The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the deadly Lehigh Tunnel crash that occurred in February. The fatal incident happened in the southbound lanes of the Lehigh Tunnel along the Northeast Extension, where authorities say there was evidence of corrosion along the ceiling. This corrosion caused a section of electrical conduit to fall and go through the windshield and fatally injure a 70 year old driver. Evidence of corrosion was first reported during an inspection in 2016. According to the report, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was in the process of awarding a contract to replace the straps when the accident happened.

As evidenced in this horrific accident, failure to maintain roadways, bridges and tunnels could have catastrophic results. Other roadway defects, such as those in poor repair or of improper design, can also cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle or otherwise increase the risk of a collision. In the event that road defects cause a car accident, the government entity responsible for the design and/or maintenance of that road may be held responsible for the accident and any resulting injuries. This, however, complicates matters in regard to taking legal action.

Defective roadway lawsuits are usually more complex than other car accident lawsuits. Because roadways are typically the responsibility of government entities (federal, state, county and city agencies/departments), legal action is subject to different procedures. Additionally, multiple parties may be at-fault.

Determining whether a road hazard is a defect rather than just another bump in the road can also be difficult. While it is best to discuss the specifics of your accident with an experienced attorney, there are some common identifiable defects that may help you decide whether you should consider legal action. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Potholes
  • Shoulder drop offs
  • Poor design
  • Debris that has not been removed in a timely manner
  • Excessive gravel and/or oil
  • Malfunctioning or inadequate warning signals or signs
  • Insufficient or inadequate notification of changes in the shoulder
  • Failure to post warning signals or signs
  • Poorly established construction zones
  • Hazardous weather conditions
  • Insufficient or inadequate notification of impending conditions
  • Defective or lack of street lights
  • Inadequate highway division, edge lines, or line striping
  • Dangerous intersections
  • Bridges or Tunnel defects

To learn more, visit our Roadway Defect Accident section. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an improperly designed or maintained road, our Pennsylvania accident attorneys can help. Call 1-800-444-5309 for a free consultation. We have offices in Scranton, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh and will travel to you.