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Accidents Involving Street And Highway Defects
These lawsuits can allege claims for negligent highway design, negligent construction, or negligent maintenance. A lawyer will first need to demonstrate that a feature of the road caused or contributed to cause the accident. Second, you will need to prove that the road feature created an unreasonably dangerous condition. Your case will also need to tie one or more government bodies or contractors to the specific road feature that caused the accident. Traffic engineering experts will likely be required to meet these elements of the claim.
There are legal hurdles to these claims that a street and highway defect lawyer must analyze. For instance, sovereign immunity issues may determine how a claim should be brought. Generally, under sovereign immunity laws, public entities such as state, county, or city governments are protected against lawsuits for their negligence, including negligence in defective street and highway design, maintenance and construction. For instance, in Missouri, sovereign immunity is outlined in R.S.Mo. §537.600. However, Missouri law has established two broad exceptions to the doctrine of sovereign immunity. First is the motor vehicle exception. The second is the dangerous condition exception. Typically, a claim for negligent highway or street design will fall within the dangerous condition exception to this law if pled correctly.
In a case against the Missouri Transportation and Highway Commission (MHTC), which has responsibilities for a lot of the roadways in Missouri, arbitration can be requested. Under R.S.Mo. §226.095, upon request of the plaintiff in a negligence action against the department of transportation, the case must be arbitrated by a panel of three arbiters. In some instances, this could be beneficial to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff has the right to demand arbitration against the MHTC.
In other cases, a claim should be pursued against private parties – that are not municipalities and are not protected by sovereign immunity – for dangerous roads. For example, often, private contractors are hired by the municipal entity to construct roadways. When this happens, the contractor may be liable for the defective road or the construction zone that led to a crash while the contractor was performing work on the roadway. Contractor liability is another angle that must be explored in these cases when a severe or fatal injury occurs on the road.
How A Roadway Defect Lawyer Can Help You
The government and its contractors must keep road conditions in a manner reasonable for use by motorists and pedestrians. They must provide adequate warnings to drivers about construction sites and other dangers such as intersections, pedestrian crossings and traffic flow. The government agency with jurisdiction over the road must warn drivers about any hazard of which it knows or should know.
If you think that a failure to maintain safe roadways was a factor in severe injuries suffered by you or your loved one or in your loved one’s passing, Preuss | Foster Law is here to help. Call us today at (816) 307-2788. We don’t collect lawyer’s fees from our clients until we win their case.