When is government liable for car accident injuries?

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car accident lawyers concerned about highway 3 safety

As we discussed recently, and as most car accident lawyers in Ontario are aware, 2017 was a deadly year on the province’s roads. Statistics released by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) indicated significant increases in fatal traffic collisions, particularly those involving transport trucks and motorcycles.

In a statement, the OPP blamed dangerous driver behaviours for the spike in serious accidents, noting that fatal crashes involving distracted driving, speeding, and not wearing a seatbelt had all increased year-over-year. Human error undoubtedly contributes to many accidents, but as car accident lawyers understand, other factors, like poor road design, can come into play. In some instances where poor road design contributes to an injury, the Province of Ontario may be held liable.

Highway 3

Highway 3 in Essex County, Ontario, connects some of Canada’s southernmost municipalities, including Windsor and Leamington. Between 1993 and 2015, a five-kilometre, two-lane stretch of the road has been the site of 11 fatal car accidents, according to the CBC. Local community members, including NDP MPP Taras Natyshak, have been lobbying the province to widen the deadly stretch for years.

“If [the Liberals] really wanted to do it, they would have done it six years ago, eight years ago, 20 years ago,” Natyshak told the CBC. “There’s no project more shovel-ready in the province of Ontario than the expansion and third phase of Highway 3.”

An environmental study of the project was completed in 2006, and design work is well underway, but the project remains in queue for the Southern Highways Program for Planning for the Future, meaning construction won’t begin for at least five years.

In an effort to exert pressure on the province, some survivors of Highway 3 accidents are considering legal action.  The risks associated with the stretch of the road are irrefutable, and victims believe the province’s unwillingness to make safety improvements makes it liable for their injuries. If the roadway had been widened, they say, the accidents could have been avoided or, at the very less, might have been less severe.

In an email to the CBC, Transportation Minister Kathryn McGarry promised that the Liberal government remains “committed to widening the remaining two-lane section of Highway 3 between Leamington and Windsor.” Community members are unlikely to be encouraged by the vow, considering the province’s history of inaction on the issue.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an automotive accident in Ontario, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation. Our team of experienced car accident lawyers can help you access compensation for your injuries.


Image credit: Ken Lund/Flickr

Greg Neinstein
car accident , car accident lawyers , government liability , motor vehicle accident , Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers , personal injury lawyer