Negligent Roadway Design
The skilled and experienced attorneys and staff at the Jesse Minc Law Group assist victims of accidents involving public transportation and unsafe conditions on public property throughout New York City. Our Bronx government liability lawyers work diligently to obtain the maximum amount of damages owed to people injured by negligent roadway design. Our clients always have direct access to their attorneys, and we limit the number of cases that we pursue so that we can make certain that each client and their case receive individual attention. Perhaps nothing demonstrates our commitment to our clients better than our more than 95 percent success rate obtaining damages awards and settlements for them.
New York City is one of the most populous cities in the United States, including some of the most densely populated areas in the world when examining the amount of people living within a single square mile. An intricate network of streets, roads, highways, and bridges allows thousands of buses and cars to move people throughout the city each day. Generally, either the City of New York or the State of New York is responsible for maintaining these roads, and responsibility for safe maintenance of the roadways, as well as the maintenance and protection of vehicular traffic on these roads, is set forth in the New York State Highway Law. Depending upon which government entity – or private entity, in rare cases – owns a particular roadway on which a serious car accident occurs, that entity may be liable for damages when a defect, dangerous design, unsafe traffic management plan or hazardous condition on a New York City street causes injuries. If the design or layout of a road causes or contributes to an accident, under certain special circumstances, the owner of the roadway is responsible to compensate the accident victim for any damages that may have resulted from the crash.Liability for Roadway Hazards in New York City
Under the legal theory of premises liability, a property owner is liable for damages when a defective or hazardous condition causes injuries to someone whom they should reasonably expect would be present on their property. For example, the owner of a business that is open to the public might be liable for a trip and fall accident caused by a hole in the floor during business hours. This same concept applies to public roadways throughout New York City and the entire State of New York.
The roads of New York City are full of cars and pedestrians at almost all hours of the day. The City of New York’s potential liability, however, is limited by several laws with which our team of skilled Bronx attorneys has substantial experience. Both state and city laws require a notice of claim (which, in actions against the State of New York, is known as a “Notice of Intention to Make Claim”, a subtle but important technical difference) before filing a lawsuit against the government or a government agency. When the State of New York is the defendant, cases must be brought in the Court of Claims, rather than in the Supreme Court. New York City’s “pothole law” prohibits lawsuits for damages caused by a defective or hazardous road condition, unless the city has received prior written notice of the danger; this important law applies only when a defect – rather than an unsafe design, or unsafe plan for the maintenance and protection of traffic – is alleged to have caused a serious accident on a New York roadway.Liability for Negligent Roadway Design in New York City
Some injuries do not result solely from the negligent operation of a vehicle, or from a pothole or other hazard upon the roadway, but instead from a danger that is inherent in the design of the roadway itself. This could involve a poorly placed culvert, improper or inadequate signage, inadequate lighting at night, a failure to design the roadway so as to avoid flooding or the frequent formation of ice, inadequate guardrails, improper setting of speed limits, insufficient traffic signals or the placement of foliage and trees in such a manner so as to block drivers’ views of traffic signals, and other roadway design-related issues that could cause or contribute to an accident.
The owner of the roadway – whether it is the City of New York, or the State of New York – is responsible for designing the roads, maintaining them, and repairing them. The doctrine of qualified immunity protects the city from many lawsuits that might allege negligent roadway design. An accident victim should be careful to select a Bronx lawyer with the skill and experience to recognize these important legal issues and who is able to show that the design of the roads was unreasonable or unsupported by the best design standards at the time. The courts have identified two situations in which the city, or another government or government agency, may be held liable for negligent roadway design:
- When a road has a history of accidents due to its improper design (i.e., the speed limit is too high, there is no warning sign relating to a very sharp curve in the roadway, etc.), and the government is aware of this history but has failed to make safety improvements; or
- When the government makes substantial improvements or repairs to a road, but it fails to use the best available design and engineering standards and fails to properly recognize and study traffic safety risks which ultimately cause an accident to occur (this can also apply when, during an ongoing roadway construction project, plans to divert traffic to accommodate the construction are not done safely, and a traffic safety risk that the government did not consider causes an accident to occur).
For example, a 2017 ruling by the New York Court of Appeals, Turturro v. City of New York, held the City of New York partly liable for failing to “study or implement traffic calming measures” on a road known for speeding. The plaintiff, who was on a bicycle, had been injured by a driver going 54 mph in a 30-mph zone. Cases involving allegations of unsafe roadway design are taken very seriously by the City and State of New York, and they will fight you to the end to avoid being held liable for an unsafe roadway design. Our team of accident lawyers knows what evidence to obtain, and which expert witnesses to hire, to prove your case. These cases are very expensive to litigate, and so if you are a victim of an unsafe roadway design accident, you need Bronx lawyers with the substantial resources and experience necessary to make sure that your case can go the distance in court.Discuss a Possible Claim Against the Government with a Bronx Attorney
The Jesse Minc Law Group offers a high degree of experience and resources from our attorneys and our staff. We have access to top experts in a wide variety of fields, as well as seasoned investigators who can locate witnesses and procure evidence needed for your case. In addition to a free consultation regarding your case, we will conduct an initial, no-obligation investigation at no cost to you. Our lawyers use top-notch trial preparation tactics, and we will pay 100% of the cost of preparing your case. You have no obligation to pay us back unless we recover damages for you. You can contact us today online or at (718) 354-8000 to see how we can help you. We represent people throughout the Greater New York City area, including in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties.