Court Finds Transportation Department Not Liable for Misplaced Construction Barrel

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a negligence case involving the alleged misplacement of a construction barrel by the state’s department of transportation. The case contains a discussion about the duties of a government to keep public roads safe, which is important for Maryland car accident victims who have been injured due to the poor condition of a public road.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was driving along an Idaho highway towing a trailer. The plaintiff entered a construction zone, and there were orange barrels lined up along both sides of the only lane of travel that was open to motorists. As the plaintiff continued down the highway, she noticed a barrel was placed directly in the lane of travel. Unable to avoid the barrel, the plaintiff struck the barrel with the awning of her trailer.

Thankfully, the plaintiff was not injured and only sustained somewhat minor property damage to her trailer. However, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the state’s department of transportation, claiming that it was negligent in the placement of the barrel and should be responsible for the repair costs to the trailer.

While this case did not involve a physical injury of any kind, it is important to note that the standard the court applied would have been identical had the case involved an actual injury. This is because the focus of the court’s inquiry is whether the department of transportation was negligent – regardless of whether an injury resulted or the severity of the injuries.

That being the case, the court began its analysis by noting that, in order to succeed in this type of claim, the plaintiff must establish that the department had knowledge of the misplaced barrel. If not, the court explained that the department could not be held liable.

The plaintiff argued that the fact that the barrel was misplaced was, in and of itself, enough to establish that the department was aware of the misplaced barrel and therefore negligent. However, the department argued, and the court agreed, that the plaintiff provided no actual evidence that the department was aware of the barrel’s placement. The court focused on the total lack of evidence indicating from where the barrel came and how long it had been there. Thus, the court concluded that the plaintiff could not meet the necessary elements of her claim.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated team of Maryland car accident attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers has extensive experience assisting accident victims and their families with seeking the compensation they deserve from the responsible parties. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Court Determines Jury Was Permitted to Find Witness Testimony Speculative When Failing to Award Plaintiff Future Medical Expenses, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 3, 2018.

Appellate Court Reinstates Plaintiff’s Case After Finding Lower Court’s Evidentiary Ruling Was Improper, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 16, 2018.

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