory deadline must be met: Virginia law also states that any lawsuit against a Virginia agency must be brought no more than 18 months after the notice of the claim has been filed or two years from the day of the accident. Failure to meet these deadlines will result in the dismissal of your case and the loss of your right to pursue financial compensation.
What Are the Leading Causes of Virginia Beach Road Defect Accidents?
Some of the leading road defects that lead to Virginia Beach car accidents are:
- Uneven pavement
- Missing signage
- Defective traffic signals
- Insufficient lighting
- Debris in the roadway
- Oil slicks
- Improper drainage
- Worn-out street markings
- Damaged barriers or guardrails
- Shoulder drop-offs
- Construction zones
Talk to a Virginia Beach Road Defect Car Accident Attorney
Our Virginia Beach car accident attorneys have five decades of experience in helping injured accident victims get the financial recovery they deserve, as was the case when we secured this $235,000 settlement for our client who was injured in a Virginia Beach car accident. Contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule your free consultation by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out the simple contact form on our website.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.