Lawsuits Arising Out of Reconstruction

by David C. Oliver, Attorney Advisor; Motor Carrier and Highway Safety Law Div., Office of the Chf. Counsel, Federal Highway Administration, Room 4224, Nassif Building, 400 7th St., SW., Washington, D.C.,

Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 4, Pg. 392-407

Document Type: Journal Paper


Liability judgements resulting out of negligence in the performance of highway design, construction or maintenance activities have continued to increase in the past decade, notwithstanding improved inspection and signing practices. This can be attributed to increased familiarity with the literature on the subject and with codes and guidelines addressing all aspects of highway work. The increase in judgements evidences impatience with those administrators or contractors who ignore the guidelines or who appear to have made a conscious decision to gamble with the public's safety. Application of the case law which has been developed can result in a decrease in future judgements and a safer system. It is time for contractors and administrators to recognize that the protections relied upon in the past to cover culpability are no longer present. The Federal Government is in an obvious period of retrenchment, State legislators are responding to public pressures to make Government accountable and the courts refuse to accept the English notion of the sovereign.

Subject Headings: Highway and road design | Litigation | Construction management | Infrastructure construction | Contractors and subcontractors | Safety | Federal government | Liability

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