Recently, the homeowner whose home lay near the corner of Rigsby and Elgin Avenue experienced not one, but two separate car crashes – one vehicle striking the porch, and the other striking a tree in the front yard. While thankfully, no one was hurt, the homeowner went on the record, hoping that the City of San Antonio will do something to fix the roadway “before any more crashes occur.” If you are ever so unlucky as to experience this type of crash where you can argue that poor road maintenance played a role, it is important to keep in mind that you may have a cause of action against the city instead of simply thinking it all your own fault.
Bad Roads Cause Accidents
The area near Rigsby and Elgin Avenue has anecdotally been known to be hazardous for some time, with the homeowner describing “two slopes” where cars “pop up” and lose control. In general, Texas roads are in substandard condition, with the percentage of roads in good condition steadily decreasing over the years – a recent study by the nonprofit group Tripnet estimates that approximately 26 percent of Texas’ major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. The state and local governments where broken-down roads are located have an obligation to maintain them in good condition, and failure to do so may open them up to liability.
Badly maintained pavement, as seems to be the issue near the two accidents, is not the only way that roads can qualify as being poorly maintained. Other examples include obscured lights or signs, flooding/poor drainage, missing guardrails or lane marks, or debris like construction items on the road. Anything that possibly could affect a person’s ability to safely operate their vehicle may be grounds for a lawsuit, depending on the situation.
If you believe that you have a cause of action against a government or road maintenance entity, there is one other potential legal hurdle that you must be able to overcome in order to file your suit. The concept of sovereign immunity dates back to English common law, but was carried over to U.S. law as it evolved from the former ‘mother country.’ It used to protect the sovereign (the king or queen) from suit because in theory, their time was more efficient and appropriately spent ruling the country.
In the U.S., both the federal government and the state governments (Texas’ included) have waived sovereign immunity to a certain degree. The relevant law in Texas is called the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). The TTCA establishes a standard of liability that can be difficult to establish, though not impossible: it must be shown that if they were a private entity or employee, the allegedly negligent actor would still be liable to the plaintiff under Texas law. Having an experienced attorney who understands these types of cases on your side can help this feel less overwhelming.
Contact a New Braunfels Personal Injury Attorney
While the unfortunate homeowner on Rigsby Avenue must simply focus on rebuilding his porch and yard, you may have more options if you are injured in an accident where road maintenance (or lack thereof) plays a role. The skilled New Braunfels personal injury attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can sit down with you and try to help answer any questions or deal with any concerns. Contact our offices today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.