A recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision has left future litigants claiming government liability for shoulder drop offs in that state without guidance. The case stemmed from an accident in which a car ran off the highway, traveled 300 feet on the shoulder and struck a guardrail shielding a bridge abutment. The lower courts had ruled the state highway department liabile on the grounds that a two-to-three inch drop off from the paved portion of the road to the shoulder creates an unreasonably dangerous condition. The state did not contest this contention, but pointed to evidence that the plaintiff had been drinking to argue that alcohol was the true cause of the accident. The Louisiana Supreme Court had in the past generally supported the theory that drop offs can be a contribution cause of accidents. However, it reversed itself in this case without giving an explanation for its ruling as it had in three similar cases. The Court's failure to explain its reasonsing may result in it having little weight in future cases.

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    TranSafety Incorporated

    2020 K Street, NW, Suite 350
    Washington, DC  United States  20006

    TranSafety Incorported

    9520 Lee Highway
    Fairfax, VA  United States  22031
  • Publication Date: 1985-3

Media Info

  • Serial:
    • Volume: 3
    • Issue Number: 3
    • Publisher: TranSafety, Incorporated
    • ISSN: 0884-612X

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00395706
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 31 1985 12:00AM