Can a City Be Liable for Poorly Designed Roads and Intersections?

Most people understand that when a negligent driver hits them, they can sue for compensation. But what happens when it is the road itself that is the hazard to blame for an accident?

Many roads and intersections in Florida are poorly designed, and the results are tragic. A recent accident in Hialeah from late May reminds us that Florida intersections could be much safer. The accident occurred at one of Hialeah’s most notorious intersections located at East Fourth Avenue and East 33rd Street.

According to Local 10, the accident injured multiple people, including a pregnant woman, who were all taken to the hospital. Both vehicles were also severely damaged in the wreck. A resident, identified in the article as Tony Dominguez, claimed that the intersection was one of the most dangerous in Hialeah. He blamed drivers for running the stop sign and failing to obey traffic laws.

When Can You Hold the City Legally Responsible?

Just because an accident takes place in an intersection does not mean that the city is to blame. Instead, driver error is a common root cause. Many drivers run lights, make dangerous turns, or fail to stop in time and end up rear-ending the vehicle in front of them.

However, in some situations, the city can contribute to an accident at an intersection:

  • There is no stoplight or stop sign
  • The stop sign is obstructed by something, such as foliage
  • There are inadequate warning signs
  • No clear view of traffic exists because of how the intersection is designed

Roads can also have defects, such as:

  • Potholes
  • Road debris left over from construction
  • Missing or defective guardrails
  • Dangerous shoulders

In these cases and others like them, the city is responsible for the conditions that led to the car crash. For example, the city should trim foliage that blocks any stop sign. The city also needs to quickly replace any sign that gets knocked down because of an accident or vandalism.

Suing the City

Bringing a lawsuit against a city is quite different from suing a private citizen who slams into you. Cities and municipalities enjoy immunity from most lawsuits. Fortunately, an exception has been made for personal injury cases, such as car accidents, but you still need to meet tight deadlines and provide adequate notice of your claim.

Rather than handling a claim against the city on your own, work with an experienced car accident lawyer at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling 305-371-2692.