The Role of Road Maintenance in Accidents

by | Nov 17, 2017 | Vehicle Accidents

The Role of Road Maintenance in Accidents

For over a decade, the roads in Ontario have been among the safest in North America. To accomplish this high safety standard, The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) works with cities and townships to improve and maintain roads, mitigate harsh winter conditions and ensure the safety of Ontario drivers. If poor road maintenance contributes to a motor vehicle accident, can the victim sue the municipality and its contractors?

Road Maintenance Responsibility

Municipalities in accordance with the MTO must do the following to maintain their roads:

  • Regular inspections
  • Repairing cracks and holes in the asphalt top or concrete bottom
  • Protecting all roads from water damage that could result in the asphalt lifting
  • Providing sufficient lighting on every stretch of road
  • Inform the public of any road hazards or construction

Toronto, for example, inspects a road every 20 years, and during those inspections, performs stringent engineering tests. If the road is found to be in disrepair, the city will hire contractors and authorize repair work to be done.

Have you ever complained about traffic caused by repairs or maintenance being performed on a road that looked perfectly fine? If so, your anger might have been unfounded. Toronto and other cities in Ontario take preventative measures to improve road surfaces and avoid future deterioration. This strategy prolongs the health of the road and saves taxpayer money in the long run.

Ontario municipalities hires contractors to provide many of the pertinent road maintenance services. These contractors could be tasked with snow removal, road inspections, applying anti-icing elements or repairs of different scopes. In the event of an accident, it is possible that the contracted company could be found liable if their work or negligence contributed to the accident.

Poor Road Maintenance

Motor vehicle accidents can be caused by poor lighting which can hinder visibility, a pothole that causes a motor vehicle to veer or swerve or a municipality not providing prompt care against weather conditions such as icy roads or snowfall.

In the event of an accident caused by poorly maintained roads, municipalities can be held legally responsible for damages. Victims of an accident should remain at the scene and make sure the police report reflects the road conditions at the time of the accident. A police report doesn’t legally determine liability, but it can be paramount to building the foundation of a strong case.

Drivers need to operate their vehicle with respect to the law and with prudence towards other drivers. They should have the peace of mind that the roads they’re travelling on have been inspected, properly maintained and are protected against the elements.

Winter Highway Maintenance Action Plan

The province is responsible for maintaining the highways in partnership with the MTO. Specifically, the MTO reviews standards, implements new technologies and equipment and executes strategies to combat winter driving conditions. The province plans and performs all road repairs and maintenance.

Winter in Ontario brings its own slew of road maintenance issues and leads to a greater chance of motor vehicle accidents. Ontario has a commitment to keeping drivers safe, evidenced by the Winter Highway Maintenance Action Plan. Per this plan, the MTO contracted all highway maintenance to the private sector and shifted to a performance-based model with greater oversight. In addition, the plan outlined greater road maintenance vigilance starting in 2015-2016 and for the Auditor General to review the effectiveness of Ontario’s winter road maintenance.

The objective was to achieve a greater investment of resources into the maintenance and care of Ontario highways during the winter. It also created deeper partnerships with the OPP, contractors and road safety groups to educate and promote responsible winter driving.

Despite these efforts, municipalities and contractors can still be found liable for motor vehicle accidents that resulted from poor road maintenance.

Personal Injury Lawyers

Municipalities are obligated to maintain the roads to achieve optimal safety conditions. Part of this obligation is to increase its efforts during the winter months where greater safety measures are required. Failure to do so could result in motor vehicle accidents.

A personal injury lawyer can help motor vehicle accident victims navigate the complex legalities of receiving compensation from a negligent municipality or third-party contractors. Work with the personal injury lawyers at Mackesy Smye to understand the nature and validity of your claim, how to proceed and how much compensation you could be entitled to. Our experienced team can help you build a strong case.

Contact us today to confidentially review your case and determine a proper course of action.

Personal Injuries at Provincial Campgrounds

Personal Injuries in Provincial Parks – do you know what to do if you get hurt at a provincially run campground this summer? And what about deadlines? Learn who’s accountable and how quickly you need to consult with a lawyer.

Suing for Whiplash – A Pain in the Neck

Whiplash is perhaps the most common injury associated with auto collisions. But many insurance companies are suspicious of whiplash claims and will do anything to deny payment. Read the full article to learn more.

Personal Injury Claims & Social Media

Don’t Self-Sabotage on Social Media – the defence is looking to discredit you, and you might be giving them everything they need. Use social media responsibly during your trial so that your posts can’t be used against you – read the full article to learn more.

Slips, Trips & Falls – Business vs Private Residence

Where you had your accident can matter as much as why you got hurt. The Occupier’s Liability Act holds businesses and homes to different standards. Find out how this could affect your case, read the full article to learn more.

Bicycle Accidents and Personal Injuries

Cyclists assume way more risk than drivers. And if the two ever collide, the cyclist’s injuries could be serious and permanent. If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving a car or truck read the full article to learn more.

Loss of Limb – Potential Impacts to Lawsuit

The nature and severity of amputation make it unique among personal injury claims. Make sure you’re taking everything into consideration before submitting your claim – read the full article to learn more.

Dangerous Street Racing & Stunt Driving – Personal Injury Lawsuits

We’re already sharing the road with self-driving cars. But who’s at fault when they get involved in accidents that cause injuries to other drivers? And can you sue? Read the full article to learn more..

Personal Injury and the Canada Revenue Agency

If you win a personal injury lawsuit in Ontario, how much will you lose in taxes? How do you hold onto it and keep it out of the hands of the taxman? Click here to learn about tax-free structured annuities.

Autonomous Driving Accidents & Personal Injury

We’re already sharing the road with self-driving cars. But who’s at fault when they get involved in accidents that cause injuries to other drivers? And can you sue? Read the full article to learn more..

Personal Injury Claims & Accidents Involving Uber or Lyft Drivers

When ridesharing becomes accident-sharing – who’s responsible for injuries when Lyft and Uber drivers are involved in a crash? For simple answers to this complex and complicated question, click here for our comprehensive guide to ridesharing injuries.