In a recent prominent attorney journal, a well-written article describes the dangers of roadway drop-off. This article of course underscores our complaints about the condition of Ortega Highway, which has caused a number of auto accidents, motorcycle and truck accidents in Orange County California.
As an Orange County personal injury andtruck accident attorney, we have, on a number of occasions, written about dangerous drop-offs and represented clients for such road conditions. Unfortunately, little has been done to correct obvious defects in our more rural roads and narrow highways.
In the article for TRIAL February 2009, a Pennsylvania driver traveling on a state highway experienced an asphalt to shoulder drop off of 6 inches next to newly asphalt highway. The driver traveled on the shoulder for 1.5 seconds before over-steering the vehicle back onto the road. Unfortunately she over-steered, causing her to strike trees on the other side of the road.
For those of you who do not know what a drop-off is, it represents a difference in elevation between the roadway surface and the shoulder, usually dirt. When the vehicle is traveling on the roadway surface and the right side tires encounter the off, the natural tendency of the driver is to over-steer in an attempt to regain control of the vehicle and remain on the highway. Unfortunately all too often, the over-steer maneuver causes the vehicle to lose control and collide with objects on the side of the road, or that are traveling in the opposite direction of travel. The result is usually a horrendous auto accident and injuries. Our office represents such a victim who was killed on Ortega Highway in 2008. As he was rounding a curve in the road he also encountered a significant drop-off causing him to over-steer inexplicably steer into oncoming traffic where he was killed.
We have made claims to the state and local agencies but no resolution of this case has taken place yet. Here are some well thought out recommendations given by the article, which mirror our experience as well.
First identify the cause of the drop-off. There are ample explanations for the creation of drop-offs. Excellent investigation always aids in a successful conclusion. In the article’s example, the roadway had just been resurfaced but no attention was paid to the shoulder. In our client’s case, the drop-off was due to improper care on the part of the state agencies, over use of the roadway surface, rainstorms and significant large truck tread impaction.
Second and equally important, the accident victim should contact an Orange County personal injury attorney immediately to take steps to preserve the condition of the scene. Photographs of the scene, the condition experienced by the driver, and other areas showing wear, are necessary for experts to conduct their calculations and examinations.
Lastly it is important to gather crash statistics at the location scene, and on the highway. Crash statistics may prove noticed to the governmental agency that work needed to be done at the scene. This is by far the most difficult portion of proof.
Roadway drop-off is a serious condition likely to cause additional injury unless addressed by roadway crews. If you have witnessed an accident caused by roadway drop-off on Ortega Highway we want to hear from you. You may very well be able to aid us in the successful prosecution of the case we’ve mentioned in this article. Please call us at 1-888-752-7474.