Hilliard Road in Hays County is a fairly commonly used thoroughfare, hitting Lime Kiln Road just a few miles north of Bexar County. To help with the increasing traffic level on Hilliard, the county installed approximately 150 Botts’ dots, which are small ceramic button-like discs ostensibly intended to slow speeds. However, residents have found that the dots are coming loose, causing damage to cars and nearby homes. What many do not realize is that in situations like this, you may be able to sue either the city or the contractor who installed the dots, and try to recover for any medical expenses or property damages you might have incurred after being struck by a flying disc.
Poorly Maintained Roads Cause Damage
Texas is a very large state, and its roads require constant upkeep. Average wear and tear is something that every driver accepts as part of using Texas roads, but when something out of the ordinary happens, drivers should know that they have options to seek redress. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates that almost 40 percent of Texas roads are in poor or mediocre condition. If a road is in poor repair, in theory, it means that the governmental entity in charge of its maintenance is not doing its job.
In order to hold a governmental entity responsible for an accident caused by poor road maintenance, a driver must be able to show that the entity (in Texas, most often it will be the Texas Department of Transportation [TxDOT]) either knew, or should have known of the dangerous condition, and they failed to remedy it. The law generally holds that the government must keep roads reasonably safe, though ‘reasonable’ is a subjective term.
Overcoming Sovereign Immunity
While it is possible to prevail on a claim against a local or state government, it is important that an injured plaintiff understand that normally, many claims against a government are barred completely by something called sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity dates back to English common law, and it used to entirely insulate the king or queen from lawsuits filed by their citizens. U.S. states adopted the principle partially because if a government had to defend against every single grievance a citizen might have, nothing would ever get done.
Texas handles the issue of sovereign immunity in the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA), which sets out specific situations in which sovereign immunity is waived and an injured plaintiff might be able to recover. There are eight instances in which the Act explicitly waives sovereign immunity, and one of them is “special” defects on roadways. Defining “special” can be difficult, as it is a subjective term that changes from case to case, but with an experienced auto accident attorney working for you, a definition can be found that serves you.
Call a New Braunfels Auto Accident Attorney
Some of the new Botts’ dots on Hilliard Road have allegedly already broken, but the county commissioner plans to hold a community meeting to discuss the issue with nearby residents. In the meantime, if you experience an accident that you believe is due to poor road maintenance, contacting a skilled New Braunfels car crash lawyer is a good idea. The Bettersworth Law Firm has years of experience with these cases, and we will do our best for you. Call our offices today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.