Fort Worth Road Defects Lawyer
Were you injured in a car accident due to road defects in Fort Worth, TX? Contact Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, for immediate legal assistance. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain, and suffering. However, getting money from the government can be challenging. Attorney Jason Stephens can help you fight to secure a fair and substantial monetary award. Call his Fort Worth law office at (817) 420-7000 to arrange a free consultation to learn more.
How Stephens Law Firm, PLLC Can Help with a Road Defects Claim
While all personal injury cases are complex, cases that involve government negligence are particularly challenging.
When you are suing the government for negligence and damages for your injuries, you may be facing an uphill battle.
Not only is the statute of limitations very short, there are also confusing notification rules. The government also has unlimited means for defending itself.
Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, believes injured accident victims deserve fair compensation for their injuries, not a stressful and difficult battle in court.
When you’re up against a government entity, you deserve the help of a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer who has decades of experience as a difference-maker and leveling the playing field for his clients.
Founding attorney Jason Stephens is an award-winning trial lawyer who has secured some of the largest verdicts in Texas history. He fights for you inside and outside of the courtroom by leveraging his vast experience, state-of-the-art technology, resources, and reputation to fight for the best possible results.
Contact Stephens Law Firm, PLLC today for your free consultation with a Fort Worth personal injury attorney who isn’t afraid to go up against the government and hold them accountable for their negligence.
What Is a Road Defect in Fort Worth?
A road defect broadly refers to any road condition or defect that poses a risk to drivers. Some of the most common road defects in Fort Worth include:
- Poor road design that is inherently dangerous. This may include dips, slopes, or steep drop-offs without adequate warning signs.
- Improper drainage that poses a danger on the road when it rains
- Potholes or cracked asphalt
- Broken or insufficient guardrails
- Lack of lane dividers
- Narrow shoulders or roadways
- Gravel on a road
- A lack of reflective paint
- Road depressions
- Vegetation obstructing a road
These are only some of the defects that can lead to an accident. Whenever a road in Texas is not designed, constructed, or maintained correctly, it can become a hazard for drivers.
Who Is Liable for a Road Defects Accident in Texas?
Depending on the circumstances of your motor vehicle accident, one or several parties may be responsible when road defects lead to a crash. In most road defects injury claims, a government entity is responsible. Other parties may also be at fault – including road maintenance or construction workers, construction companies, and even other drivers, particularly in cases involving debris.
When a government entity is liable for injuries, different laws apply compared to regular personal injury claims.
In most cases, government entities are immune from civil lawsuits in Texas under sovereign immunity. There are exceptions under the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA) which waives immunity for personal injury resulting from negligence from a governmental unit or employees. This includes nearly all local and state government agencies.
A government entity may be held liable for premises liability accidents and certain car accidents under TTCA.
If your accident was caused by a defect involving improper maintenance or an unusual and unexpected road danger, the government entity’s immunity is waived for claims. If the defect was caused by dangerous or negligent roadway design, engineering, construction method, or materials, it may be a contractor or construction company that is liable.
Proving a Fort Worth Road Defect Case
To successfully win a road defects injury case, you and your lawyer must prove four key elements:
A duty was owed
This means the party must have owed you a care of duty to maintain the road in a safe condition. In the case of public roads, there is generally always a duty of care owed.
The duty of care was breached
This means you must show that the duty to maintain the safety of the roadway was breached. Your lawyer will investigate the accident to show that the negligent entity knew or should have known about the defect and did not take adequate steps to fix it.
Your accident was caused by the breach of duty
It isn’t enough that an accident occurred at the site of a road defect. Your lawyer will work to show that the road defect and breach of duty directly caused the accident and your injuries.
You suffered harm
Finally, you will need to show that you suffered damages as a result of the accident. This includes medical expenses, physical damage to your vehicle, and lost wages.
There are several hurdles to overcome when determining if the government breached their duty of care. Your personal injury attorney will need to show the following elements:
- The government could foresee the danger of the road defect or hazard. Texas law asks if a reasonable person could have foreseen the danger.
- The government knew about the defect or should have known but did not fix the hazard promptly. If the government has received complaints about a defect causing vehicle damage or injuries, or several accidents have occurred already, the law will likely say this burden is met.
- The government did not warn motorists about the defect. Signs are usually used to warn motorists of roadway hazards. If there is no sign to warn that an interstate bridge becomes icy and hazardous, or that a sharp turn is ahead, the government may be held liable.
- The injured motorist could not foresee the hazard. Finally, it’s crucial that the motorist was not aware of the hazard and could not have anticipated it. If you drive down the hazardous roadway every day and you have navigated around the hazard many times, you probably cannot prove this element.
In a road defects claim, the at-fault government entity will likely argue that you or another driver were at fault and the road defect played a small (or no) role in the accident. This is where the modified comparative fault system in Texas comes into play.
Under Texas law, you can still recover compensation for your damages if you share some fault in your accident. This shared fault rule bars you from recovering if you are 51% or more at fault, however. If you are found even partially at fault, your damages will also be reduced by your share of fault.
This means your Texas road defects lawyer must not only show the government entity was responsible for your accident due to negligent road maintenance; they will also defend your case against claims that you contributed to the crash.
Statute of Limitations for Road Defects Claims in Fort Worth, Texas
The statute of limitations is the time limit you have to file a personal injury claim under Texas law. With most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is two years. Because a road defect lawsuit usually involves a government entity, the statute of limitations and the claim process is different.
When you are making a claim against a government entity in Texas, such as the Texas Department of Transportation or the city of Fort Worth, you have a statute of limitations of just 6 months.
You are also required to submit a notice of claim to the correct agency before filing a lawsuit. Sometimes the agency you must notify is different from the agency you must sue.
Because claims involving road defects are notoriously complicated in many areas, it’s important to work with a road defects lawyer in Fort Worth who has experience with claims against government entities.
Contact a Fort Worth Road Defects Lawyer
Have you been seriously injured in an accident caused by a dangerous road defect in the Fort Worth area?
These cases typically involve going up against the government with complicated rules and a short statute of limitations. This should be the last thing you are worried about when you are injured and facing medical bills and time off work.
Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, works hard to level the playing field against government entities and insurance companies.
Jason Stephens and his caring support team are here to fight for the compensation you deserve. Remember, time is short! Call Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, today to schedule a free consultation with a Fort Worth road defects lawyer to get started on your claim.