Defective Highway Design Accident

Serving Daytona, Deltona and Palm Coast

(updated 2/22/20107)

Data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that car accidents were responsible for injuries that sent in excess of 2.3 million adult passengers and drivers to emergency departments in 2009. While the vast majority of motor vehicle accidents are the result of driver error, a significant number happen as the direct result of defective highway design. 

Defective highway design accidents can involve one or multiple vehicles, and are capable of causing injuries as serious as those sustained in any other car crash. It is important, therefore, for individuals who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents in which defective highway design played a role to seek legal representation as soon as possible.

Common Examples of Defective Highway Design

Generally speaking, state and local governments are responsible for the design and maintenance of Florida highways. As is the case with private parties, governments have a duty to ensure that the roads built and maintained are safe for use by the general public. Unfortunately, errors are bound to occur, sometimes with disastrous consequences for victims. Some of the more common examples of defective highway design that can lead to accidents include the following:

  • Inadequate drainage – Modern highways are equipped with drainage systems to minimize the accumulation of water. When these systems are inadequately designed or maintained, water may pool on the road surface, potentially causing serious accidents.
  • Inadequate signage – Signs are essential to informing motorists about upcoming hazards or intersections. When these signs are missing, faded, or obscured by overgrown vegetation, people driving on the highway are not getting the information that they need to make prudent driving decisions.
  • Worn or unsafe pavement conditions  Issues such as cracks, potholes, uneven lanes, and bumps can easily cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle, potentially resulting in a serious accident. While some road wear and tear is expected, the question is whether the agency responsible for maintenance of the condition acted reasonably in not having addressed the issue.
  • Inadequate guardrails – Many highways around Florida have guardrails designed to keep vehicles from leaving the roadways. When these guardrails fail, a driver who has lost control of his or her vehicle through no fault of their own may sustain much more serious injury than if it had not.
  • Falling debris from tunnels or bridges – Sometimes, bridges and tunnels can be in such a state of disrepair that debris can fall from them, striking vehicles or people underneath.

Recovering for an Injury Caused by Defective Highway Design

Under the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, governments are immune from lawsuits except to the extent to which they have consented to be sued. Fortunately for Florida residents, the Florida Tort Claims Act has authorized such suits, although with certain limitations regarding how long you have to file a suit as well as caps on damages. 

Because suing the government is always a complicated matter, people injured in defective highway design accidents should always be sure to discuss their case with an experienced personal injury lawyer familiar with these kinds of cases. You can call us at (386) 777-7777 or fill out our online contact form below for a free case evaluation. Get the compensation you deserve.

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