Some traffic accidents aren’t the result of another driver’s negligence. Instead, they may be the result of a poorly designed roadway. In this instance, the injury victims can bring a lawsuit against the government entity responsible for designing and maintaining the roadway under the North Carolina Tort Claims Act. The procedures and rules that govern cases against municipalities are much different than traditional negligence cases, however, which makes it extremely important to consult with an experienced attorney about your claim.
Recently, a North Carolina appellate court considered an appeal in a case involving an allegation that a government entity in North Carolina did not properly design and/or maintain a roadway. The plaintiff filed a claim for damages pursuant to the Tort Claims Act against the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) seeking damages in excess of $1 million. He asserted that the DOT employees were negligent in designing, maintaining, and providing appropriate warning measures for a curve in a roadway next to a pond.
The plaintiff alleged that he was delivering firewood at the end of a rural, dead-end road that featured an “S” curve around a pond and that some of his relatives were following in an SUV behind him. There were no warnings about the curve or speed reduction signs. The driver of the SUV was unfamiliar with the roadway. Plaintiff heard tires screeching and looked in his rear-view mirror to see the SUV tumble into the pond where it landed upside down. Two occupants of the SUV passed away and the third suffered permanent, severe brain damage.