An unexpected hazard on a roadway can cause a driver to swerve or brake suddenly and crash into other vehicles, pedestrians, or structures. Road hazards can include a wide variety of conditions such as debris left on the roadway, trees or shrubbery that block a driver’s vision, or construction zones that can reduce the width of lanes or place a worker in the path of oncoming traffic.
The condition of the road itself can also present a hazard, such as uneven roads, unexpected curves, faded paint markings, cracks or potholes, or the presence of snow, water, or ice.
Encountering a road hazard, such as a pothole, can result in severe consequences, such as personal injury, or even death. But aside from vigilantly keeping an eye out for hazards on the roadway, there is not much that drivers can do to protect themselves and others.
Various government agencies, such as the Province of Ontario and municipalities, are responsible for maintaining roads and ensuring they are safe for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. They are required to keep all roadways in a state of repair that is reasonable in the circumstances.
Therefore, in the event of an accident, it is possible to make a claim against the Province or municipality for damages. In order for a claim to be made, the Province or municipality must have failed to meet the minimum maintenance levels. These minimum standards can differ by type of road. It must also be shown that the Province or municipality knew, or should have known, about the state of disrepair.
If you are injured in an accident and believe a road hazard caused or contributed to the accident occurring, it is important to consult with a lawyer in order to determine whether you have a valid claim against the Province or a municipality.