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New Court of Appeals case, Laguna v. State, Duty to prevent ice from forming on the roadway

Andrew Kim
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Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Wrongful Death and Catastrofic Injuries Attorney

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11/30/2008
Andrew Kim
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The Washington Court of Appeals, recently decided a case involving an injury car accident and a claim against the State for negligently failing to prevent ice from forming on the roadway before the accident happened.  See Laguna v. State at 146 Wn.App. 260 (2008).

The Court held that the State did not have a duty to prevent ice from forming on the roadway at the time and place where the accident occurred.

Generally, the State has a duty to maintain its roads so that they are reasonably safe for ordinary travel.  However, the State must have (a) notice of a dangerous condition which it did not create, and (b) a reasonable opportunity to correct it before liability arises for negligence from neglect of duty to keep the streets safe.

The Court went on to say that "there is a difference between liability based on knowledge that a dangerous condition actually exists and knowledge that a dangerous condition might, or even probably will, develop.  No Washington case has held that the State has a duty to act when weather conditions exist that are likely, or even certain, to produce icy roads."

The lesson from this case is that unless you have evidence that the State had prior notice of icy roads, for example, the WSP reports other car accidents in the same area, and the State does not take action to de-ice the roadway within a reasonable period of time, then you will not be able to go forward with a case against the State.



Category: Car Accidents


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