Reimbursement of losses caused by poor condition of road

Despite upcoming EURO 2012 the condition of many Ukrainian roads leaves much to be desired which does not only cause inconveniences to road users but sometimes results in different traffic accidents. In such situations harm is caused to people and vehicles that are not insured under KASKO system. The road maintenance services are to be blamed for these accidents but their guilt is often hard to be proved due to the fact that majority of evidence is collected directly by the parties of accidents. In order to help those who were harmed by such accidents lawyers of law firm “Pravova Dopomoga” decided to prepare a short legal advice which deals with plan of actions that should be followed to receive such compensation and shows obstacles that may arise in this regard.

In order to win in court and receive such reimbursement it is required to prove caused harm, unlawful inactivity of road maintenance services and causality between these two. So if you had a traffic accident due to poor condition of road and harm that was caused to your vehicle is significant you have to call the State Automobile Inspection. They in turn must list the damages that were cause to a vehicle as the result of traffic accident and find out the cause of the traffic accident (for example a wheel that bumped into a hole). Such data complemented with receipt of car repair service as well as (if required) receipts of physical and mental health recovery services comprises evidence of caused harm.

According to the law inactivity of road maintenance services regarding maintenance of normal condition of road is unlawful. In accordance with Article 9 of the Law “On road traffic” they are authorized bodies of the roads’ owner represented by the state or local communities and must secure safe road traffic, eliminate its damages, provide information about accidents rate related to road pavement, etc. So in many cases it is only required to prove causation between caused losses and unlawful inactivity. And in order to do so it may be sufficient to provide conclusions of the State Automobile Inspection about causes of an accident.

But if any warning signs were set (road signs “Pothole”, “Detour”, etc. and even speed bumps) a court can rule that there is no fault of the road maintenance service and reject a lawsuit (it can be exemplified by the decision of Golosiyivskyi District Court of Kiev in case number 2-653/11 dated 07.06.2011). So prior to filing of a lawsuit one should make sure that there were no warning signs and it would help a lot if this fact was stated in State Automobile Service’s certificate.

When you have evidence which proves that road maintenance service is guilty of caused harm it is still required to define the appropriate defendant. Thus, in accordance with the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine number 198 dated 30.03.1994 roads of national level are managed by services of Ukravtodor while local roads that are municipally owned are managed by municipal organizations. At the same time the mentioned services usually try to transfer their duties related to maintenance and repair of roads to commercial entities and those in turn to their subsidiaries. Therefore one must first of all determine who exactly owns the road (state or local community) after which it is possible to take the guilty service along with its contractors to court.

Lawsuit is to be filed at the registration location of defendants (one of them) or at the location where damages were caused to a court of first instance (if a vehicle does not belong to an individual) or commercial court (if it is owned by a legal entity).

This comment was prepared by lawyers of law firm “Pravova Dopomoga”. It is related to service of Legal advice.

Publication date: 22/09/2011

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