Liability When Accidents Are Caused By Negligent Road Maintenance

When people are injured in accidents that are caused by poorly maintained roads in Illinois, determining liability can be difficult as there may be multiple parties who are liable, and governmental actors may assert immunity. While governmental bodies such as cities do have governmental immunity, the immunity does have limits, meaning that they still may be held to be liable in personal injury actions arising out of negligently maintained roads. A car accident lawyer in Chicago may evaluate the facts of a case in order to identify all of the parties who should be named as defendants in a lawsuit as well as to determine whether or not government actors may also be liable.

(Article continues below Infographic)

infographic_Accidents Caused By Negligent Road Maintenance


Governmental immunity

Government bodies, including local governments and municipalities, enjoy immunity under Illinois law. This immunity is limited, however. Government bodies owe a duty to use ordinary care to reasonably maintain roadways for the safety of people who are permitted to use them. If the government has actual or constructive notice of an existing maintenance problem but fails to correct it, it may lose its immunity and be held to be liable for injuries that result from accidents that are caused by the poor maintenance.

Examples of negligent maintenance might include uneven pavement, potholes that are not repaired, foliage and bushes at intersections which obstruct vision and are negligently maintained and poorly designed roads. When people are injured because of any of these types of maintenance problems, a car accident lawyer in Chicago may investigate whether the city exercised reasonable care to maintain the roads or if it may instead have violated its duty.

Other parties who might share liability

Besides the city, other parties may also be liable in negligent road maintenance personal injury cases. For example, if a construction zone is marked poorly, the construction company that is working on the road and the government may share liability for injury accidents that happen as a result. Poorly designed roadways may also have multiple parties that are responsible as well.

When there are multiple parties who are at fault in causing an accident because of maintenance failures, resulting injury cases may be more complex. Each party may try to limit its liability in order to reduce its share of any potential settlement or verdict award against it. If the cases proceed to trial, the juries will determine how to apportion the fault between all of the parties.