How to Claim for Injuries in a Defective Highway Design Lawsuit in 2024

Were you injured as a result of a dangerous roadway condition or defect? You might be eligible for substantial financial compensation if you suffered injuries and damages due to a defect in the road design. Filing a defective highway design lawsuit against the city, state, or federal government agency responsible for maintaining safe roads in your jurisdiction can help you recover the damages you have suffered.

Whether you were a motorist, a cyclist, or a passenger, a personal injury lawsuit against the city or state is a means to recover losses you endured from a roadway defect or a dangerous road condition. These losses are often referred to as damages in legalese, and they can be both economic and non-economic.

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Common types of road defects

Although negligent drivers cause most traffic accidents, some accidents have been due to poor road conditions. Some of the usual road defect accident cases involve:

Road defects and maintenance are closely linked causes of accidents. For example, the crumbling asphalt becomes a disastrously dangerous condition if not corrected by regular maintenance.

A pothole is a hollow bowl-shaped hole in the upper surface of roads. Potholes should be repaired right away as they can cause serious car accidents, especially on rainy days. A pothole can be due to overuse of the road by heavy trucks, inadequate road maintenance, or weak or low-quality asphalt. A pothole can also occur suddenly after a freeze and thaw.

Different types of road design defects imperil drivers and cyclists. The most common defects include sharp curves and steep grades.

Poorly lit intersections, faulty traffic lights, and insufficient warnings in construction zones are some examples of hazardous road conditions.

Defective roads: Who is responsible?

Accidents due to poor road conditions don’t just happen out of nowhere. Although you might be able to file a claim against another motorist if they were negligent, highway defects accidents can also generate a claim against the government. Here is a list of people who can be sued in a defective highway design lawsuit:

  • The local, state, or federal government agency responsible for maintaining the road.
  • The government agency, if the bad road conditions cause accidents that result in a chain of causation that leads directly to the government agency responsible for road conditions.
  • A private company that contracted with the government to build, repair or maintain the road.
  • A private landowner, if the accident occurred on a private road.
  • The manufacturer of a defective product that caused the road accident, such as guardrails.

Damages that can be compensated

The most common economic damages recoverable through a personal injury lawsuit include:

Meanwhile, some of the most common economic damages recoverable through a personal injury lawsuit are:

How much can you claim in defective road design lawsuit

In a lawsuit against the government, you must know that the damages should not exceed $500,000 in cases against the local council and $250,000 against the state. Also, you cannot claim punitive damages versus the government.

defective road design attorney will help you meet all the applicable documentary requirements and deadlines, determine the actual value of your claim, and secure a generous payout as soon as possible. Nonetheless, you have the right to continue negotiating right until the court issues a judgment.

How to file a claim against the government

Defective highway design injury generates large compensation claims. Although most governments can afford to pay, the fact that taxpayers have to pay the bill has generated special, burdensome rules that apply when you file a claim against a government.

All governments enjoy sovereign immunity against money damages. It means that you must file a defective road accident lawsuit against the government’s terms. When it comes to filing a claim, you need to do a lot of work, such as:

  • Filing a notice of tort claim for property damage or personal injury with the state attorney general’s office or the responsible government agency within 270 days of the accident.
  • Filing a notice against the defendant and the appropriate division of the risk management commission within 180 days of the injury.


Then, you have to wait up to 90 days for the government defendant to decide on your defective road design accident claim. In most cases, the law treats a claim as denied if the government does not approve it within 90 days unless you settle during this time. To ensure you do not go over the prescribed period for filing, hire an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. Ethen Ostroff Law is available to speak with you regarding legal strategy and help you settle your case with the government.

What you need to prove in a defective highway design lawsuit

Proving liability in a defective highway design lawsuit is similar to proving who is responsible in a personal injury claim. Thus, it involves establishing four specific elements, namely:

  • A duty of care existed.
  • An injury occurred as a result.
  • The duty of care was breached.
  • The direct cause can be established.

How long do you have to file a roadway defect accident claim?

As with most personal injury cases, the injured party gets two years from the date of the incident to file a claim seeking financial compensation.  The standard two-year statute of limitations usually applies to the majority of car accidents. However, the statute of limitations is different if you are filing a claim against a government or public entity, which is generally the case in roadway defect or design cases. In such circumstances, the statute of limitations is often reduced to only six months (or potentially even less time in some cases).

Nevertheless, if you are injured in a car accident because of a roadway defect or any such condition, proving road defect cases under the law may not be a walk in the park. Although it may be clear that the roadway defect existed (whether a pothole, cracked pavement, etc.), proving that the entity responsible to keep that road safety is legally negligent could be hard and complicated.

Ethen Ostroff and his connections will help you get a fair highway design defects Lawsuit settlement for your claim. We have skilled and experienced lawyers that will fight to help you recover maximum defective highway design Lawsuit compensation.

Call us at 610-510-8883 for a free consultation. We will listen to all the facts of your defective highway design injury case, launch a thorough and professional investigation, and determine the best outcomes for your specific circumstances. 

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