City & Municipality Liability
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Ohio Roadway Design Attorney

Roadway Design Negligence a Leading Cause of Death

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  more than 35,000 deaths occur each year due to roadway accidents. Many accidents are a result of negligent roadway design. 

This makes roadway accidents a leading cause of death in the U.S.,  according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of those deaths, over a thousand occur in Ohio every year. 

The vast majority of fatalities and severe injuries on dangerous Ohio roads are preventable.

Most auto insurance policies are not capable of compensating someone injured or killed in a catastrophic accident.  Therefore, regardless of the primary cause of a roadway accident, in any roadway fatality case or catastrophic injury case, it is important to investigate secondary potential causes including the design of the road. 

Investigating Roadway Design Claims

The design and safety of the roadway should be assessed in any roadway fatality case. 

City authorities have a duty to clear roads of debris and snow and other materials. If an auto accident occurs due to city officials failing to create safe roads, a municipality can be held liable. Roads may also be unsafe due to poor road design and traffic signal placement. 

One safety study concluded that negligent highway design and conditions are a factor in more than half the fatal crashes in the United States.  Some common design flaws may include:

  • Sharp Turns
  • Poor Road Maintenance
  • Blind Spots
  • Poorly lit roadways
  • Poor Signage
  • Unsafe on and off ramps
  • Excessive speed limit
  • Narrow shoulder or no shoulder

Immunity in Roadway Design Lawsuits

The law on sovereign (governmental or subdivision) immunity is a complex area of law.  Each jurisdiction may have different applications and exceptions to any broad immunity. 

In Ohio, under R.C. 2744.02(B),  “Municipalities are liable for injury, deaths,or loss to person or property caused by their negligent failure to keep public roads in repair and other negligent failure to remove obstructions from public roads. “

The Lyon Firm can research this issue for your jurisdiction and make a determination quickly as far as whether there is an immunity defense that is surmountable. In most cases, there is an exception to immunity.  


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Joe Lyon has 17 years of experience representing plaintiffs in catastrophic injury and wrongful death involving complex issues of liability. 

The Firm handles cases on contingency fees advancing all costs of the case and accepts the financial risk of the litigation. 

The contingency fee structure allows the clients access to court while reducing the financial stress so they can focus on their healthcare needs and family. 

The Firm does not seek reimbursement for fees or costs in the event of a non-recovery. 


Ohio Roadway Accidents & Fatalities

Distracted Driving:

Times have changed in recent years with so many drivers looking at their phones. Texting and driving is a huge issue, and even as it’s illegal, the problem persists. The number one cause of car accidents involve distracted motorists that divert their attention from the road. Drivers may talking on a phone, sending a text message, adjusting the radio or eating food. Any distraction for a few seconds can be the difference between a safe trip and an accident.  Gathering all cell phone information is a part of every case and could reveal other liable parties.  Distracted drivers combined with a roadway design defect is a very dangerous situation for others on the road. 

Driver Error:

Whether a simple mind lapse that results in a driving mistake, or ignoring a traffic law, driver error is a leading cause of road accidents. Common driver errors are failing to signal a turn, drifting into a different lane, cutting off drivers, ignoring road signs, following too close, speeding, and failing to stop at signals.

During the investigation, its important to find out why they driver made the mistake.  Drivor error is almost always explained by another course of conduct including potentially,  poor roadway design. 

Drunk Driving Accidents:

Drivers under the influence of alcohol cause many car accidents every day. Almost a third (30 percent) of fatal car accidents in the U.S. are alcohol-related. Also, drug-related accidents are common. Even as states crack down on drunk driving, the number of drivers who drink and drive still present a problem. Victims of drunk driving accidents should also investigate any bars where the driver was served for potential Dram Shop Claims as well as possible roadway design that may have made avoiding the drunk driver possible. 

Teen Driving Accidents:

Young drivers and teenagers lack road experience and pose a serious risk. Teen drivers cause many car accidents, and drivers aged 16-20 kill nearly 8,000 people each year. Driver training and support is integral to creating a safer atmosphere on Ohio roads. The investigation should look into roadyway design as teens with less experience may be more at risk from the poor design. 

Driver Fatigue Accidents:

It’s not only truck drivers that drive while extremely tired. There are a lot of drivers on the road that have sleep disorders, or have a changing work schedule that inhibits their driving ability. Many drivers on the road in Ohio are often too tired to properly operate their vehicle. They make poor driving decisions and create dangerous situations.  However, the investigation should also look into poor roadway design that may have contributed to the accident. 

Unsafe Road Work:

Work zones are very dangerous for both workers and drivers. Many work zones are poorly marked, poorly manned, and uneven pavement can easily cause an accident. Many road construction contractors fail to provide a safe driving environment, and any road work accident can be investigated following a collision.

Failure to Yield:

Many roads are only as safe the drivers and traffic flow. When drivers fail to yield to cars or trucks, a collision can occur, leading to serious injury. All drivers must pay attention to all signage and yield to traffic, particularly on highway ramps. Failure to yield cases could reveal poor signage and roadway design case. 

Uber Accidents:

Rideshare companies have produced a great deal of drivers who may be in a hurry to pick up fares, and can be overworked as well. Uber accidents and Lyft accidents are more and more common. Victims of rideshare and taxi accidents may have good accident claims against negligent drivers.  However, the liability for monitoring drivers is still unknown due to the new working arrangment and there may be limited insurance coverage.  There may also be a claim for poor roadway design.  

Pedestrian Accidents:

With more distracted drivers come more pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians have a right to cross the street, and yet this has become a hazardous exercise. Crosswalk accidents and School Zone accidents can be severely dangerous and deadly.  These cases could also involve a faulty roadway design on the proper signage. 

Cycling Accidents:

Ohio Cyclists have a right to share all roads except for freeways, but many drivers do not respect bicycles on the road. Cycling accidents should be investigated, as many motorists are guilty of aggressive driving around bicycles.  However, there may be vision restrictions or lack of signage that could give way to roadway design issues. 


Questions about Roadway Design Cases

What compensation is available in a roadway fatality case?

Roadway Fatality Lawsuits Provide Compensation to Surviving Family Members: 

Survivors of deceased motorists and passengers in Ohio may be able to file a claim against the city, municipality any private company responsible for the dangerous roadway. 

Compensation includes incurred medical expenses, pain and suffering, and  wrongful death damages related to the loss of their loved one.

Why Hire the Lyon Firm ?

Our Firm will help you find the answers.  The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

Experience: Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Personal Injury & Auto Accident Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters. Accident lawsuits can be complex and require auto industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury. Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, life care planning, economics, and virtually every discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.

Results:  Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury,  automotive product liability,and auto dealership negligence cases.  The cases have involved successfully litigating against some of  the largest companies in the world

What are Ohio’s most dangerous roads?
  • I-90
  • I-480
  • I-80 turnpike
  • I-77
  • I-71
  • I-271 in Cleveland
  • I-76
  • I-277 in Akron
  • State Route 8
  • State Route 2
  • State Route 5
  • State Route 11
  • I-670 eastbound in Columbus, OH
  • I-71 and I-471 merge, in Cincinnati, OH
  • I-75 and I-475 merge, in Toledo, OH
  • Route 126 eastbound at I-71, Montgomery, OH
  • I-71 northbound—Pfeiffer Road
  • I-75 northbound at Hwy 475
Who is liable for dangerous roadways?

There may be several causes of a road accident, and following an incident, an investigation may uncover surprising factors that may have led to a crash and a subsequent injury. An experienced personal injury and traffic accident attorney can work with Accident Investigators and assist you in putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.

A collision can be a very traumatic event, and all the facts must be properly aligned to build the strongest case possible. Road accidents may be caused the negligence of another motorist, or the negligence of those maintaining the roads themselves.

In recent years, The Lyon Firm has represent plaintiffs in several Ohio auto accident cases and obtained large settlements on behalf of families who suffered the loss of life and permanent injuries. For more information regarding dangerous Ohio roads and related accidents, contact an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer.

The Lyon Firm is dedicated to improving consumer safety and Ohio road safety. When accidents occur as a result of unsafe or poorly designed roads, a lawsuit may be filed on behalf of injured plaintiffs.

Municipalities and other road construction firms may be responsible for maintaining and constructing safe roads, and when accidents occur due to poor design or safety product defects, they may be held liable for injuries that result.

Recent years have seen more auto accident and road fatalities than ever before in Ohio and across the nation. The annual surge in road deaths contradicts all the new safety features on cars and trucks like electronic stability control, rearview cameras, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and blind-spot monitoring.

It seems the safety systems can only prevent so much reckless driving, and perhaps drivers are putting too much faith in car safety systems and paying less attention to the roads.

The vast majority of car accidents and fatalities on dangerous Ohio roads are preventable. Regardless, accident victims are left with large medical expenses, many months worth of lost wages, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and, in many cases, permanent injuries or death.


  1. Secure the automobiles (seat belts and airbags should be examined, at a minimum)
  2. Photograph the accident scene
  3. Interview any witnesses
  5. Gather any video from any potential sources
  6. Gather all cell phone data
  7. Obtain copy of the accident report and all photographs. 
  8. Freedom of Information requests on prior accidents at the scene. 
  9. Review case law and statutory immunity. 
  10. Consult with expert engineer to ensure evidence preservation and initial thoughts on roadway design
  11. Review applicable engineering standards
  12. Issue letter of representation and electronically stored information preservation letters . 
Ohio Roadway Design Attorney



Roadway Fatality


(Brown County, Kentucky):  The case involved a driver texting and driving when he crossed the median, killing a father of four. The case was resolved once discovery confirmed the cell phone records proved the texting-related incident. The settlement will pay for the surviving childrens’ education. The driver was likely facing additional criminal charges at the time of the settlement.


Roadway Fatality

Confidential Settlement

(Hebron, Ohio):  Joe Lyon was lead counsel in a confidential settlement of a wrongful death case involving a recreational camper. The case involved a dealership that sold the vehicle for use on a towing vehicle that was not within specification and not heavy enough to provide a safe tow. The case was originally rejected by another law firm, but through research and diligence the case theory became apparent.  

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