Insight

Government Liability for Crumbling Infrastructure

Across the country, infrastructure is failing

Government Liability for Infrastructure
JG

Joshua W. Glotzer

March 19, 2018 09:29 AM

Across the country, infrastructure is failing. Many roads, bridges, and tunnels are dangerously in need of repair and putting drivers at risk every day. California has arguably some of the worst roads in the country. Nearly 30 percent of the state’s roads are considered to be in “poor condition,” yet only 3.2 percent of spending is allocated to highways. Hazardous road conditions, left unfixed by the government, can increase the likelihood of serious injury-causing car accidents. Victims of these accidents may be entitled to recover damages from a negligent government agency.

The government is generally shielded from liability in civil lawsuits. However, this immunity does not protect the government if an injury or death occurs as a result of that government’s own negligence. The California Tort Claims Act gives injured victims the right to recover damages from the government if it can be proven that their injury was the result of dangerous road conditions that were ignored or not fixed promptly by the government.

Dangerous road conditions involve a lot more than just potholes. Courts in California have broadly defined dangerous road condition to mean any poor design, inadequate maintenance, or failure to fix a hazardous condition. So, for example, dangerous road conditions can include defectively designed roads, missing light posts, and damaged traffic signals, or significant breaks in the infrastructure itself.

The government isn’t necessarily responsible for any accident that is the result of any dangerous road condition. Rather, the government can be liable for injuries caused by a dangerous road condition when it knew (or should have known) about the condition but failed to take reasonable steps to fix it. If a certain stretch of road in Los Angeles County is well-known for having dangerous conditions and causing accidents, and the government responsible for the maintenance of that road stood by and did nothing, the agency could be held financially responsible. Once the government learns about a dangerous road condition it has a reasonable period of time (enough to figure out a solution and prevent other injuries) to take action.

Filing a personal injury claim against the government can be complex. In fact, the process of seeking damages from the government is quite different from the process of seeking compensation from other at-fault parties. Victims who believe that the government is responsible for their injury must file a special administrative claim with the government within six months of their accident. This claim is submitted to the government agency itself for internal review. The agency has 45 days to respond to the claim. Only when the claim is denied by the government can the victim assume the more traditional personal injury claims process and file a civil claim in court.

Since the timeline for initiating legal action is accelerated in government cases, it can be difficult for victims to get the compensation they deserve. For this reason, it is essential for victims to connect with legal representation as early on in the process as possible. Personal injury lawsuits not only allow victims to recover much-needed money but also help to ensure that the government is held responsible if it fails to maintain our roadways. Since fixing roads and bridges doesn’t seem to be a priority, personal injury lawsuits may be the best tool available for victims.

------------------

Joshua Glotzer is an attorney and the founder of Joshua W. Glotzer, APC. Glotzer is a lifelong resident of Los Angeles and has over 20 years experience helping people who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence.

Related Articles

IN PARTNERSHIP

Results That Make a Difference


by John Fields

Thomas Moore and Judith Livingston continue to secure some of the largest verdicts in New York state for their injured clients.

Male and female lawyer in blue suits

IN PARTNERSHIP

Consequential Cases, Life-Changing Results


by John Fields

Best Lawyers honoree David Perecman on his firm’s commitment to helping the seriously injured.

Headshot of man in light blue suit standing outside

IN PARTNERSHIP

2022: Another Banner Year


by John Fields

Block O’Toole & Murphy continues to secure some of New York’s highest results for personal injury matters.

Three men in business suits standing in office

Fighting for Florida


by Justin Smulison

Three-time “Lawyer Of The Year”* Steve Yerrid reflects on how South Florida was the setting for some of his most memorable trials.

Headshot of man with dark suit and red tie outside in front of fountain

A Roadmap for Safety in D.C.


by Justin Smulison

Three-time “Lawyer of The Year” Patrick Regan explains how we can protect cyclists from injury and the city from more litigation.

Several lawyers sitting and standing in a group in office

Unwavering Dedication to Clients


by Best Lawyers

Trial attorneys Michael Lyons and Chris Simmons find motivation when the result means everything.

Trial Attorneys at Lyons & Simmons

Dan Sciano Renaissance Lawyer


by Justin Smulison

Tinsman & Sciano recently celebrated 50 years as greater San Antonio’s leading trial law firm for civil litigation and personal injury. Daniel J.T. Sciano obtained judgments for his clients in both Federal and State courthouses in 2021. A trial lawyer with many talents and diverse knowledge of the law.

Tinsman & Sciano Celebrates 50

Texas' Best Lawyers 2022


by Best Lawyers

Our Texas' Best Lawyers 2022 publication features top-ranked legal talent in Texas.

Texas' Best Lawyers 2022

Aim High and Fly


by Khalil Abdullah

From a silent victim of hometown segregation to Air Force captain and lawyer of consummate skill, Karen Evans exemplifies leadership—and vows always to help those who seek to follow her path.

Karen Evans' Leadership in the Airforce

Kelley|Uustal: A Firm Like No Other


by Kelley|Uustal

Florida firm Kelley|Uustal navigates the importance of client representation and the hard-fought personal injury battles that the firm has taken on over the years.

Catastrophic Injury and Wrongful Death Firm

New England's Best Lawyers 2022


by Best Lawyers

Our New England's Best Lawyers 2022 publication features top-ranked legal talent in New England.

New England's Best Lawyers 2022

Mind Matters: The Importance of Diagnosing TBIs in PI Cases


by Bobby Saadian

Many lawyers fail to identify and diagnose traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in personal injury disputes. But it can be critical to your case—and render any potential settlement or award far more advantageous for your client.

Representing Traumatic Brain Injury Clients

Crash Course


by Paige Cerulli

A bad car accident left me reeling, but my worst symptoms wouldn’t appear until two weeks after. If it weren’t for excellent legal representation, there’s no way I’d have made it through—or with anything close to the settlement I got.

Overlooked by EMTs After Car Crash

What Will a Car Accident Lawyer Actually Do for You?


by Jacob Oresky

A car accident lawyer provides many services while working on your injury case. Learn about the process for injury claims and the lawyer’s role in the process.

Car Accident Lawyer Services

How Being a Client Almost Made Me Quit Law School


by Paula Birch Billingsley

Suddenly becoming a personal injury client gave one law school student a new appreciation for clients’ needs and concerns. Here are some considerations even experienced lawyers ought to keep in mind.

Personal Injury Client Almost Quit Law School

Wax On, Wax Off


by Aria Gmitter

An unfortunate episode with a rogue body waxer left me itching like mad, in pain and wondering what sort of recourse I might have. A journey through the hairy underbelly of a sometimes dicey industry.

Legal Action After Waxing Salon Burns

Trending Articles

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag

Could Reign Supreme End with the Queen?


by Sara Collin

Canada is revisiting the notion of abolishing the monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, but many Canadians and lawmakers are questioning if Canada could, should and would follow through.

Teacup on saucer over image of Queen's eye

IN PARTNERSHIP

2022: Another Banner Year


by John Fields

Block O’Toole & Murphy continues to secure some of New York’s highest results for personal injury matters.

Three men in business suits standing in office

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Thirteen Years of Excellence


by Best Lawyers

For the 13th consecutive year, “Best Law Firms” has awarded the most elite and talented law firms across the country through a thorough and trusted data review process.

Red, white and blue pipes and writing on black background

The Upcycle Conundrum


by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests


by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes