The roadway itself has to be designed to certain specifications and standards. The standards are updated and changed from year to year. Without an expert experienced in highway defect cases, it is almost impossible to know what standard applies. In Louisiana, the state is not required to update highways to modern construction standards. To successfully recover against a public entity for a street or highway defect you must be able to prove that: (1) the thing that caused your damages was in the custody of the entity at issue; (2) the roadway was defective or created an unreasonable risk of harm or injury; (3) the entity had actual or constructive notice and did not fix the problem within a reasonable length of time; and (4) the defective or unsafe condition was the legal cause of the victim's injuries.
There is no legal requirement that the roadways be in perfect condition and not every imperfection or irregularity will give rise to a highway defect claim. Each case must be evaluated on its own merit. That is why retaining an experienced lawyer is extremely important.
Some states have enacted legislation to place a limit on the amount an injured party can recover against a political subdivision or governmental entity. In Louisiana Revised Statute 13:5101 et seq. sets the cap on general damages in Louisiana at $500,000.
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