City, county and state governments have a duty to design and maintain the roads and bridges in their jurisdictions to be safe for the motoring public. Most of the time, they do a good job. But frequently, older roads, bridges and intersections are neglected and create dangers to unsuspecting drivers. Many times, the government will ignore pleas from local citizens and law enforcement to fix a problem. In those cases, rightfully, the government can and should be held responsible for accidents which occur as a result of their negligent design, construction or maintenance of their roads and bridges. A tragic example is the case of State Highway 20 in Cherokee County.
In 2006, GDOT maintenance workers placed “strip seal” patches on the road, which is simply a layer of tar and crushed stone. In short order, the stones were worn away, leaving a 3’ wide strip of tar in the wheel path, which, when wet, is very slick. Despite multiple wet-weather accidents and letters from the Sheriff’s office begging for help, GDOT took no action, other than to respond, “Thank you for your support….” On April 10, 2009, Jamie Leighanne Webb was driving with her six-month old son and lost control of her vehicle. They were hit head-on by an oncoming 18-wheeler. Notwithstanding GDOT’s arguments of contributory negligence, the case was settled for $1,000,000 without filing suit.
Defective road cases require a working knowledge of road design and construction. While a partner at Kilpatrick Stockton, Randy Edwards represented one of largest paving contractors in Georgia in multiple lawsuits against GDOT over alleged defective construction. He has worked with experts from San Francisco to Douglas and Douglasville, Georgia. He continues to use his knowledge learned from those experiences to help victims of crashes caused by dangerous roads in cases against the government. If you think an accident might have been caused by a dangerous road, bridge or intersection, call Randy Edwards at (770) 435-2131, and he and his engineer consultants will investigate the case at no cost to you. However, you must act fast to protect your rights, because there are specific notice requirements that must be complied with before you can sue the government. These time limits can be as short as six months from the date of the accident. If you miss the deadline, you lose your right to file suit to recover damages.
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