In 2005, a dump truck’s breaks failed while it was going down a very steep portion of a highway in Connecticut. The truck hit several cars according to the Connecticut Law Tribune in an August 18, 2014 article. Thirty people were affected by the accident, and half of them were hospitalized and four were killed. One spouse of a deceased victim and one badly injured victim brought forth lawsuits against the state. Both cases reached the state’s Supreme Court.

The two lawsuits against the state claimed that this road was a defective road. They said that the state should have put some sort of brake check at the top of the hill and an emergency pull-off at the bottom so that if a vehicle’s brakes were failing, it would not cause an accident. The lawyers both argued that the design of these roadways were faulty and defective because they were designed in a dangerous way that made it “unsafe.” Additionally, one lawyer noted that the Connecticut Department of Transportation had been told that this design was dangerous before, and there had even been many accidents there before. Usually, when a state has been notified of a defective condition, it is required to fix it.

The court voted 5-1 to dismiss these two cases, thus creating a future precedent. The state has an obligation to fix road defects as written in the law. The justices did not consider this road to be defective. The judges interpreted the law in a way where only something visible, such as a pothole or sheet of ice, would count as defective and not the design of a road. The dissenting justice opined that this was a very “narrow” interpretation of the law. The other justices noted that if they ruled that the design was defective then the courts would be flooded with various lawsuits of unsafe roads. Ultimately, these justices did not think that in this case, the fact that this road was poorly designed and unsafe made it “defective.” Therefore, the injured will not be able to seek any settlements with the state.

Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, New York attorney with over 31 years of experience. He has recovered millions for clients over the years in motor vehicle accident and other personal injury cases. If you have been hurt in an accident, then you should contact a lawyer as you may be entitled to monetary compensation for medical bills; lost wages; past, present, and future pain and suffering. Mr. Lutzky offers free in office consultations. If you have been seriously injured, then hospital or home consultations are also available. Call 718-514-6619 to set up an appointment or visit to learn more.