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Roadway Maintenance Negligence: Who’s to Blame?

There are over 4,000,000 miles of road in the United States. Roughly two-thirds of these roads are paved and maintained by federal and state governments. Maintaining pristine roadways is a nearly insurmountable task, but government-contracted construction projects aim to appease any dissatisfaction with current roadway infrastructure.

When negligence leads to property damage, it can be difficult to pin blame on a single entity. Should you take issue with the government? The contracted developer? What about the innumerable people who depend on roadways to get to work, but wear them down every day during their daily commute? In this informative article, our Jacksonville construction lawyers will outline roadway hazards and the entities liable when negligence causes an accident.

Roadway Infrastructure

Roads, highways, and bridges are all important components of our society’s infrastructure. Simply put, without roads there would be significantly fewer jobs, opportunities, and overall development. Modern society relies on transportation to function. It drives the economy and encourages us to spread outward in search of our ideal life. There’s nothing more American than public roadways.

Hazards of the Road

Unfortunately, one of the most valuable pieces of our country’s infrastructure can be hazardous, even deadly. When a bridge collapsed in Miami on March 15th, 2018 we were reminded that an infrastructure-related accident can both help and harm a community in Florida. The incident in Miami dumped 950 tons of corrugated steel and debris on a busy pedestrian intersection, leaving 6 dead. Other roadway hazards include:

  • Potholes and erosion
  • Missing or broken road markers and guardrails
  • Debris
  • Uneven pavement
  • Poor drainage
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Liability

Pointing fingers is easy, but figuring out who is truly liable for roadway maintenance negligence is a complex, multi-faceted issue that rarely produces definitive answers. Generally, fault lies with the city, county, or state. It’s likely that the government contractor employed multiple agencies for different parts of the initial construction or any upkeep later on.

To pursue a lawsuit against an agency, you must be able to prove that they were negligent, whether accidentally or intentionally. Something pronounced, like a missing guardrail that has not been addressed, could possibly constitute negligence. On the other hand, if a piece of airborne debris damages your car, it is difficult to determine who the liable party is.

Roadway maintenance requires an intensive effort with numerous drawbacks. Diligent restoration results in increased traffic. Ignoring roadway maintenance creates hazardous conditions on the road. If you are contracted by the government to build or restore roadway infrastructure, speak with a Jacksonville construction litigation attorney to learn how to complete your project without any future backlash.

If you would like to speak with a Jacksonville construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.