Motor vehicle collisions are sometimes caused by road hazards that cause drivers to suddenly swerve or brake and collide with another vehicle or pedestrian. The hazard may be debris that has fallen from a truck or car because of improper loading or securing, construction debris, foliage hanging into the street, or potholes. If a road hazard is the reason for an accident in which you were hurt, you may have a personal injury claim against the party responsible for causing the situation. The experienced car accident lawyers at the Dean Law Firm can represent Ocala residents in pursing compensation for their harm.Seeking Compensation after Crashes Caused by Road Hazards
Most road hazards are caused by someone's negligence. One of the primary difficulties, however, can be locating the responsible party. For example, if a dangerous object falls off a big rig and bounces down the freeway, the person whose car the object hits may not remember the license plate number of the big rig, or even know what vehicle dropped the object. After an accident, it is important to collect contact information from as many eyewitnesses as possible.
A plaintiff trying to show negligence must prove four key elements by a preponderance of the evidence: duty of care, breach of duty, actual and proximate causation, and damages. All drivers must exercise reasonable care based on the road conditions. For example, if it is raining, a reasonable motorist likely will slow down and may slow down even further if traveling through a construction zone. It is likely that a jury would find that a motorist who speeds through the rain in a construction zone and hits a rule-abiding pedestrian violated the duty of care. Similarly, someone who is texting while driving might not notice a pothole in time to avoid hitting it and then might swerve into a car in another lane, thereby violating the duty of care.
In some cases, a road hazard gives rise to a premises liability lawsuit. For example, in the above situation, a deep pothole may be evidence of negligence by the municipality that owns the road. Property owners have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe, and a dangerous condition poses a foreseeable risk of harm to visitors or people authorized to use the premises.
Florida is a comparative negligence state. This affects what happens when a defendant argues that the plaintiff is partially to blame. The jury will assess the damages and then assign percentages of liability to all parties that it finds to be at fault. In the above situation, the plaintiff might be struck by a car driven by a distracted driver swerving to avoid a dangerous pothole. The plaintiff then might sue the distracted driver and the city.
Depending on the circumstances, the distracted driver might raise the defense of comparative negligence, claiming that if the plaintiff had been driving with proper care he or she would have had time to avoid the distracted driver's car. If the jury finds the damages are $100,000, but the distracted driver is 60 percent responsible, the municipality is 30 percent responsible, and the plaintiff is 10 percent responsible, the plaintiff can potentially recover up to $60,000 from the distracted driver and up to $30,000 from the municipality.Consult a Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyer in Ocala
If you are injured due to a road hazard, you may be worried about medical expenses and missed wages, even though you need time to rest and recover. The motor vehicle collision attorneys at the Dean Law Firm have experience advocating for injured people in Ocala and beyond with insurers and before a jury. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We represent individuals throughout the state, including in Crystal River, The Villages, and throughout Marion, Sumter, Lake, Citrus, and Levy Counties.