Lack of Guardrail Results in Double Fatality
Two women drowned when their vehicle went over a cliff into the river. The ensuing was whether the accident was due to driver distractions or the result of a poorly designed road. The family of the victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming the city was fully aware of the dangerous roadway, but did nothing to correct the situation. The plaintiff believed that had the city put up a guardrail at this dangerous curve, their loved ones would be with them today. While government defendants often argue that such accidents are the result of driver error, dangerous roads may be all or part of the cause of the accident.
Dangerous road condition most often stem from faulty design, construction, maintenance, or failure by the government to make road changes to adapt to new conditions. Many are the result of missing or defective guardrails. Guardrails protect drivers from dangerous curves especially for elevated roads and bridges, or where obstacles such as trees or poles are near the road. While dangerous curves often have low speed limits, an unexpected sharp curve after a stretch of straight road may lack sufficient advance warning that drivers must slow down and be extra cautious. In addition to guardrails, appropriate signage should be posted far in advance. Guardrails may not prevent the accident, but they will usually minimize the severity of injuries.
Agencies that design and maintain roads and highways have a continuing duty to ensure that dangerous conditions will not imperil motorists exercising reasonable care. Although drivers may be distracted, skid or slid due to adverse weather conditions, or merely driving carelessly, failure to avoid foreseeable events from turning tragic is a form of negligence. Drivers have a right to expect that their government won't allow dangerous roads to cause accidents. The jury awarded in favor of the plaintiff in this case.
Winning a wrongful death lawsuit resulting from dangerous road accident involves proving the government was aware of a significant roadway danger, but failed to fix it. Third party contractors can be held liable for failing to comply or following roadway design plans or specifications. Dangerous road cases are difficult and expensive. The government bodies controlling the roads have strong defenses put in place by the government itself. Proving a dangerous roadway caused an auto accident can be a long legal process and difficult to prove, but successful cases not only benefit the victims, but indirectly force changes in dangerous road conditions that can save lives - changes that might not otherwise occur at all.
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