Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving allegations against a local government responsible for maintaining a section of road where the plaintiff was involved in an accident. The case explores an interesting issue for Maryland car accident victims who are considering filing a case against a local or state government agency. Specifically, the case involves the issue of whether the government entity had notice of the hazard alleged to have caused the plaintiff’s accident and subsequent injuries.
The plaintiff was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle after he lost control of his car after running over a section of broken pavement surrounding a manhole cover. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city that was in charge of maintaining that specific portion of roadway. The plaintiff did not claim that the city was negligent in constructing or repairing the damaged road; the plaintiff’s only claim was that the city was negligent in failing to fix the hazard.
One of the required elements of this type of claim is that the plaintiff must establish that the defendant had notice of the hazard. Otherwise, courts will not find that the defendant had a duty to repair the damaged road. In support of his case, the plaintiff presented photographs of the damaged road that were taken two weeks after the accident. The plaintiff argued that this showed that the government would have had knowledge of the damage.