1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Private Road Liability

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by Adverse, Feb 2, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    We live in a rural subdivision with no POA and with a road that is mentioned in the original Plat as being for the use of all property owners. It has been maintained over the years by an informal, cooperative effort from the property owners.

    If someone were to be injured or killed on the road, or, perhaps, because of the state of disrepair of the road, could we be the target of a liability lawsuit?

    Further, if a person took it upon themselves to be the "road chairman", to be the one to tell the other property owners what should or shouldn't be done with the road, would that person be putting themselves in more of a position to be a target of a lawsuit?

    Thanks
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,110
    Likes Received:
    591
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I would think that the answers to your questions are 'yes' and 'yes.' You may wish to formalize your agreement. Think of the situation this way -- if someone decides to take it upon themselves to make a plan of action to deal with the road, the other parties may rely on that person and not perform any action themselves. One person can call up for estimates and recommendations without liability and have the group make a decision on what to do. If it were me, I wouldn't make any personal recommendations and leave that for a professional.

     
  3. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    A turn for the worse.

    Several of the subdivisions around us have turned their roads over to the County. Two weeks ago I took our road chairman of 15 years (and neighbor) over to look at one of them and talk to their road chairman. I have been trying to do that for the last five years, since the last time we had our last road meeting and tempers flared.

    They turned their road over 5 years ago, haven't paid a penny on it since, have an excellent road and this guy gave a glowing presentation. I have heard exactly the same thing from a half dozen other subdivisions.

    Afterward our road chairman said that is the best thing to do, that we need to do whatever it is to turn the road over to the County. Last week he called me and told me to line up a meeting with the attorney who helped the other subdivision.

    Then there was a road meeting last Saturday, which I could not attend since I was out of town. Somewhere around 10 of 70 or so affected lot owners were there.

    Yesterday our road chairman called to see if I had an appointment with the attorney yet. The short of it is that he told me to go ahead and get this out of my system, to do what I need to do to satisfy myself, that they are going to go ahead and chip and seal the road.

    He also said he is not worried about getting sued, so that possibility was not brought up at the meeting.

    A letter from an out-of-state owner, basically supporting my position, was not even mentioned, not to mention the 50 or 60 lots not represented.

    What can I say?
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,110
    Likes Received:
    591
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Sorry to hear about this. The best thing to do, if you have a road chairman, is to send written corresponces to him and force him to act (certified or faxes at a minimum.) If this doesn't help, then you and the other interested parties need to act and get rid of the 'chairman' who does little...

     
  5. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    A lot of things can happen in five weeks. :D

    In our case, I have stepped in. It seems like some of the "followers" were waiting for someone to show up with better-sounding options.

    I inspected 12 of the neighboring roads that have been adopted by the County and interviewed two more of the road chairmen plus many owners along those roads. I made a couple trips to the County Courthouse, upgrading and enlarging our list of owners. I'm communicating directly with all owners, including the absentee owners. My email list has grown to about half the total.

    The end of decisions being made by a closed group has arrived.

    The short of it is that I have a presentation April 1 to the County Road and Brdige Commission, proposing that they adopt our roads. This is something that should have been done 10 years ago. If they do, and we can get through what we need to do to do that, that will be the last time we have to do anything with our roads.

    The other 2 or 3-person "Road Committee" has stepped aside, awaiting my failure. ;) Of course, I have taken my little lectures from them and given it right back to them.
     
  6. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,110
    Likes Received:
    591
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Excellent! Let us know how the hearing goes.

     
  7. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I am not planning on failing, but I do like to plan, and will have 35 other owners wanting to know our options if the Road Commission is not interested in adopting our roads.

    Nearly all of the subdivision roads around us have been adopted the past 10 years. Some are worse roads than ours and some serve far fewer property owners. Part of our taxes, of course, have been and are going to pay for their roads.

    I, and others, would not be too pleased if the County said No to us. This is politics, however, and anything might happen.

    What options might we have?
     
  8. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I made the presentation on April 1, the road supervisor made a casual inspection on April 2, and our Commissioner is coming to meet with us on Aprl 28. So, no one has said No yet.

    A new ordinance for adopting roads was passed on the morning of April 1, but did not have all the Commissioners' signatures when I made the presentation in the afternoon. The ordinance itself raises as many questions as it answers, plus we don't know if it applies to us. We'll find out what it means since we are the guinnea pigs.

    One of the persons I alluded to above (The other 2 or 3-person "Road Committee") has stepped aside, awaiting my failure. Of course, I have taken my little lectures from them and given it right back to them) also attended, so I'm sure he has reported to his cohorts that this is the real deal.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2004
  9. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Update.

    Last Thursday all 3 of our Commissioners (that is unusual in itself) came to see us. In a nutshell, they said Yes. Tomorrow we get read into the Road and Bridge minutes.

    They are allowing us to turn our road over with the least possible hassle on our part. They could have required a petition, but are not. They could have required us to tear up our driveways for new culverts, but are not. They could have required all of our owners to execute 50-foot Right of Ways, but are letting us stay at 30'.

    I've got some bidding work and some fund raising and then I can put this puppy to bed. :D
     
  10. Rathi

    Rathi New Member

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Very nice m8, I'm glad things turned out for the better!

    Sometimes it takes someone that's interested in more than just "his driveway" to make a difference!! Feel good that you have probably prevented a potentially bad situation! :)

    Thx for the updates as well, makes a good read when ya get to know the end result after the initial post! :D :D
     
  11. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Isn't that the truth!? I'm on other forums, too, and just hate it when you never hear back from the thread-starter!


     
  12. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    The one owner we need a Right of Way from has agreed to give it. She does not live here, so that was nice.

    Three contractors have been to look at the road, with the Road Supervisor, so bids will be coming shortly.
     
  13. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Speaking of which, here I am again.

    Our new road base is about finished. Hopefully the county will get in paved before winter. I did get the $60,000 raised from my neighbors.

    Some things do work out.

    Now we have to rebuild our community dock!!!


     
  14. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Well, I almost made it. I have paid the contractor who prepared our new road base and we are just waiting for the County to pave it.

    But, three of my neighbors have turned against me. It is the three old farts who were in charge of the road before me, who worked for 15 years and never got the County to take our road over. They had to save face and restore their position of power in the neighborhood. What better way than to save the road project from my inept management?

    They have formed an alliance to discredit me. They have gone directly to the County Commissioners and said whatever lies they said to get the County to deal with them instead of me. This morning the County officials met with them, in front of my house, to discuss the completion of the project. No one invited me and no one came to the door to tell me the results.

    I measured the road yesterday and we are being overcharged for 400 linear feet that does not exist. But no one is asking my opinion.

    There oughta be a law against old farts. At the point in time when a person has nothing better to do than harasss their neighboirs and engage in the spreading of false innuendos for the purpose of neighborhood power politics, they ought to be put away. :D
     
  15. Adverse

    Adverse Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    We survived the winter with our new road-base in tact and with a little peace and quiet, since two of the three old farts do not winter here.

    They are now back and having their little private pow-wows.

    The road supervisor has been out and likes what he sees, so we are on the paving list.

    New question:

    We were told how much our share will be, in writing, from the County. They are now taking bids for the new year and are saying our share may be different, based on the new bids. The same contractor that had the contract last year will also have it this year. We raised money from the property owners based on what we were told, and we only have $25 extra ($60000 in total was raised).

    What should I do if the County says we need more?

    One of the neighbors is already making a big deal out of this and it is an issue that could easily fester and blossom.
     

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.