Suing for car damage from road construction
New Mexico has five seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter, and road construction. Anyone who lives here or drives through the state frequently is familiar with the “orange cone” period. New Mexico also is well-known for having some of the worst road conditions in the nation, which is why there always seems to be road construction in progress.
Drivers may be accustomed to maneuvering around road construction, but many do not know their rights if their vehicles sustain damage caused by roadway construction or poorly maintained roads. Liability for damage and subsequent repairs does not always fall back on drivers and their respective insurance companies.
Who is responsible for roadway maintenance?
The answer to this question depends on where the roadway is located. Cities, municipalities, counties, and states bear responsibility for roadway maintenance and repairs depending on how the roadway is classified. Municipal roads include all public roadways under the control of the local town, sometimes called a municipality. City roadways include all public streets within city limits under the control of the city government.
Cities and municipalities do not hold responsibility for all roadways that run through them. Some have major U.S. highways cutting through that must be maintained by the state department of transportation. I-25 is an example of a state roadway that runs through several cities and municipalities in New Mexico. When it requires repairs or other maintenance, the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) must take the lead.
When is a construction company responsible?
It may not always be the fault of the city, municipality, county, or state when your vehicle suffers damage in a construction zone. Sometimes the fault lies with the construction company performing the work. Construction companies must maintain safe work zones, which includes appropriately marking lane closures and other traffic flow adjustments, so motorists navigate through the area safely.
When failure to maintain a secure work zone with correct signage causes motorists to have an accident, the construction company can be named in the personal injury lawsuit. Likewise, if a construction company fails to safeguard against dangerous areas within a road construction zone and a motorist’s vehicle is damaged because of it, they can be liable for the destruction.
Your insurance provider may move forward with evaluating the damage and making repairs, then seek reimbursement from the responsible party.
How to determine liability
Determining liability for vehicle damage from road construction and poorly maintained roadways requires the expertise of an attorney. Drivers who end up with serious injuries in addition to the damage to their vehicles need guidance from a personal injury attorney who can help them navigate through the process of filing a claim.
Experienced personal injury attorneys can recover fair compensation for personal injury victims that includes:
- Medical bills for emergency room care, hospitalization, or any therapy associated with recovery from your injuries.
- Lost wages from missed work due to recovery time and for any ongoing treatment.
- Pain and suffering for emotional, mental, and physical injuries.
- Property damage to compensate for repairs or replacement of your vehicle.
After reviewing your case, your personal injury attorney may have other suggestions for other compensation you can demand as part of your claim.
Filing personal injury lawsuits against government agencies
Filing a personal injury lawsuit against a government agency is different than filing against a private citizen or business. One of the most critical initial deadlines is personal injury claims against the government is the 90-day Tort Claims Notice requirement. Within 90 days of the accident, victims must notify the appropriate government authority of their intent to seek damages.
The statute of limitations for making tort claims against government entities in New Mexico also is shortened to two years from the date of the accident. Personal injury lawsuit statute of limitations against businesses and individuals is three years. Due to this shortened deadline, it is imperative injured parties seek the help of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
These shortened deadlines are firm. Missing the deadline can bar any claims, leaving victims holding the bag for any damages to their vehicles and expenses related to injuries they suffered.
Recovering damages for construction zone accidents
Scott Atkinson is a leading personal injury attorney in Albuquerque. With more than 30 years of experience, he has an excellent track record of representing victims injured due to someone else’s negligence. Whether it is a construction company, a government entity, or both, Atkinson relentlessly pursues a fair settlement for the victims he represents. Give him a call at 505-944-1050 or contact Atkinson Law Firm online to schedule your free case review.