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When Does a City’s Duty to Maintain A Safe Roadway Arise?


A municipality’s duty to provide a reasonably safe roadway includes the duty to safeguard against inherently dangerous or misleading conditions. The duty arises when the city has notice of, and time to correct, a hazardous condition. The notice may either be actual or constructive. Constructive notice is inferred when the dangerous conditions have been present and is permitted to continue for a sufficient period of time.

Who Is Liable When Roadway Safety Is Not Maintained?

Municipalities are generally held to the same negligence standards as private parties. A municipality owes a duty to all travelers, whether they are themselves negligent or fault-free, to maintain its roadways in a condition that is reasonably safe for ordinary travel. This duty includes the duty to eliminate any dangerous or misleading conditions.

Washington Law Center Wins Fight Against Municipality

These above-stated authoritative legal standards were recently stated by the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington, Division III, on January 13, 2021 in a case where Washington Law Center represents a seriously-injured minor who was an innocent passenger in a motor vehicle driven by a criminally-negligent driver. Read our recent Court of Appeals decision here.

Suing A Municipality for Negligent Design Or Maintenance of A Roadway

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, it is critical to your ability to recover financially that you sue the responsible municipality for the negligent design or maintenance of the roadway on which you were injured. You may even sue for the inherently dangerous conditions adjacent to the roadway if any of those contributed to the severity of your injury and the municipality had either actual or constructive notice of those conditions. 

How Washington Law Center Can Help You

At Washington Law Center, we are experts in the laws and court rulings pertaining to motor vehicle accidents. We stand ready to fight for you in court if the financially-responsible adjacent landowner attempts to disclaim liability for your serious personal injury. If you’ve been injured in any kind of motor vehicle accident, please call Washington Law Center for a free consultation today.


Spencer Parr

Labor & Industries / Personal Injury Attorney

Spencer Parr is a litigation and trial attorney at Washington Law Center focused primarily in the areas of Labor & Industries claims and injury pension benefits. Before co-founding Washington Law Center, Spencer served in the U.S. Army. He has litigated major issues in the law, represented clients from coast to coast, and dedicated his professional life to assisting the injured and disabled. Click here to learn more about Spencer. View More Labor & Industries and Work Injury Resources.


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