Mr. Louthian and the Louthian Law Firm provided me with excellent legal services regarding a legal issue with a major corporation.Errick Bethel Sr.
They were very down to earth and friendly, but they meant business. I would definitely recommend them. Thank you, attorney Bert Louthian!Keiron Gibson, Keianna Dukes & Ann Dukes
Outstanding customer care. Very professional and handled my case in a timely manner.Johnny Jackson
Our roads in South Carolina are in substandard shape and growing worse all the time. Although federal funding to repair failing roads all over the U.S. was approved in the fall of 2015, little of the work has yet to begin. Of course, our state is hardly unique. Like many places in the country, infrastructure and roads are growing ever-older, and repairs are not keeping pace. According to a January, 2015, report, 46 percent of SC’s major roads and highways were rated as being in poor condition during 2014. At nearly half, that’s a sharp increase from 2008, when only 32 percent of major roads and highways were considered poor.
South Carolina’s Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall laid it on the line during her “State of the DOT” address in late January, 2016. Hall awarded the state’s roads with a “D” grade for regular maintenance, saying that most of us drive on poorly-paved roads.
In the U.S., roadway conditions substantially factor into around one-third of all traffic deaths. In SC, our traffic fatalities run much higher than the national average: 1.57 deaths per 100 million miles driven in our state, versus 1.09 nationwide. On our rural roads, it’s much worse: 3.40 deaths per 100 million miles driven in SC, versus 0.69 nationwide. Accidents pick our pockets in SC to the tune of $3.3 billion a year, which is $831 for each man, woman, and child in the Palmetto State, once you figure in all the costs.
Enough numbers, right? Let’s go to the heart of the problem.
Roads that are in disrepair aren’t just a theoretical problem for the government to solve. A damaged road, or a poorly-designed road, can put lives at jeopardy. You probably don’t think much about the condition or design of the roads you travel regularly, unless they are extremely poor. But we depend on our roads to be in good repair and well-designed so we can get to where we need to go. Unfortunately, a number of different problems can occur with either the design or the maintenance of a road:
These are just a few of the many examples of road design or construction defects that can put motorists at risk in South Carolina. Cyclists and pedestrians may also have additional problems with sidewalk design or with the design, location and maintenance of bike lanes.
If you have an accident you suspect is due to a poorly maintained or designed road, it is critical that you document the scene of the accident, including as many photos and videos as you can, as long as doing so does not endanger anyone. The above listing of road defects can help serve as your guide when it comes to what you should document.
Usually, it is a government agency or other government entity that is responsible for the design and maintenance of the road. This can create a very tricky situation when someone gets hurt in a car accident due to road design or road maintenance.
There are governmental immunity protections that limit when a government employee or agency can be sued. While government immunity isn’t absolute, it is often harder to make a case and win, since there are strict time limits and additional requirements that must be met. These types of cases can be very complicated because a public entity (government agency) is normally in charge of designing and maintaining roads.
However, don’t let these facts discourage you. It is entirely possible that you can win your case. During a span of six years, from 2005 through 2010, SC’s Insurance Reserve Fund paid more than $30 million to resolve claims against our state’s DOT. Most of the claims involved alleged road defects. The claims include damage to vehicles, injuries, and even deaths due to accidents caused by road defects. An experienced road design and defect lawyer can help you successfully hold the government responsible.