Most personal injury automobile accidents that occur on New Orleans’ streets are the fault of another driver and are not the responsibility of any government agency that maintains the roads. While the laws of Louisiana require the Department of Transportation and Development to keep roads and shoulders in a reasonably safe condition, they are not responsible for guaranteeing the safety of everyone who uses a public roadway.
Occasionally, however, personal injury accidents are caused by a road that has been constructed or maintained in a way that was not reasonably safe for motorists. When this occurs, the injured party may be able to pursue damages from the party responsible for building or maintaining the road. Louisiana Revised Statute 48 § 35 requires the Department of Transportation and Development to adopt minimum safety standards with respect to highway and bridge design, construction and maintenance. The safety standards are modeled upon those approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. If the department complies with these safety standards, they usually will be found free from fault if a person sues because of improper signage or road markings.
Included in the general duty to construct and maintain roads in a reasonably safe manner is the duty to provide signs and markings to alert drivers about dangerous or unexpected conditions. This duty extends to road construction sites, and the courts of Louisiana have found that the Department of Transportation and Development is responsible for providing barriers, signs and markings sufficient to warn an ordinary motorist of dangerous road conditions.
If you have been injured in a car accident and need additional information, we would like to hear from you. Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.