Injured By A Falling Bridge? Your Right To Sue May Be Limited

Hi, my name is Mandy Vaughn and if you're considering the adoption of a child, you should first read my blog about adoption attorneys. When my husband and I was going to adopt a child, my friend recommended that we hire an adoption attorney to make sure the process went smoothly. Our attorney prepared the paperwork for the adoption, which really eased my mind. Our attorney was there with us through the entire adoption process and helped us in many ways. If you are going to adopt a child, you'll learn valuable information in my blog. Since I've been through the adoption process with an attorney on my side, I wanted to share my experience with others who are also adopting.

Injured By A Falling Bridge? Your Right To Sue May Be Limited

5 May 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog


It's estimated that 1 out of every 10 U.S. bridges desperately need to be repaired and most people passing over and under them every day have no idea of the danger. If you're injured due to a collapsed bridge or because a piece of concrete tumbled off of one as you passed underneath, can you sue?

Suing the government is always tricky.

With few exceptions, bridges and overpasses are maintained by cities, counties, and states. In order to sue, you first have to determine which part of the government is responsible for maintaining the bridge or overpass that caused the accident.

Then you have to find out if you have the legal right to sue the government entity involved. Most government agencies are protected from average lawsuits. However, if there is negligence involved, you may still be able to sue - as long as you follow all the required steps and make sure that you're within the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations requires you to file your lawsuit within a specific period of time or forever give up the right to do so. Each government entity has a different statute of limitations - and it could be as little as 6 months. That makes it incredibly important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible - because otherwise you're ability to sue could be gone before you know it.

Negligence is often the issue that's in dispute.

Most of the time, when a piece of concrete railing drops off an overpass or a bridge collapses, the big dispute centers around whether or not the agency responsible for maintaining the roadway is actually negligent.

A finding of negligence often depends on whether or not the government even knew the bridge was in serious disrepair, and for how long. If there's no evidence that the government knew that the bridge was literally an accident waiting to happen, you probably can't recover for your damages.

The government also has to have had time and opportunity to repair the damaged bridge, as well - which means that if the problems had just been discovered the day before your accident, you probably won't be able to recover.

That doesn't mean that you can't make a case.

Given the attention that's been focused on the dismal state of our nation's roads and bridges over the last few years, you still have a good chance of proving negligence. It just may take a little time, research, and effort, but the following evidence can help:

  1. Police records. If the condition has existed for a while, there may be police records that show previous accidents due to similar problems. For example, if a piece of crumbling concrete from a closed bridge fell off and hit your car while you were on the road that passes underneath the bridge, there's a good chance that you aren't the first victim.
  2. Photographic evidence. Pictures are often worth a great deal, especially if they show obvious signs of a decayed structure, like rusted supports and broken concrete or bent railings. If you can prove that the government should have known about the danger, you may not have to prove that it actually did know about the danger in order to establish negligence.
  3. Survey and local records. If you look through the records of the Department of Transportation or the state Attorney General's Office, you may be able to find documentation of survey reports where the bridge has been assessed for danger in the last couple years. That can be enough to prove your case. Also, check through local newspaper records, because there may have been reports on the issue in the past.

If you want to sue after being injured due to a falling or decaying bridge, talk to an attorney right away. It's the best way to determine if you have a case and to preserve your right to file suit. It may require a little extra effort and investigation, but it's by no means impossible to recover for your damages. To find out more, speak with a professional like Tarkowsky & Piper Co. LPA.

About Me
The Benefits Of Hiring An Adoption Attorney

Hi, my name is Mandy Vaughn and if you're considering the adoption of a child, you should first read my blog about adoption attorneys. When my husband and I was going to adopt a child, my friend recommended that we hire an adoption attorney to make sure the process went smoothly. Our attorney prepared the paperwork for the adoption, which really eased my mind. Our attorney was there with us through the entire adoption process and helped us in many ways. If you are going to adopt a child, you'll learn valuable information in my blog. Since I've been through the adoption process with an attorney on my side, I wanted to share my experience with others who are also adopting.

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