U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
|This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-128
Date: July 2006
Lesson 22: Tort Liability and Risk Management
- Trends in tort liability.
- Basic definitions.
- Common problems/issues.
- Risk management strategies.
Trends in Tort Liability
- State DOTs:
– 80 lawsuits per year.
– 7% settled against.
– $60,000 average settlement.
– Defense costs $68,000 per case.
- City/County Agencies
– 3 lawsuits per year.
– 50% settled against.
– $230,000 average settlement.
– Defense costs $72,000 per case.
- Ordinary care.
Common Problems in Tort Claims
- Drainage grates.
- Path discontinuity.
- Inadequate curve radii.
- Surface problems.
- Lack of consideration for bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Bridges and underpasses.
- Poor sight distance.
- Poor maintenance.
- Use proactive strategy:
|–||Document existing conditions.|
|–||Review conditions in context of ordinary care guidelines and standards.|
|–||Set priorities for action.|
- Tort liability is an issue (as it is in all road design aspects).
- The risk associated with providing pedestrian and bicycle facilities can be managed.
- A plan of prudent design, operations, and maintenance will help to manage the risk.
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