Dangerous Conditions

A “dangerous condition” is defined as a “condition of property that creates a substantial (as distinguished from a minor, trivial or insignificant) risk of injury when such property or adjacent property is used with due care in a manner in which it is reasonably foreseeable that it will be used.”

Common Examples include:

  • Hazardous road designs, repair or maintenance, including, improper drainage, road drop offs, and poor visibility;
  • (e.g., a sharp drop at the edge of a highway; a boulevard stop sign obscured by foliage; an inadequately maintained road that crumbled)
  • Cracked, uneven, defective sidewalks, walkways, cross-walks;
  • Inoperable or absent street signs or signals;
  • Lack of a warning sign where needed;
  • (e.g., when floors being cleaned, lack of caution cones/wet floor sign)

Dangerous condition claims remain one of the largest exposures facing the Authority’s membership.  In many instances, government agencies may invoke immunity defenses that prevail with near absolute certainty in this type of litigation. Knowledge of these governmental immunities, including design immunity and trail immunity, among others, is a key component of public agency liability defense, but knowing them is just the beginning.

PERMA has several resource documents, including sample inspection forms in the Policy and Resources Library.