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Highway Defects

Highway Defects:

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (as do local municipalities) has a general duty to maintain the public highways/roadways in a reasonably safe condition.  This duty includes the duty to study, administer , construct, improve, maintain, repair and regulate the use of the public roadways. This duty is required to protect those persons exercising reasonable care as well as persons who are momentarily inattentive. While the State is not the guarantor of the safety of all motorists, it must keep the roadways in a reasonably safe condition.  Also included in this duty is the duty to warn of dangerous conditions, warn of constructions zones and the necessity of providing appropriate safeguards.

The State’s duty to properly maintain the highways and roadways also applies to the shoulders.  In this regard, the duty encompasses the foreseeable risk that for any number of reasons, including simple inadvertence,  a motorist may find himself/herself on, or partially on, the shoulder.  One of the primary issues involving roadway shoulders is the height discrepancy between the roadway and the shoulder.  The primary safety purpose of the paved shoulder of a roadway is to provide an area for motorist who require a momentary stop, an area to seek refuge and to protect in the event a motorist inadvertently leaves the roadway.  Optimally, the transition from the roadway to the shoulder should be able to be accomplished safely with very little difference in the heights of either the roadway or the shoulder.

The State’s duty also requires that adequate warnings be provided relative to constructions zones.  This duty requires that barricades be erected, signs be installed and adequate warnings be provided to alert motorist of the construction hazards, obstructions and dangerous conditions.  The duty to warn requires that the warnings be sufficient to alert of probable traffic, reduced speed zones,  the characteristics of the road conditions and other construction hazards.  Any person or firm contracting with the highway department to perform the construction, likewise, owes a similar duty to the motoring public.

Nearly 75 years ago my father, J. Minos Simon, began the family tradition of providing exemplary legal services to the citizens throughout the local communities and the state of Louisiana.  A tradition that I proudly embraced and have tried to fulfill for nearly 30 years.  Simon Law Offices, Cajun Strong, and rebuilding lives throughout Louisiana one client at a time.