Two Florida families recently sued Nassau County after a 16-year-old was killed and three others seriously injured on County Road 121 in an accident the families claim is attributable to misplaced guardrails. In that accident, one vehicle veered slightly to the right, struck a guardrail located close to the road's edge, and bounced into oncoming traffic. The families want the county held accountable for placing the guardrails just over a foot away from the edge of the road, rather than the standard four to five feet.
Elsewhere in Florida, a stretch of state highway running along a canal has been the scene of a number of recent fatalities due to a lack of guardrails allowing cars to plunge into the canal and their occupants to drown. Considerable public uproar has demanded that a project to install guardrails should be hurried along.
Similarly, across the United States, many roads maintained by local municipalities suffer from design flaws that lead to an alarmingly high level of accidents. Rural roads that carry
28 percent of the nation's traffic are the scene of more than half its car accident fatalities.
In Florida, the responsibility for maintaining roads that are not part of the State Highway System belongs to the counties or municipalities where the roads are located. These entities may be held liable for flaws in their construction or maintenance.
For many Florida municipalities, funding concerns remain a major roadblock to proper road maintenance. Government money tends to support interstate highway system, while counties and municipalities have struggled to come up with the money to sustain their crumbling infrastructure. The project to install guardrails along the Florida highway flanking the canal has stalled due to lack of funding. Whether and when Nassau County can correct its guardrail problem on County Road 121 remains to be seen.
Unlike other tort actions, the time limit for taking actions against counties or municipalities is much shorter than for tort actions against other people or entities in the state. These statutes of limitation will vary depending on the jurisdiction, but some can be as short as 30 days. This is why it is critical for people injured in Central Florida to speak with an Orlando personal injury lawyer to learn about the limitations on actions for your location.
It is always difficult to appreciate the full impact of an injury for some time. An experienced car accident lawyer can be an invaluable advocate, helping to make sure you receive full compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering. Whether dealing with an insurance company or a county or municipality, it is important to have attorneys on your side with strong track records of helping their clients.