Can Accident Victims File Injury Claims Against the Government for Motor Vehicle Accidents Caused by Road Hazards in Connecticut?
Reckless and negligent drivers cause traffic accidents every day. However, there is another cause of accidents that many drivers never think about until it is too late — road hazards. When a dangerous condition or road hazard causes a car accident, you may be able to sue the government for your damages.
Under Connecticut’s Highway Construction and Maintenance statute, the state can be held liable for damages provided you give the state proper notice of the defective condition and the defect was the sole proximate cause of your injuries. Your notice must be provided to the state within 90 days of the date of your accident. (CT Gen Stat § 13a-149 (2015)) Claims filed against municipalities for road hazard accidents have the same notice requirement. (CT Gen Stat § 13a-144 (2015))
Filing a claim against a government entity can be a complex undertaking. In addition to filing a notice, you must meet other deadlines and prove very specific elements to be successful. The government has an entire team of legal professionals protecting its best interest. You deserve your own team looking out for you. Instead of trying to wade through red tape and research statutes and rules that are designed to be confusing and difficult, focus on your recovery and let our attorneys worry about the legal fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Identifying the Correct Party for a Road Hazard Claim
When a motor vehicle accident is caused by a dangerous condition or road hazard, the most likely party liable for the damages is the state, county, or city government agency responsible for maintaining the road. It is crucial that you identify the correct government agency or entity that is responsible for maintaining the section of road where your collision occurred. You must provide notice to the correct government entity or agency. Failure to file the notice with the correct entity may result in a denial of your road hazard accident claim.
Filing Your Notice of Claim
Each agency may have a slightly different requirement for the filing of the 90-day notice. Different agencies may also have rules or procedures that must be followed to protect your right to file a lawsuit if the matter is not resolved fairly.
For example, if your claim is against the Department of Transportation, you must submit your notice in writing within 90 days of the crash. The notice must contain the information specified by the DOT’s and mailed to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, Attn: Claims Unit, P.O. Box 317546, Newington, CT 06131-7546. Detailed instructions are on the DOT’s website. If the claim is against another government agency, contact that agency directly. A list of the state agencies and departments are on the state’s official website.
If the claim is against a city or county, you need to provide notice to the appropriate office for the city or county. To ensure you do not lose your right to file an injury lawsuit in the future, you should request instructions from the city or county government for filing a notice of claim. A list of the cities and towns is on the state’s website.
If you are uncomfortable with handling filing a notice of claim on your own, you need to contact us immediately. We need to take action to identify the correct party and file the notice before the deadline.
Examples of Road Hazards and Dangerous Conditions That Cause Accidents
The government has a duty of care to ensure the roads you use are safe. The design must be safe and they roads must be repaired and maintained as needed to be safe. Examples of conditions that can lead to a traffic accident include:
- Potholes, broken roads, and uneven pavement
- Poorly maintained road shoulders or roadside foliage
- Loose gravel
- Defective, missing, or faulty traffic signals or traffic signs
- Confusing or missing painted road lines
- Road construction barriers
- Work zone debris, vehicles, machinery, or equipment
It is tragic when you are injured in a preventable collision. If the state or another government agency is responsible for creating or failing to remedy the condition, we highly recommended that you contact our office to discuss your options and how we can help you. Don’t let your opportunity to receive compensation for your lost wages, medical bills and other damages lapse because you did not act quickly.