Sometimes, pedestrians and drivers of cars, motorcycles or bicycles are injured because the public road or highway they were traveling on was defective in its design or it was improperly maintained. When this happens, it may be a “dangerous condition of public property” either caused by a City, County, Town, the State of California, or employees or contractors hired by any of these entities.
Examples of a dangerous condition include:
- A complicated, confusing intersection, with few or no stop signs, lights or other controls where a collision occurs;
- A pothole, bump, trench or other uneven condition in the road or on a sidewalk;
- A raised sidewalk caused by tree roots;
- Construction hazards present without adequate warnings for bicyclists or pedestrians, such as uneven pavement, a grooved roadway or an open or partially concealed trench.
In California, the public entity which owns, possesses or controls the roadway is liable for the dangerous condition if it can be established that the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, that the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition, that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred, and either:
(a) [a] negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the scope of his employment created the dangerous condition; or
(b) [t]he public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition.
If you have been injured due to a dangerous condition of public property, you have a limited time to pursue legal action. For more information on suing public entities, see Articles and Resources.