May 272013

Car, truck and motorcycle accidents occur each day in Pennsylvania. The majority of accidents happen because of the negligence of one of the drivers in the accident. However, in some cases, a condition of the roadway caused or contributed to the accident. In such a situation, the car accident laws of Pennsylvania may allow the injured party to recover against the entity which owns, maintains or otherwise controls the roadway.

Liability in a Car-Motorcycle Accident in PA – Roadway Issues

When a government entity controls or maintains a street, road or highway, it can be held responsible when its negligence causes or contributes to an accident such as a car, truck or motorcycle accident.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, local municipalities, townships and county governments may all be held liable under two laws in Pennsylvania – the Sovereign Immunity Act and the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. Under each law, government entities are generally immune from liability with some major exceptions. Street/roadway defects and traffic signal issues are delineated as exceptions under these laws. So in other words, government entities can be held liable for certain roadway defects and traffic control defects.

In car, truck or motorcycle accident cases, common roadway issues which may be actionable against a government entity include:

  • potholes and sunken areas,
  • roadway slope issues, and
  • defective traffic signals.

It is important to note that under these laws, those who seek to make claims against government entities must file notices of intent with the correct government office within 180 days of the accident. Failure to do so may result in dismissal of the claim.

In addition to claims against the government, people who are injured in car, truck or motorcycle accidents may also have claims against other drivers, as well as adjacent property owners. Read part 1 of this article – liability of property owners in car-motorcycle accident cases in Pennsylvania.

For example, let’s say a driver is speeding through an intersection. There is a traffic signal at the intersection, but it is not working properly. Due to an adjacent property owner’s bushes, the driver cannot get a full view of oncoming traffic. If the driver hits another car or motorcycle, that injured person may have claims against the following parties:

  • the negligent driver who was speeding,
  • the government entity (city, township, etc. which controls the traffic signal), and
  • the adjacent property owner.


Pennsylvania Car-Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

The lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman represent those injured in car and motorcycle accidents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. If you’d like a NO-COST review by our Pennsylvania and New Jersey car-motorcycle accident lawyers, call 215.925.4451. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation.

The lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman handle cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:

  • PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
  • NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities

*This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is important to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.


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