Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania Addresses Liability for Dangerous Road Conditions

In its recent decision in the case of Angell v. Dereno, Case No. 458 C.D. 2015 (Pa. Cmwlth. March 10, 2016 Leavitt, J.), the Commonwealth Court ruled that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of municipalities for failure to correct a dangerous road condition. 

According to the Opinion, this matter involves a motor vehicle accident between a motorcycle and a truck.    The accident occurred at an intersection that was located at the top of a hill which was set up in such a way that the vehicles were unable to see oncoming traffic until reaching the crest of a hill.

The Commonwealth court found issues of fact required that the case be allowed to proceed to a jury.  The court also rejected the municipalities’ argument that they could not be held liable in light of the Defendant driver’s failure to stay within his lane.   Such an argument could only prevail where the road was reasonable safe for its intended use and there was expert opinion testimony in this matter asserting otherwise.

The appellate court also ruled that the trial court erred in finding that the Plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence that the municipalities had actual or constructive notice of the roadway’s condition.  

A copy of this decision can be viewed online HERE.
Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.”  Pennsylvania Law Weekly (March 20, 2016)


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