Accountability for dangerous roadways depends on several factors, including the location of the roads, the party who owns and manages them, and the origin of the danger. Typically, government agencies and private enterprises that are responsible for designing, building, maintaining, and operating the roadways may be found to be liable for accidents caused by dangerous road conditions. However, road conditions are often overlooked when police reports are prepared.
Determining Liability for Dangerous Roadways
To establish liability it must be demonstrated that either: (a) a negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the scope of his employment created the dangerous condition, or (b) the public entity had notice of the dangerous condition, a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition. (Cordova v. City of Los Angeles (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1099, 1104-05.)
A public entity may be liable for a dangerous condition of public property even when the immediate cause of a plaintiff ’s injury is a third party’s negligent or illegal act (such as a motorist’s negligent driving) if some physical characteristic of the property exposes its users to increased danger from third-party negligence. Public entity liability lies under Government
Code section 835 when some feature of the property increased or intensified the danger to users from third-party conduct. (Castro v. City of Thousand Oaks (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 1451, 1457-1458.)
Dangerous road conditions can be a key factor in determining who is accountable. These conditions could include:
- inadequate road design
- inadequate barriers
- inadequate drainage
- inadequately marked construction zones
- poor signage or lighting
- improperly maintained or damaged road surfaces
- failure to implement adequate safety measures
Involved in an Accident? It Might Not Be Your Fault.
Dangerous roadways may be the cause of a collision or accident and may in some situations supersede liability that you might have – even if your conduct contributed to the collision.
A government agency has the duty to maintain safe roadways and must warn drivers of hazardous conditions. Thus, a driver who is involved in a collision because of a breach of duty by the agency can request damages from the entity. This sometimes becomes the ultimate question to be decided by a jury if a negotiated settlement does not happen. However, most civil cases, including these types, resolve without the need for a trial.
Claims against governmental entities are complex. If you think you might have one – seek the assistance of the highly experienced attorneys at Ellis Riccobono, LLP – but don’t wait. These types of cases have strict time limits.
The experienced attorneys at Ellis Riccobono LLP invite you to meet with them if you have any questions about the information you read above. The legal experts at our firm have represented many people who have experienced devastating collisions due to roadway conditions, and we want to ensure that you receive proper restitution.
Call (424) 901-1202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today for a free consultation to learn what we can do to help.