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By Pejman Javaheri
Founding Partner

Navigating Los Angeles’ bustling streets can feel like an adventure at times. Between the rush-hour traffic and the constant hum of city life, it’s easy to overlook the impact that road conditions can have on our journey. 

But what happens when those overlooked road conditions lead to a car accident? 

Suddenly, you’re thrust into a complex web of questions about liability and legal responsibility. During these uncertain moments, a Los Angeles car accident lawyer can be your much-needed guide. 

So let’s break it down and dive into the tricky topic of who’s liable when road conditions cause a car accident. 

A Closer Look at Liability 

When a car accident occurs due to poor road conditions – let’s say a deep pothole, faulty traffic signals, or absence of appropriate signage – our initial reaction often leads us to blame the parties responsible for road maintenance. In most cases, this can be the local city council, county, state government, or sometimes a private company contracted for such tasks.

These entities are charged with a duty of care, meaning they are responsible for ensuring the safety and drivability of the roads. Therefore, if it can be proven that they neglected this duty, such as leaving a dangerous pothole unrepaired or a traffic signal faulty for an extended period, they could be held liable for accidents resulting from these conditions.

However, it’s crucial to note that identifying faulty road conditions isn’t always enough to establish liability. 

The critical aspect is proving that the responsible entity knew, or should have reasonably known about the poor road condition and failed to address it in a timely manner. If these elements can be proven, then they may indeed bear responsibility for the accident caused by poor road conditions.

Navigating the Legal Maze 

Things can get complex when you dig deeper into legal obligations and liability. For instance, while the government has a duty to maintain safe roads, they also enjoy something known as sovereign immunity. 

This concept, in simple terms, means the government can’t be sued without its consent. 

However, most jurisdictions waive this immunity to an extent when it comes to public safety, and it’s this waiver that allows individuals to pursue claims related to poor road conditions.

But that doesn’t mean the path to securing compensation is smooth. Proving negligence on the part of the responsible entity involves demonstrating they knew about the unsafe condition and didn’t address it in a timely manner. 

And that’s easier said than done. 

The Battle of the Unknown 

Here’s a surprising twist: sometimes, it’s not just the government entity or private company at fault. Even the car manufacturer could share liability if, for instance, the vehicle’s design or mechanical failure amplified the effects of the poor road condition.

What about the driver? Surely, if you’re driving, it’s your responsibility to adjust to the road conditions, isn’t it? 

Well, yes and no. While every driver has a duty to drive safely, you can’t always predict or adjust to sudden hazards, especially if those hazards shouldn’t exist in the first place. 

You’re Not Alone 

Feeling like you’ve been thrown into a whirlwind of legalese and complexities? You’re not alone. Car accidents caused by poor road conditions sit at a tricky intersection of personal injury and government liability law. However, with a skilled attorney by your side, you can navigate this maze with more confidence. And here’s the good news: the experienced legal team at Mi Abogado ® has your back. If you’ve been in a car accident due to poor road conditions, don’t navigate this complex legal landscape alone. Reach out today for a free consultation. Let’s get you the justice you deserve.

About the Author
P.J. Javaheri is an experienced personal injury attorney and a founding partner of Mi Abogado. Mr. Javaheri received his Juris Degree from the University of California, Hastings in 2005. Mr. Javaheri is dedicated to serving clients in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. His practice focuses on the area of personal injury law, particularly in representing people who have been injured in car, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents, the practice also specializes in premises liability matters. In recognition of his skills and dedication to his vocation, Javaheri has been named on the California Super Lawyers Rising Stars list in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Mr. Javaheri is also active in the Consumer Attorneys of California and the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.  In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Mr. Javaheri was honored with appointments to the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Charities (LATLC) Honorary Board of Directors at its highest level; the Diamond Level. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Mr. Javaheri at 310.694.3084 or by emailing