The attorneys at Harrison White, P.C. are wishing all motorists and travelers on the Labor Day Weekend safe travels. In particular, the busy interstate corridor along I-85 is likely to see heavy traffic this weekend. The I-85 corridor in Cherokee County constructed “chutes” for the improvement of I-85. Those “chutes” have been the subject of controversy over the last several months in that some motorists have been injured and killed as a result of being on I-85 in the “chutes:” 3 dead in I-85 “death trap” crash in Cherokee Co. (wspa.com) ; SCDOT changing I-85 construction plans to eliminate ‘chute’ (msn.com).
The allegations with regard to these “chutes” include the lack of shoulder space and lack of emergency exit lanes in the event of a collision. The question then becomes can the SCDOT be sued for the presence or absence of the “chutes” on I-85. Section 15-78-60 subsection 15 of the S.C. Tort Claims Act provides an exception to the wavier of immunity for the SCDOT. The section provides in relevant part:
- Absence, condition, or malfunction of any sign, signal, warning device, illumination device, guardrail, or median barrier unless the absence, condition, or malfunction is not corrected by the governmental entity responsible for its maintenance within a reasonable time after actual or constructive notice. Governmental entities are not liable for the removal or destruction of signs, signals, warning devices, guardrails, or median barriers by third parties except on failure of the political subdivision to correct them within a reasonable time after actual or constructive notice.
The question in a case regarding the I-85 “chutes” would be whether or not the SCDOT had actual and constructive notice as mentioned in the above cited statute. Certainly, based on the number of injuries and deaths that have occurred on I-85, an argument could be made that the SCDOT does have actual and constructive notice. It should also be noted that private companies involved in the construction of I-85 would not be protected by the SC Tort Claims Act and would not be protected by the above cited section.
If you or a family member have been injured as a result of a highway defect or as a result of the I-85 “chutes,” please contact Harrison White, P.C. and we will be happy to try and assist you with any case.
Blog post by attorney Tom Killoren. Click here to read more about Tom.
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