I Hit A Defective Guardrail! Now What?
This article shares some great advice from Phoenix car accident attorney, Aaron Crane from Cantor Crane regarding defective guardrails. If you’ve been injured in an accident because of a defective guardrail, you’re probably wondering what to do next. Should you sue? If so, who should you sue? Should you file a claim with your insurance company? Would it be better just to pay for the damages yourself?
How you respond will depend on the facts of the case. There are many points to consider.
- Who is at fault, if anyone?
- What kind of coverage do you have?
- Where did the accident occur?
- When did the accident occur?
Whose Fault Is It?
If you were driving responsibly but lost control of your car because of an outside influence, like weather or an animal, you will have a stronger case. Whether your case settles or goes to trial, you will have a hard time winning if you were driving recklessly at the time of the accident. In many cases, the line is blurred as to whether a driver is at fault or a victim of circumstance. In unclear situations, you may want to consult with a car accident lawyer before you decide on your next action.
In the case of a defective guardrail or other flaw in the road, the jurisdiction with authority over the road bears a responsibility. However, a poor community that can show it has done its best with the resources available will probably not be held accountable for the same amount as a well-off community that is shown to be negligent in road repair.
Are You Covered?
If you have sufficient insurance coverage, you may not want to pursue legal action. It may take more time and effort than it is worth to you. The same is true if you can afford the repairs on your own. Sometimes, simpler is better. You may decide it would be better to pay for the repairs and move on with your life than to face a long legal battle if you are not likely to see much benefit. An experienced car accident lawyer in Phoenix can give you a reasonable estimate of how long a case may take and what the financial outcome may be. Of course, there is no way to know for sure how a case will end, but having an estimate of how much time is likely to be involved and a range of outcome potential can help you decide if you want to file a lawsuit.
When you consider if you are covered or can afford to pay yourself, you need to consider more than the immediate damage to property. It may only look like a little ding, but did you or a passenger suffer injury? Some injuries, like whiplash, are not always felt right away. It can take a few days – or even weeks – before the injury becomes noticeable. The same can be true of property damage. It may seem you only nicked a thick old tree, but if it slowly begins to die after the accident, you may be liable for the damages. When deciding on the affordability of an accident, it pays to think long-term.
Location, Location, Location
Did the accident happen on private property? You may be able to reach an agreement with the homeowner without needing to file a suit or submit a claim to your insurance company. You will, of course, want to have the homeowner sign a release stating he/she will not sue you later.
If you were injured somewhere many others have also been hurt, a lawsuit may be in order. Repeated accidents in the same area indicate changes need to be made. The area may need an improved guardrail, added rumble strips, or a traffic light installation. If the responsible jurisdiction has made no effort to correct the problem, a lawsuit may be necessary to bring attention to the problem. A consultation with a reputable car accident lawyer in Phoenix can help you decide if you should file a lawsuit.
If the accident and resulting injury occurred too long ago, it may be too late to submit to insurance or file a suit. Check with your insurance company to see how long you have to report an accident. Each company has its own policies. If your accident was not recent, contact a car accident lawyer to see whether you can still file a lawsuit.
Still Can’t Decide?
If you still don’t know whether you should sue, submit an insurance claim, or take care of it all yourself, ask for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer at Cantor Crane. Prepare for your consultation in advance. Gather all the documentation you can about the accident. Have as many facts available as possible, neatly organized on full sized sheets of paper. Write down any questions you want to ask. A free consultation usually lasts about 15 minutes to half an hour. Good preparation allows you to get the most out of it. Contact us at (602) 254-2701.