Legal Guide

Unexpected Road Hazards: Steps to Take When You’re the Victim

There’s a saying that goes, “Into every life, a little rain must fall.” Despite our best efforts and intentions, unforeseen challenges can arise. On the road, this truth is clear: even the most conscientious drivers, those who diligently follow traffic regulations, adhere to speed limits, and shun distracted driving, can find themselves in accidents.

More often than not, these mishaps aren’t because of driver error. Instead, road hazards have become a prominent threat, claiming many American lives in recent years. In this blog, we’ll delve into the intricacies of road hazards, aiming to raise awareness and guide you on the appropriate steps to take should you find yourself involved in a road hazard-related accident.

Defining Road Hazards

What exactly is a road hazard? It refers to any obstacle on the road that poses a threat to the safety of its users. This could be anything from potholes, cracked surfaces, and uneven roads to debris, fallen trees, dead animals, or slick conditions caused by wet leaves and mud.

These hazards don’t merely present inconvenience; they hold the potential for real danger. Accidents stemming from these issues can cause injuries, and in more extreme cases, can even be fatal. Many times, the root causes of these hazards are external conditions like severe weather — think heavy rain, ice, or snow. Poor nighttime lighting can compromise a driver’s visibility, making it harder to spot and react to potential dangers ahead, heightening the risk of severe accidents.

Steps to Take Following a Road Hazard Accident

If you find yourself in a road hazard accident, your immediate priority should be to ensure your safety and that of your passengers. Should anyone sustain injuries, call 911 and request an ambulance. While waiting for medical aid and the authorities to arrive, it’s essential to document the accident scene.

Capture photographs and video footage of the damages and the hazard itself. Engage any witnesses present and secure their contact information, as their testimonies can be invaluable when determining liability. Once the police arrive, remember to collect the details of the officer attending the scene; this information will be pivotal later when establishing fault.

Determining Fault in Road Hazard Accidents

Determining liability in road hazard accidents can be complex. For this very reason, it’s crucial to engage a personal injury attorney to help identify the party responsible for the incident.

When roads are known to present hazards, especially under extreme weather conditions, it falls on local authorities to implement measures that reduce accident risks. These measures encompass adequate signage, timely road maintenance, and issuing public safety warnings. It’s the responsibility of these authorities to ensure roads remain well-lit during nighttime.

Should local authorities fall short of fulfilling their duties to guarantee your safety, they could be deemed negligent. Such negligence forms the basis for a personal injury lawsuit. With a proficient attorney by your side, you stand a better chance of securing compensation for the damages you’ve sustained.

Potential Compensation from Road Hazard Accidents

In the wake of a road hazard accident, victims can pursue compensation for various damages. Here’s what you could potentially recover in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from such an incident:

  • Property Damage: This encompasses compensation for damages to your vehicle and any other personal belongings affected during the accident.
  • Medical Expenses: Should injuries require medical treatment, you can seek reimbursement for all associated costs.
  • Lost Wages: If your injuries caused you to miss work—whether for medical appointments, recovery, or rehabilitation—you’re entitled to recoup those lost earnings.
  • Diminished Future Earnings: In cases where injuries prohibit returning to your previous profession and you find yourself in a lower-paying position, compensation may be pursued for this discrepancy.
  • Pain and Suffering: This covers the physical distress and emotional anguish experienced because of the accident.
  • Reduced Quality of Life: If the accident led to permanent disabilities that have altered your way of life, you can pursue damages reflecting these profound changes.


Road hazards pose genuine risks, often leading to severe accidents that can significantly disrupt our daily lives. It’s essential to stay vigilant—heed road signs, adhere to speed limits, maintain a safe following distance, and always consider weather conditions and public safety advisories.

“Should you find yourself the victim of a road hazard accident that wasn’t your fault, remember: compensation might be within your reach,” says attorney Gregory J. Perenich of  Perenich Law Injury Attorneys. By partnering with a seasoned road accident attorney, you can assemble the evidence necessary to pinpoint the liable party and secure a just settlement to cover your losses.

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