I have blogged many times about Central New York auto accidents. I have discussed recent Central New York car accidents and shown how one or more of the driver’s would most likely be found at fault. Today I want to discuss another type of car accident case: Specifically, I want to discuss New York defective road design cases, that is, cases where the accident is the road’s fault.
The road’s fault? Yes, sometimes car accidents are caused by the negligent design or plan of a road, street, or highway. Maybe it tends to accumulate too much water during rainy times. Maybe it was not properly marked with signs, or the speed limits were too high, or the shoulder or draining ditch was too deep, or there should have been guardrails, or the guardrails were not properly designed, or the trees or shrubbery were too close to the road, or . . . well, the possibilities are almost infinite.
If you are injured in an accident caused by a defective road design, can you sue anyone? Yes you can, but you have to prove more than just that the road could have been better. Roads in New York are designed, built and maintained by New York State, or its Counties, or other municipalities such as towns, in other words, some kind of government entity. Generally, New York State and its counties and towns have what is known as “qualified immunity” from liability for highway, road and street planning and design decisions. What does “qualified immunity” mean? Well, it means that just proving the roadway design was bad is not enough to win your case. You must also show that the road was built “without adequate study or lacked a reasonable basis”.