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Dangerous Highways

Dangerous Highways - Overview

Americans have had a love affair with the automobile since its invention over a century ago. Most Americans have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to visit other parts of the United States on cross-country road trips, family vacations, and other journeys. And as communities have grown larger, urban sprawl has forced commuters to join their ranks on the highways to get to their workplaces. Commercial transportation has increasingly relied on the interstate highway system rather than rail or freight to move goods from one place to another. This congestion has contributed to dangerous highways that cause serious accidents.

An attorney who is experienced in personal injury can inform you of your options for compensation for your injuries and losses. If you were injured or lost a family member in a highway accident, call an attorney today.

Deteriorating Roads, Driver Error and Government Liability

The sheer volume of transit has taxed the nation's roads and highways causing road deterioration. Some roads and bridges have aged so drastically without repair that they are now obsolete, both in design and in function, for the cars and trucks that pass over them. In these instances, dangerous defects and out-dated design can lead to serious motor vehicle accidents. Driver error is also a contributing factor, along with design, in many car crashes. Depending on the circumstances, another driver, a governmental agency or another party could be liable for injuries and losses from an automobile accident.

State and federal governments have been protected from lawsuits regarding dangerous road conditions based on sovereign immunity. But, some states and the federal government have passed laws that partially or entirely eliminate their immunity in certain situations. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) controls legal claims against the federal government for money damages for injuries sustained in accidents involving federal employees. Most states have carried over the waiver of immunity in the FTCA to their own state laws, but the terms vary from state to state.

Because dangerous highway litigation involves both complex legal and factual issues, you should contact a personal injury attorney with experience handling highway and roadway safety matters to discuss your case.

Common Highway Dangers — Roadside Hazards

State and federal agencies have promised to ensure highway safety and efficiency by designing roadways that minimize lane departures and the severity of injury when such accidents happen. To reach this goal, agencies must analyze and improve thousands of highway miles that include roadside dangers such as rough and broken pavement, large trees, steep slopes, culvert headwalls, bridge rails and utility poles located near the roadway. To improve safety, these dangers must be removed or made less dangerous with guardrails, skid-resistant surfacing, rumble strips and other safety measures.

Drivers and construction workers also face risk of death or injury because of construction zone hazards including insufficient detour warnings or signage, flawed detour routes, faulty transition lanes, inadequate barricades and pavement drops. Slow-moving construction vehicles also are involved in a significant number of construction zone accidents.

Dangerous Driving Patterns

While highway design defects play a role in some highway accidents, drivers must also ensure that they maintain safe driving habits. Inattentive driving, drunken driving, driving while drowsy, speeding and aggressive driving can all contribute to serious accidents. Safe driving habits can lower the risk of death or injury while driving.


State and federal agencies face an enormous task of repairing and improving numerous roads and highways in America's infrastructure. These improvements are necessary to guarantee the safe and efficient use of roads for motorists. Highway accidents can be complex, involving claims against state or federal agencies, trucking companies under federal regulation, and multiple defendants or plaintiffs. These complexities require experienced legal counsel.

If you have been injured in an accident on a highway, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to review the facts of your case. An attorney with experience pursuing dangerous highway claims can best advise how to protect your rights and proceed against any responsible parties.

Copyright © 2012 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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