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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Dangerous Roadways


While most serious New York car accidents are the result of inattentive or careless drivers, there are a substantial number of car accidents that are the result of dangerous roadways. Sometimes roads in New York are not designed safely or defects in the roadway are not repaired promptly because of inadequate maintenance. When the defective construction or maintenance of a roadway is a factor in causing an auto accident in New York, any attempt to pursue an auto accident claim can be much more complicated. Public entities are usually responsible for ensuring that a roadway is safe in terms of its initial construction and maintenance. Because our experienced New York auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP have represented many people who are involved in car accidents related to unsafe streets and highways, we understand the unique challenges involved in suing a public entity because of an unsafe road. Public entities have an enormous war chest to defend against such claims and benefit from sovereign immunity.

Dangerous roadways cause far more accidents than many people realize with some estimates placing the number of car accidents involving defective or poorly maintained roadways as high as twenty percent. Lawsuits that involve defective roadways require attorneys experienced in handling these kinds of complex cases as well as the resources to litigate such a case. It is not uncommon that prospective clients come to us where another attorney has passed on the case because the other driver did not have insurance without recognizing that there was a defective roadway issue that made the case not only worth pursuing but meant the claim had substantial value.

If you are involved in an accident that involves a potentially hazardous roadway issue, it is important to quickly document the potential features of the roadway that you believe made it unsafe or that contributed to your accident. Many times in the wake of a serious car accident in New York, public entities will make remedial changes or may remove debris in the roadway that contributed to the car accident. Our experienced defective roadway attorneys recommend preserving such evidence in any way possible, including taking photos, pointing out the hazard or potential problem to the officer conducting an investigation and taking careful notes regarding the accident hazard.

The most dangerous type of roadway hazard is created by construction zones. Most people that drive through a construction zone presume that the orange flags, warning signs, cement barriers and other safety measures are there to protect construction workers. While this is part of the reason that these safety features exist, the US Department of Transportation reports that the majority of those injured construction zones are drivers, passengers and pedestrians. When you drive through a construction zone you must take extra care to avoid being involved in a car accident. It is essential to substantially lower your speed and be extremely diligent in paying attention to potential hazards or road detours. There are a wide range of distractions to drivers moving through construction zones so it easy to become confused. It is imperative that drivers focus all of their attention on their driving to avoid a serious car accident in New York work zone.

There are a wide range of roadway defects that can cause a New York car accident including:

  • Poor signage
  • Potholes or uneven pavement
  • Edge of the road drop offs
  • Defective road surfacing that become extremely slick when wet or in hot weather

  • Construction machinery or other obstacles in the roadway
  • Missing or damaged guardrails
  • Roadway debris

While a public entity can be liable for a poorly constructed or inadequately maintained roadway, this type of lawsuit requires careful investigation of the accident location as well as exhaustive review of documents and accident reports in the control of public entities. Liability often turns on the duration of time that the defect was present and whether the public entity should reasonably have had notice of the danger. Because our experienced hazardous roadway attorneys have handled many cases against public entities, we understand the special challenges when suing a public entity. Any claim against a public entity will typically be controlled by a tort claims act, which essentially empowers members of the public to bring an injury claim against a public entity despite sovereign immunity. These tort claims acts that have very tight and stringent timing requirements so it is important you contact us as soon as you are involved in an accident that may have been caused by dangerous roadway. If you or someone you love has been injured in car accident in New York caused by a dangerous road, the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, effectively handled many car accident claims involving unsafe roads throughout Nassau, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Suffolk. We have collected millions for our clients and we can do the same for you. We invite you to contact us at 516-358-6900 so that we can advise you of your rights and options.

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