Dangerous Road Design in Philadelphia: Roosevelt Boulevard and Other Problem Areas

Between 2013 and 2017 Roosevelt Boulevard was the site of 2,846 crashes and 14% of all fatal crashes in Philadelphia, according to a report issued this year by the City of Philadelphia, SEPTA and PennDOT. One out of three people in Philadelphia live within a mile of the boulevard, making its twelve lanes of travel a hot spot for injuries and fatalities. Motorists operating their cars negligently on that road certainly contribute to high rates of injury, but another cause may be less obvious: dangerous road design.

Dangerous road design issues on the boulevard that can contribute to pedestrian injuries and deaths include: long crossing distances (sides of the street on parts the boulevard are spaced over 1,000 feet apart), numerous driveways and access points (these create more conflict points between people driving and walking), complex intersections (high volume lanes coupled with non-perpendicular intersections increase the chances of a crash), and sidewalk gaps (there are extensive gaps of sidewalk north of Welsh Road). Each of these dangers increase the odds that you or a loved one walking, biking, or driving on the boulevard will become the victim of a serious crash.

Other dangerous roads notorious for serious or deadly crashes in Philadelphia include the Delaware and Schuylkill Expressways, Broad Street, and intersections at Grays Avenue and 49th Street, Island Avenue at Lindbergh Boulevard, 61st Street at Passyunk Avenue, and Aramingo Avenue at East Lehigh Avenue.

Often, those who suffer injuries in a car accident bring claims only against the driver of the vehicle that struck them. But Pennsylvania law also allows victims to bring claims against those responsible for the design, maintenance, and lack of repairs to the highway. Where data exists, like it does on at many sections of Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia, that the road or intersection is defective and the crash was preventable, experienced personal injury attorneys can bring additional legal claims to further compensate injured victims.

Local governments, like the City of Philadelphia, responsible for the maintenance of many of these roads were traditionally immune from lawsuits that arise from their negligence. However, there are important exceptions under Section 8542(b) of the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. That section allows lawsuits brought against the City of Philadelphia for monetary damages where dangerous conditions exist that cause foreseeable accidents where the City is on notice that the road or intersection is defective. It also allows for monetary damages for injuries caused by defective traffic lights or signs, streetlights, and similar systems under the custody and control of the City or local agency.

Similarly, Section 8522(b) of the Sovereign Immunity Act allows lawsuits to be brought against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for certain defects in commonwealth real estate, highways, and sidewalks under the jurisdiction of a commonwealth agency, such as the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

A victim may recover damages of up to $500,000 against the city and up to $250,000 per injured party or $1,000,000 in the aggregate against the commonwealth. Although the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in Pennsylvania is two years, specific notice must be given to the city or commonwealth within six months of the crash to preserve the claim against those entities. It is important that those injured in any crash on the boulevard or anywhere else in Philadelphia consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to avoid giving up important legal rights.

The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at McMonagle Perri can help you determine whether you have a claim and get you the full value of compensation owed to you for your accident on Roosevelt Boulevard or another dangerous Philadelphia road. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.