Road Requirements for Municipalities
Keeping our Roads Safe: Requirements for Municipalities – we have previously discussed liability in road accidents from the viewpoint of the insurance companies, but what if the accident was caused by poorly maintained, dangerous roads? In such cases, the municipality may be held liable for the accident, and you may have a claim for remuneration for the damage caused by the accident.
It is, of course, understood that a municipality has some responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of roads and highways – our tax dollars guarantee it. But this responsibility was codified in the Municipality Act of 2001, which states in Section 44:
(1) The municipality that has jurisdiction over a highway or bridge shall keep it in a state of repair that is reasonable in the circumstances, including the character and location of the highway or bridge.
(2)A municipality that defaults in complying with subsection (1) is, subject to the Negligence Act, liable for all damages any person sustains because of the default.
(3)Despite subsection (2), a municipality is not liable for failing to keep a highway or bridge in a reasonable state of repair if,
(a) It did not know and could not reasonably have been expected to have known about the state of repair of the highway or bridge;
(b) It took reasonable steps to prevent the default from arising; or
(c) At the time the cause of action arose, minimum standards established under subsection (4) applied to the highway or bridge and to the alleged default and those standards have been met.
In cases where the municipality has been taken to court over an accident, the defense will generally use section (3), attempting to argue that the municipality did all that could be reasonably expected of them, and the accident was therefore the fault of the driver or a mere unfortunate event.
If you believe that poorly constructed or maintained roads contributed to an accident you were involved in, contact Mackesy Smye today for a free consultation.