MoDOT Accidents: Defect, Design & Maintenance

If you were in a car accident caused by MoDOT, we can help. Sometimes the condition of a roadway causes a crash with serious injuries. The Missouri Department of Highways and Transportation (MoDOT) assumes a responsibility to ensure its roadways are designed and built to proper standards. If the roadway is not up to standard, MoDOT can be held liable for personal injuries and fatal accidents because of its dangerous roads. Bad MoDOT road conditions can make small car crash much worse than it should have been.

Improper maintenance claims against MoDOT

MoDOT is charged with the duty to maintain roads. Each year, thousands of miles of highway in the state of Missouri are in need of repair. Typically, large construction projects on Missouri’s highways are undertaken in the summertime. Because of Missouri’s extreme variations in temperature from the summer months to the winter months, our roadways take a significant amount of abuse. In fact, the Missouri Department of Transportation spent a reported 5.3 Billion Dollars in 2007 to construct, maintain and repair our highways. This means they must perform routine inspections and fix things that are not to code. When MoDOT fails to perform required maintenance and a MoDOT accident happens, the State of Missouri is legally responsible. Highways may start out safe, but due to neglect of signs and surrounding areas, they can become unsafe. Maintenance problems that commonly cause preventable car crashes include:

  • Overgrown plants blocking view of the road or a sign
  • Failure to maintain missing or damaged traffic signals
  • Missing roadway signs
  • Construction hazards and failure to warn about upcoming construction
  • Uncorrected potholes,
  • Missing or damaged guardrails
  • Median cable damage
  • Rust and corrosion on older bridges
  • Rocks / chat in the road
  • Improperly maintained traffic signals
  • Potholes

Defective highway design claims against MoDOT 

In cases with defective roadways, the stretch of road is often notorious in the area for having a lot of crashes. Sometimes, the community even asked for MoDOT to correct the problem only to have the requests denied or unreasonably delayed. Examples of bad road design that commonly lead to accidents include:

  • No guardrails included on original plans
  • Missing or inadequate traffic signal (stop sign or light)
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Bad intersections
  • Excessive speeds on curves
  • Blind curves
  • Narrow travel lanes
  • Missing or narrow shoulders
  • Excessive grade
  • Defective intersections
  • Violation of “clear zone” principals
  • Failure to add signals after population growth
  • Defectively designed intersection
  • Intersections without proper sight distance
  • Line of sight issues
  • Bleeding or flushing
  • Improperly placed telephone polls in violation of the National Electric Safety Code
  • Defective guardrails
  • Excessively sloped roadway embankments
  • Failure to warn of planned highway construction
  • Insufficient roadway dimensions
  • Hydroplaning / pooling water
  • Violation of the MUTCD
  • Violation of AASHTO guidelines

One or more of the drivers involved in defective road crashes may be partly responsible, but that does not mean the State or local municipality is not at fault. Sometimes a roadway maintenance issue or defect can make a crash much worse than it would otherwise have been. For example, a missing guardrail may have resulted in an impact many times more forceful that the cars colliding. Missouri law allows more than one party to be held responsible for a crash. At trial, a jury may allocate fault among many parties.

Our clients get money damages from MoDOT

In a serious car, truck or motorcycle MoDOT accidents, it is imperative to hire a law firm that can “think outside the box.” Most any personal injury lawyer can engage in a simple analysis of what driver was at fault. Very few attorneys can claim success investigating and prosecuting defective design and maintenance claims against state and local governments. Our attorneys do on a routine basis. At The Bradley Law Firm, we have successfully sued the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and other local municipalities for roadway defects. You need to ensure the lawyer you hire has the necessary experience with these cases.

Highway work zone claims work zone

We believe Missouri law now supports claim for defective conditions that exist in active work zones. Recently MoDOT was sued in Lafayette County for an uneven lip within a construction zone. The lip caused a motorcycle rider to suffer severe injury. In that particular Missouri motorcycle accident, the rider came upon the construction zone, tried to pass a tractor trailer, hit the lip and lost control of his motorcycle. This was the first case that established MoDOT can be held liable for defective conditions within work zones.

What makes a road dangerous?

It might sound odd to call a road “defective” or “unreasonably dangerous.” Most people think of a road simply as a way to get from one place to another. In fact, local, state and federal agencies are required to design safe roads. This means all roads must comply with the standards set by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (“AASHTO.”) In addition, all roadway signage must comply with the standards set by the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (“MUTCD.”)

After a car accident, our lawyers investigate whether road or signage issues contributed in causing a crash. If it did, we next determine if that road condition complied with all AASHTO and MUTCD standards. If it did not, we will evaluate a cause of action against the responsible entity that created the condition. Many times this is the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC, or sometimes referred to as MoDOT), a County, a local municipality, or the general contractor who built the road.

Does sovereign immunity bar MoDOT accident claims?

Ordinarily, sovereign immunity would bar such claims against any public entity including MoDOT. However, Missouri law carves out an exception to this general rule for the defective condition of property, as long as you first comply with strict notice requirements. Failure to adhere to these time deadlines can result in your case being dismissed by the Court. For this reason, it is imperative you contact our law firm right away.

Our experience with defective roadways is unparalleled MoDOT Defect Attorney Ryan Bradley

If you are considering a defective roadway lawsuit, this will require suing a government agency. These cases are extremely complicated. The State of Missouri usually assigns the Attorney General to oversee the case, and often employs outside counsel to assist in the defense. You need to ensure the law firm you hire has successfully handled these types of cases. As the old saying goes, “never bring a knife to a gun fight.”

Limited time to act

The deadline to notify a local government of a defective roadway is very soon after a crash. If you miss the deadline, you may be forever barred from pursuing the governmental entity responsible for the condition. To ensure your access to the courts is not taken away by a small mistake contact our experienced MoDOT claim lawyers right away.

Why hire The Bradley Law Firm to sue MoDOT?

We have a proven record of success against the State of Missouri on MoDOT accidents. Our MoDOT lawyers represent clients who were seriously injured or lost a loved one in an auto crash, truck crash, pickup truck, SUV or other traffic accident that was not their fault. This includes accidents caused by bad roadways as well as bad drivers. Frequently, people involved in a bad car wreck suffer serious financial problems on top of their injuries, because their injuries mean high hospital bills as well as time out of work with no paychecks coming in.

Our Missouri auto accident attorneys help those clients make ends meet, get the care they need and win fair compensation for their injuries, by holding the at-fault parties financially liable. We never charge a dime to our clients unless and until we win, so there are never out of pocket costs to clients who are already struggling. If you believe you have a claim against MoDOT and would like to speak with an experienced road defect lawyer, call us today for a free legal evaluation.

Co-Counsel for law firms outside Missouri

Our attorneys are periodically asked to consult or enter pro hac vice on cases outside of Missouri. If you are a lawyer in another jurisdiction and wish to discuss a case, please call 314-400-0000.

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St. Louis Lawyer Disclaimer: The legal information offered herein, is not formal legal advice, nor is it the formation of an attorney client relationship. In order for our firm to be considered your attorney there must be a signed agreement between the client and the firm. Any results set forth herein are based solely upon the circumstances of that particular case and offer no promise or guarantee upon the outcome of any other case. Please contact a lawyer for a consultation. This site is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Missouri or Illinois. The Bradley Law Firm may co-counsel or associate with other law firms around the country at its discretion from initial intake through litigation when it deems appropriate.

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