Roadway Contractor Owed Duty of Care to Driver Injured Outside of Construction Zone

Report of Work Injury

Attorney Garret Murai analyzes Shipp. v. Western Engineering, Inc.

January 4, 2021
Garret Murai - California Construction Law Blog

For the roadway contractor it appeared to be an open and shut case:

Plaintiff car driver was stopped at a standard one-way “reversing lane closure” traffic control in which traffic going in one direction would be stopped while traffic going in the other direction was allowed to proceed, and then the procedure would be reversed.

Plaintiff, while stopped at the traffic control, was rear-ended by another vehicle driven by George Smithson. Smithson testified that he “must have looked off to the side” at some point prior to the collision because he did not see plaintiff’s vehicle before hitting it. He also testified that the primary reason the accident happened was that he was not paying attention and that he knew of no other cause of the accident.

For the roadway contractor you couldn’t ask for a better admission. And it ended in the trial court just the way you thought it would, with a win for the roadway contractor. That is, until it was appealed.

Mr. Murai may be contacted at


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