Road & Bridge Defects
Often, car or truck accidents result from defects in roads or bridges. If a road is not designed and built safely, and someone is injured as a result, the private owner or public entity may be held responsible through a personal injury lawsuit. Defective conditions that DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP has litigated include improper safety barriers, unposted speed limit signs, unsafe drop-offs, malfunctioning traffic signals, improper highway construction, inadequate signage and construction warnings, construction debris, and standing water or improper drainage. If you have been hurt due to defective conditions, you should consult our Syracuse car accident lawyers about whether you may have a claim.Personal Injury Claims Based on Road or Bridge Defects
Claims arising out of road and bridge defects are complex. Cities, the state, and the federal government may try to avoid or limit exposure to liability. The first step in a lawsuit is to determine who should be held responsible. When a car crash is not the fault of any driver but seems to be a result of a defective road, it is important to identify the owner of the road. Some roads in New York are private, and in those cases, premises liability law will apply, but many are owned by the state or a city. There are different rules for different kinds of roads.
Generally, a claims notice needs to be filed with the government entity that owns the road within a very narrow window of time. In most cases, you only have 90 days to provide proper notice to the government entity that owns the road or all of the potentially responsible entities. It is critical to retain an experienced attorney as soon as you are hurt if you suspect that it was because of a defective road. The State has 30 days to investigate your claim, and you cannot sue during this period. Governmental agencies are allowed to ask for a 50-h hearing after you serve the Notice of Claim. During this hearing, the investigators may ask you questions. It is imperative to have representation during this time.
You only have one year and 90 days to sue a city after a car crash in which you were hurt. If the lawsuit will be against the state, it can be filed in the Court of Claims. However, if it is against a city or contractors for a city, the lawsuit can be filed in the New York Supreme Court. Sometimes your lawyer will need to get information about who owns the road and who worked on the road by demanding the information from the government under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
New York State, as well as every New York municipal department, division, board, bureau, commission, committee, public authority, and other government entity performing a proprietary or government function, is subject to FOIL. Documents that may be helpful for an expert determining whether a defect in a road or bridge caused your accident include plans, specifications, accident reports, daily logs, video surveillance, contracts, permits, maintenance records, and other notices of claims.
Generally, in New York, a city cannot be held liable for injuries to a person due to a defective street or bridge unless it appears that written notice of the defective or dangerous condition was actually given to the commissioner of transportation or the entity that they designate to receive notice 15 days before the accident.
The city may have notice, however, if there was a prior injury to a person due to the existence of the defect in the road or bridge, and written notice was provided. If the notice is alleged to be based on prior accidents, the prior accidents must be factually similar to your case. A totally different defective condition that also has resulted in accidents would not give the city notice of the defect at issue in your case.Hire an Experienced Syracuse Attorney for Your Motor Vehicle Collision Case
Severe injuries, such as burns, traumatic brain injuries, and paralysis and other spinal cord injuries, can arise from road or bridge defects. If you were injured in the Syracuse or Rochester areas, our law firm may be able to help you recover damages. Our attorneys also represent injured people in Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, and all of Upstate New York. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form to set up an appointment.