The Plunge

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Q: In the midst of a resurfacing and safety-improving project, my driver fell asleep at the wheel.  Pursuant to the project specifications, the existing guiderail had already been removed.  Unfortunately, it had not yet been replaced by a new system.  Our car veered off the thruway, careened down an embankment and crashed at the bottom, in a V-shaped ditch.

A: The theory of your case is negligent failure to complete the new guiderailing – called for by the general contract and the guiderail-installation subcontract.  You will want expert opinion evidence that, had the guiderailing been completed in accordance with the contracts, your car would not have plunged down the embankment and crashed at the bottom.

This negligence takes different forms, one for each defendant.  The thruway authority breached its common-law tort duty to oversee the installation of new guiderailing.  The general contractor failed to discharge its obligations to assure that the construction complied with the project specifications and that the work was completed in a timely fashion.  The subcontractor’s incomplete performance increased the risk: its failure to install the additional length of guiderail made the highway less safe.  For his part, the project engineer engaged in negligent inspection and approval.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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