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Can I Sue After an Accident Caused by Poor Road Maintenance?

The American Northeast is known for its severe winter weather, and this year has certainly brought its fair share of cold weather and winter storms to White Plains. Winter weather often creates slippery conditions that can significantly increase the risk of injury due to slip and falls or motor vehicle accidents. In addition to these risks, cold weather and snow or ice can also have a negative impact on the structural integrity of roads and sidewalks. 

When moisture and salt gets into pavement, it can cause large holes and cracks many of us know as “potholes.” Victims of car accidents caused by poor road maintenance or design may be able to recover for their losses by bringing a personal injury claim. To determine whether you have a claim you should discuss the circumstances of your accident with a White Plains personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

According to a report published at, this year has been particularly bad for potholes on our local roads; with more weather on the way, we can only assume the issue is going to get worse before it gets better. Generally speaking, public entities are responsible for the maintenance of roadways, which makes suing after an accident caused by poor road design or maintenance more complicated than in accidents only involving private parties. Under the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, the government and its sub-units are immune from being sued except in situations where it has consented to lawsuits.


Fortunately for people injured on New York roadways, the New York Tort Claims Act allows people to sue the government after injuries caused by government negligence. These matters are limited in terms of the amount of recovery available and are also subject to strict time limitations, so it is important for victims to retain a White Plains personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Some of the kinds of roadway defects or maintenance issues that may give rise to a personal injury claim include:

  • Potholes
  • Faded lane markers
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals
  • Lack of guardrails
  • Inadequate drainage
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Lack of signage
  • Failure to warn regarding dangerous conditions

These are just some of the potential issues that may cause an accident, and an experienced lawyer will be able to help you determine whether you have a claim. After an accident, victims should try and document as much information about the way the accident occurred as possible. If feasible, take pictures of any dangerous condition that you believe may have contributed to the accident. Finally, be sure to seek medical attention after an accident to make sure that any injuries you sustained are properly diagnosed and treated.


Contact a White Plains personal injury lawyer today

Car accidents that are the result of poor roadway design or maintenance have the potential to cause serious injuries and other medical complications. Consult with one of the experienced White Plains personal injury lawyers of Lynch Schwab as soon as possible to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at (914) 304-4353. To reach us via email, please fill out our online contact form available here.

Posted on February 26, 2014 in Personal Injury