News of a tragic auto accident in Boston has made national news. The fatal incident, which occurred at approximately 8:00 a.m. on a Friday morning, raises the question of liability when it pertains to road conditions and the responsibility municipalities and the state have when a vehicle accident occurs because of a road hazard.
The victim, a 35-year-old teacher who was on her way to an elementary school where she taught, was traveling on Interstate 93 when a manhole cover suddenly became airborne and smashed into the windshield of her vehicle. The car kept going until it smashed into a wall shortly down the road. Statements issued by law enforcement investigating the accident say it is believed the young woman was killed instantly.
Investigators will be examining the cover for any signs of erosion, as well as the area around the hole from which the cover flew up. Video obtained from the scene shows a large SUV driving over the manhole right before it flew up into the victim’s windshield. Transportation workers were immediately dispatched to check the entire infrastructure of the area’s highway system to ensure that the roads’ 900 manhole covers, electrical panel covers, and grates are securely in place.
States, cities, and towns all have a duty to ensure that the roads we drive on are not only designed and built safely. Additionally, they have a duty to maintain those roads and provide a hazard-free environment. If they fail to do so, and a person is killed or injured in a vehicle crash caused by the overseeing entity’s negligence, the victim and/or his or her family can sue for damages.
In addition to the government entity that is in charge of a roadway where an accident occurrs, victims may also be able to sue the company who designed the road or the construction company who built it, if it can be proven that an action on their part caused the defective area or condition.
Suing a government for damages is different than suing a private individual or party. This is because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which is supposed to give a government entity immunity from being sued unless they agree to the lawsuit. However, there are exceptions. Therefore it is critical to contact an experienced Joliet, IL car accident attorney if you or someone in your family has been injured in a crash. Call Mevorah Law Offices LLC at 815-726-9200 today.