When someone is hurt on public property because of an act of negligence, the government may be liable for the damages suffered.

Were You Injured on Public Property?

The Dolan Law Firm has handled dozens of these cases against the owners of dangerous and defective roadways/sidewalks and public places, including both private owners such as shopping centers as well as public owners and government entities such as Cal Trans, Sonoma County, Lake County, Marin County, San Francisco County, The city of Sacramento, The Golden Gate Bridge and Transit District, The city of Santa Barbara, etc. The public roadways are owned and maintained either by Cal Trans (the California Department of Transportation) or a county and/or local government. Some roads/sidewalks and/or public places are owned by one entity and maintained by another. These are very expensive, complex cases and should be handled only by lawyers with significant experience in this field such as the Dolan Law Firm. The Dolan Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its clients as a result of dangerous and defective roadways/ sidewalks and public places.

Holding Property Owners Liable For Dangerous Conditions

The owner of a roadway/sidewalk or property has a duty to remedy any defect that it knew or should have known about that creates a dangerous condition on public property. Notice can be actual, meaning someone informing the owner, or constructive, meaning that the condition has been there so long that the owner should have known, in the exercise of reasonable caution or through a reasonable inspection system, that the condition existed.

Creating Liability

A condition must be more than trivial to create liability for damages to arise. Whether something is trivial depends on all of the circumstances surrounding not only the actual defect or condition, but other related factors such as weather, usage of the roadway, lighting conditions, etc..

Holding the Government Liable For Poor Roadway Designs or Conditions

The government has immunity for defects in design of a roadway if the design has been approved by a government body unless it can be shown that the conditions and usage of the roadway have rendered the original design invalid. This immunity can also be overcome if you can show that the roadway design and/or condition presented a trap for the unwary motorist who believed, based on the signage, conditions, etc., that the roadway was safe, when it wasn’t.

The government has immunity against claims that it should have placed a traffic sign or signal (failure to sign claims) at a particular intersection or warning of a particular roadway feature. This means that it is not negligent for a mere failure to place a sign or signal at a particular place. This immunity may be overcome if it can be shown that the layout, usage and available information provided to the motorist created a trap for an unsuspecting driver using the roadway with due care.

Contact our Injury Lawyers Today

A person injured as a result of a dangerous condition of public property such as a defect in a public roadway must take immediate action. A person must file a claim within six months of the injury or risk losing the right to recover damages. For information on filing claims, click here.

To learn how we can help you, contact us online or call us at 415-636-8160. We serve San Francisco, San Mateo, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino and surrounding areas.

You should take photographs of the dangerous condition as soon as possible after the accident or collision as the conditions often change or are repaired, and the evidence may be lost. Be careful when photographing roadway conditions that you do not place yourself in traffic or harm’s way. Always have a lookout to help you and only work from a position of safety.