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California Cities Poor Road Conditions At-Fault for Car Accidents

Can I Sue the City for My Car Accident? Poor Road Maintenance

Unfortunately, poor road conditions have been the cause for many of the car accidents that have kept Los Angeles car accident lawyers busy for years. According to TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research group, Los Angeles has some of the worst road conditions in the nation. During their study, the organization learned that 57 percent of all the major road conditions in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Anaheim were under the state’s minimum safety standards. The study discovered that Los Angeles drivers spend an average of $921 more on annual car repairs due to terrible road conditions. California also has some of the highest car accident fatality rates in the U.S.

For these types of “no-fault” accidents, you may be able to hold your city accountable. For a free consultation, call the top rated personal injury lawyers, West Coast Trial Lawyers and to learn more about what you may be entitled to.

Los Angeles City Lawsuits

If you have suffered personal injury or experienced property damage due to poor road conditions, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the city. In fact, Los Angeles spent over $19 million settling personal injury and property damage cases in 2017. Generally speaking, most states and federal government agencies have “sovereign” or “governmental immunity,” which protects them from trivial lawsuits. However, there are technicalities that allow a plaintiff to sue under certain conditions. Though going to court against a large government authority can be intimidating, it is within your legal right to file a claim against government agencies, such as the city, county, or the state for property damage.

Government Negligence 

Like most lawsuits, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove the negligence of the opposing party. A broken or damaged road does not necessarily constitute government  negligence. In order to strengthen your case, most courts require you to prove that the government was purposely inattentive. In a simple case, this could mean that the governing body knew about the poor road conditions and did nothing to fix it, or did not fix it within a reasonable amount of time.

Common Road Conditions That Suggest Government Negligence

With a city that spans over 500 square miles, there is a lot of road for local governments to keep in safe conditions. However,  it is the city’s responsibility to keep its citizens safe. Though it is impossible to upkeep every road to perfection at all times, there are certain time restrictions that compel the city to respond accordingly to reports and notice of upkeep that is needed.

Listed below are a few road conditions that your city is responsible for:

  • Potholes – Older roads are subject to erosion and depreciation. This often causes portions of the street to sink in or become hollow, making it dangerous to drive over, especially at high speeds.
  • Cracks and Breaks – Woodland Hills is victim to severe earthquakes. The shifting of the ground can create uneven tears in concrete and tar which can impact a driver’s path regardless of their driving skills.
  • Incorrect or Missing Street Signage – If a missing, covered, or incorrect street sign has been unreliable for an extended period of time, this will only strengthen the case of a negligence suit against a city.
  • Unreasonably Constricted Street – Narrow roads that are not built up to the city’s standards may cause an accident if not properly lit, withholding necessary signage, or having signage that has an obstructed view.
  • Construction Debris –  This includes an excess of fallen foliage, tossed about construction materials such as traffic cones, traffic drums, bags of sand, and drills that may be left unattended.

How to File a Claim Against the City of Los Angeles 

If you notice a dangerous pothole in your neighborhood the first thing that you should do is submit a “service request”. This can be done online, by phone, or with the Los Angeles Information App, MyLA311. However, when the damage has already occurred and your vehicle is afflicted you may consider compensation. This can also be done online by filing a “Claim For Damages” form.

Available Damages

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for monetary losses. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact  are only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Los Angeles Car Crash Lawyer  

Going up against a government body can be very intimidating, but winning your case with the best defense team is possible.Talk to the top personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers for a free consultation to learn what compensation may be owed to you. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] for immediate legal assistance.

Read More About Car Accidents 
Our excellent team of car accident attorneys have created several resources for you to read through. Feel free to browse these topics and read the ones you would like to learn about more.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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