Road improvements in late 2018 were meant to streamline traffic in Helotes, but residents at a town hall meeting on June 10, 2019, were airing some troubling concerns. More specifically, residents and local workers informed the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) representative present at the meeting that far from streamlining traffic, the finished construction project created what is essentially a blind curve at the intersection of FM 1560 and Bandera Road, as well as a near-blind intersection at FM 1560 and Riggs Road, nearby. If you are involved in an accident of this type, that can be attributed to poor city planning, it is possible to win compensation for your injuries, but it can be difficult without an experienced attorney to help.
Government Liability for Accidents Is Specific
Road accidents happen every day, and while most of them are due to the negligence of one or more drivers involved, there is a subset of car crashes that happen as a direct result of poor road maintenance or planning. Road maintenance issues like potholes, missing guardrails or signs, poor drainage, or unmarked drop-offs can sometimes even be a result of poor planning – for example, using the wrong grade of concrete or other materials can lead to an uneven surface to drive on, or it can upset the water table to the point where signs or lights cannot be installed.
There are also other potential road safety issues that can plausibly be laid at the door of the entity that handles the maintenance for that particular thoroughfare. For example, construction zones often create safety issues through lack of signs, lights, or other clear markings – TxDOT data reports just over 27,000 crashes in work zones in 2017. Another common cause of traffic crashes is debris on the road – for example, items falling off trucks or natural debris like rocks or dirt. The maintaining entity has a duty to clear the road as soon as possible, and sometimes this simply does not happen.
Beware of Sovereign Immunity
If you have been in an accident involving poor city planning or maintenance, be advised that the first major hurdle that your case will face is whether or not the governmental entity (usually TxDOT) is immune from suit in this case. Governments and their agencies are entitled to what the law calls sovereign immunity, meaning that they are immune from specific types of lawsuits from individuals. While this might seem unfair, the rationale is that if the government could be sued for anything, no governing would ever be done.
Sovereign immunity is waived if your lawsuit meets certain criteria set down in the Texas Tort Claims Act. They are: (1) that a government employee was acting within the scope of that employment; (2) the damage or injury to you happened due to the use of a motor vehicle or motor-driven equipment; and (3) the employee would be liable to you under normal Texas law, if they were a regular person. All three of these must be true in your case, or it will likely be barred due to sovereign immunity.
Call a New Braunfels Car Crash Attorney
While it remains to be seen if any serious accidents do occur on the blind curve in Helotes, it is important that you understand your rights as a driver if you are ever injured due to poor road maintenance. The skilled New Braunfels car accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm are well versed in these types of cases, and we are happy to try and assist you with yours if you have been injured. Call our office at 888-392-0039 today to schedule a free consultation.